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Yes, there was boat racing before there was a Great Canadian Kayak Challenge

In this edition of Remember This, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre looks back on the Mattagami River Regatta
The Mattagami River Regatta was a popular event in Timmins in the 1920s. Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre photo

From the archives of the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre:

In the 1920s, the most popular event of the season was the Mattagami River Regatta, held at the mid-point of the summer around the beginning of August. Regattas, which are a series of boat races, were a trending topic at this time. People from the Porcupine had very much enjoyed attending them elsewhere and wondered whether a similar event could be held on their own river.

The first regatta was held on Wednesday, July 27, 1921 under the auspices of the Timmins Citizens' Band. The programme for the day included canoe races, swimming races, launch races, and other sports. One of the most amazing feats of the day was the high dive off of the top of the Mattagami Bridge performed by H.R. Hare who made two complete turns before plunging into the river.

The location of the regatta, at Timmins Landing which is where the Great Canadian Kayak Challenge will be held in a couple of weeks, has changed just a little bit since the days of the original boat races. When the Timmins Citizens’ Band played their music in the evening for festival-goers, residents of the cottages along the river showed their appreciation by putting together a $20 donation to the band.

In the following years, the regatta grew to such an extent that the mayor declared a civic holiday for the day of the races. Other events were added to the programme, including Chasing the Duck, Prospector Races, and horse racing at “The Slimes”.

Each week, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre provides TimminsToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.

Find out more of what the Timmins Museum has to offer at and look for more Remember This? columns here.