Monday, 1 April 2013

Spirit Challenge Dragon Boat racing

At the Ministry of Finance Chinese New Year Banquet on February 15, 2013 I was approached by Anny Chow after my dragon boat speech to the 500 in attendance.  Anny is involved in the Spirit of Life (SOL) support organization for people with developmental disabilities. When she heard I support other teams as well as help organize the DDRA Canada Day Regatta at the Toronto Islands, she realized there was a potential partnership that could not only help her organization but the other Spirit Challenge teams as well.

Spirit of Life website: SOL Website

Anny (Past Chair of SOL and still an active member) then introduced me to 
Edward Lau (current president).  We had a long meeting to discuss the history behind the Spirit Challenge division and what they were looking for in an event.  It turns out, we were both in the right place at the right time and were keen to take advantage of this new opportunity.

As a result, I am excited that a framework for a new Spirit Challenge category has been developed for DDRA Canada Day Regatta (budget and race format) and I am working with Aaron at GWN regarding a dock system in support of all paddlers at the event.  There will now likely be a Community Division (3x500m races each team) and a Spirit Challenge Division (1x250m race) at the event.

The Rusty Dragons have committed to sponsor all Spirit Challenge teams at the event (with a $1200 donation), and we are working together with Spirit of Life (and shortly the DDRA) to come up with some additional sponsorship opportunities that we hope can match this donation to help make the event a reality.

Any interested in getting involved in supporting the Spirit Challenge initiative in any way should contact...
     > Tim MacFarlane ( - cell: 416-319-1867,
     > Edward Lau (, 

     > Anny Chow (anny,

This is shaping up to be a great new part of the special DDRA Canada Day Regatta that is celebrating it's 129th anniversary this summer (started in 1884 for canoe/kayak and rowing clubs, with dragon boats joining in 2003).


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