With all the concerts and other attractions at the Great Canadian Kayak Challenge and Festival this weekend in Timmins, it’s easy  to forget that it’s all built around kayak competitions.

Tourism manager Guy Lamarche says he’s expecting 140 competitors by the time registration closes Friday afternoon.

“This year, paddlers range in age from nine years old to 70 years young,” he says.  “So this again is amazing to see people that are 70 years old, paddling and keeping healthy.”

About 70 percent of those paddlers are from Timmins. The rest are from all over Ontario and into Northwestern Quebec.

Guy Lamarche, Timmins Tourism manager.
(Bob McIntyre, MyCochraneNow.com staff)

Lamarche says that while the growing event is built around kayak competitions on the Mattagami and Mountjoy Rivers, the “festival” part of it brings so much more.

“Admission to the Great Canadian Kayak Challenge and Festival is free and includes many, many activities, including children acts, live performing arts, a fishing pavilion which is new this year, a Harley Davidson display and demo rides and matinee music performances, Friday and Saturday night concerts.”

And back this year are three performances of water ski and fly board stunt shows on Sunday,and fireworks Saturday at 9:30pm.

Emphasizing the “free” aspect, Lamarche says it’s due to more than 100 corporate sponsors.

Everything gets going Friday at 4:00pm.