Dragon boating is an ancient Chinese sport where crews of 22 paddlers plus one drummer and one steersperson race on rivers and lakes. Dragon boat is currently the fastest growing water sport in the world. The sport is practised on all continents and Olympic and Commonwealth Games status is being examined. In Canada the sport has been extremely popular - in Vancouver (over 2,500 members), Toronto (250,000 spectators for its annual festival) and Ottawa (190 teams registered for the 2006 festival). Other festivals and clubs are established in Carleton Place, Montreal, Kingston, Stratford, Boston, London, and Hamilton to name a few.
Originally from China, the 40 foot long boats are now built in North America. The Rideau Canoe Club, in partnership with the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, is home for four race equipped boats. The boats are just wide enough to sit two people per row. Each are decorated with a dragon head and tail and the hull adorned with materials that give the effect of scaly bodies.