part of its foundation in the event’s 2017 registration demographics. “Almost half of last year’s reg- istrants were new to the event, and many people came from outside Port Perry. With the buzz generated by the anniversary, we’re hoping past participants will turn out to join us for the special occasion. Word of mouth is our primary publicity.” Theevent’srootstracebackto1969, when Bill Brock and Doreen Kendall, members of the Scugog Historical Society, pioneered fundraising for the newly-created museum. “They wanted an event which would tie into the local environment as well as the area’s close connection with the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. And Bill was an avid paddler.” The community responded en- thusiastically to the idea, both in active and economic participation. The number of vessels grew steadily, as did support from local businesses. “Brock’s Department Store has maintained its sponsorship through- out our history,” Shannon reports, “and this year, a number of local businesses have donated prizes for our silent auction. “ While billed as a “race,” she says many participants take a recrea- tional approach, simply to share the scenery with friends and family and benefit a worthy cause. “The event is sanctioned by the Ontario Marathon Canoe and Kayak Racing Association, so we do get some hard-core paddlers looking to accumulate points for their season’s score. But we also attract families, and those who just want to enjoy a physical challenge, or maybe – among repeat participants – want to beat their prior year’s time.” Repeat registrants lend a sense of tradition to CTN. Remarkably, a few have attended most, and in one case, all fifty races. “I know Alex Lawrence has been part of it every year,” Shannon re- calls. “His partner, Paul Seaman, has seen most of them, and so have some others, like Barry Page who used to bring his son, Glenn. Now Glenn comes with his own son, Fletcher. “Our participants range in age from 11 or 12 to people in their 70s.” Racers can register in one of 17 categories. “There are 12 canoe classes for solo and duo paddlers, and five for kayaks. The kayak segments are re- ally growing.” The race course follows the Nonquon River for 12 kilometres (starting at the bridge on Scugog Line 12 between Old Simcoe Road and Simcoe Road North near Seagrave), followed by another eight hugging the shore of Lake Scugog. Participants can opt for just the river portion of the course or race all the way to the ultimate finish line at Palmer Park. “Some prefer to paddle only the river because the winds on the lake can sometimes make it quite a challenge.” The fastest racers, she reports, will complete the entire course in just under three hours. Recreational paddlers will finish in about five. While Shannon remains the public face of the event, she quickly points to the importance of its numerous volunteers. Upper left: A family tradition. Barry Page and his son Glenn paddled for years in the men’s division, and in recent years, Glenn and his son Fletcher, have paddled in the senior and junior category. ...................... Please turn to page 12 FOCUS - MAY 2018 11