From its humble beginning to an internationally known Dragon Boat Race Festival –
TCBA started its signature event – the annual Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival in 1989 to promote the tradition and sport of dragon boating, and to enhance awareness of Asian and Chinese Canadian culture and cross-cultural understanding. The concept of a dragon boat race festival was first initiated by a Hong Kong councilor visiting TCBA in 1987. His idea was warmly embraced by TCBA as a great way to promote Chinese culture to Canadians, at a perfect timing when Toronto saw a dramatic influx of Chinese immigrants. After a year’s preparation, including the purchase of 6 dragon boats from Hong Kong, the first dragon boat race festival was launched in June 1989, with 27 teams competing in the race.
The Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival (TIDBRF) was incorporated in 1993 as a non-profit organization. Working shoulder to shoulder with TCBA, TIDBRF has evolved into an organization that strives to provide annual non-profit festival to promote the spirit of multiculturalism in Canada, to share the tradition of dragon boat racing with Canada’s diverse communities. It helps to promote tourism to Toronto from other parts of the world and at the same time to strengthen Toronto’s economy. Besides, it also raise community awareness of the beneficial effects of sports on the healthy development of children and youths and to promote volunteerism generally for the benefit of the community-at-large by encouraging young people to become or remain active volunteers. In recent years, the dragon boat race festival part raising profile of water-sports and it also raised fund for charities that contribute to the community.
From the humble beginning of only 27 teams participating in the first festival back in 1989, TIDBRF have evolved to a much bigger operation over the past two decades. This outdoor event brings a weekend of fun, world class athletic challenge, free outdoor family entertainment and community spirit to the scenic Toronto Centre Island. With over 160 teams and 5,000 dragon boat paddlers competing, many of whom have come back year after year – besides local and national teams, we also have athletes coming from the United States and other parts of the world to this well known dragon boat event.