The Alcan Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival

June 18, 19 & 20 / Friday & Saturday 9 am to 7 pm; Sunday 9 am to 6 pm.

Ed Farolan

The dragons returned to the sun-splashed waters of False Creek for Vancouver's biggest annual multi-cultural spring celebration. Three days of continuous entertainment, family activities, food fair and exhibitions and two days (Saturday and Sunday) of competitive Dragon Boat racing as more than 160 teams from across Canada and around the world competed, almost 30 more than last year's, according to Kathleen Bourchier, Corporate Communications Manager of Alcan, and her assistant, Patsy LaFrance.  

In the opening ceremonies, B.C. Minister of Multiculturalism & Immigration Dosanjh was there, and he was reading the wrong script, but cleverly quipped: "With immigrants like me who had to study ESL when we first came to this country, we can't tell the difference."  This got a laugh with the audience. He appointed Mr. Wong as Mayor of the Festival, and offered him a Mayor's necklace which appeared to be lei of aluminum medallions.  Chairman Daisen Gee-Wing also welcomed the guests during this opening ceremony.

During the closing ceremonies, almost all the teams received awards.  Even Sing Tao Daily who sponsored the Sing Tao team awarded its own team with a trophy!  But the real winners were the Toyota, Team Gloabal and False Creek rowers who came in winners in the last race.

It's a pity that the last day was marred by almost Asian tropical rains, but even then, it seemed to be an exciting experience for these boaters.  Standing ovation was given to the Breastless in Vancouver, all female rowers, survivors of breast cancer.

The music was great.  You had the likes of Spirit of a Nation which did a magnificent performance during opening ceremonies, and there were the Thai Dance Group, the Strathcona Chinese Dance Company, Yevshen Ukrainian Dancers, and rap group Ris-K, as well as Latin music with Los Mocosos, Alma Libre, and Rumba Calzada.