A colourful, watery parade will mark the grand opening of Kelowna’s new paddle trail.
The city’s largest-ever flotilla will take place May 19, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., along the approximately 27-kilometre trail, now offering a fun way to visit some of Kelowna’s beaches and parks.
Paddlers from all non-motorized watercrafts are encouraged to join the flotilla. Interested participants will meet at Hot Sands Beach in City Park by 9 a.m. The flotilla will depart immediately after the ribbon cutting ceremony and parade down the lake front before turning around at Waterfront Park and returning to City Park.
“The event will be a celebration of the lake and non-motorized water activities that promote physical activity,” said Mariko Siggers, City of Kelowna Community and Neighbourhood Services Manager, in a press release.
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“It’s a wonderful community driven event featuring many different organizations that have come together to help educate our city about the great opportunities for fun and safe lake activities.”
The paddle trail came about thanks to the Kelowna Dragon Boat Racing Club, which had 22 buoys installed from McKinley Beach to Bertram Creek Park.
The organization received a City of Kelowna Sesquicentennial Grant in 2017. The buoys include a list of the beach accesses along the trail and the distances between each, making it easier for paddlers to stay orientated along the water front, know when a rest stop is coming up and even challenge themselves between each distance.
“The Paddle Trail is the brain child of Brad Dahl who designed and developed the buoys. The Kelowna Dragon Boat Paddling Society stepped forward to host the project, provided input, financial management and support through the full process,” said Becky Marks, Kelowna Dragon Boat Racing Club. “Our organization recognized the benefits and value this trail will have to all paddlers, residents and tourists alike.”
“The paddle trail is an amazing legacy for our community,” said Siggers. “We were excited to add it into our extensive network of Active by Nature trails to be enjoyed by residents and visitors.”
The event is hosted by the City of Kelowna in partnership with Kelowna Dragon Boat Club, Central Okanagan Regional District, Kelowna Canoe & Kayak Club, CRIS Adaptive Adventures, Okanagan Dragon Boat Racing Club, Bust ‘N Loose – Kelowna Breast Cancer Paddling Team, Kelowna Rowing Club and the Kelowna Paddle Centre.
Following the flotilla, event participants will have the opportunity to try different paddle sports for free, watch races and demonstrations, and learn about water safety from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. all in City Park. CRIS Adaptive Adventures will also be there with adaptive equipment options for people with diverse abilities.
“Breaking down perceived barriers for people with disabilities is what we do. Come adventure outside with us on the Paddle Trail,” said Dawn Widdifield, CRIS Adaptive Adventures Executive Director.
For more information about Active by Nature, including the interactive map, visit kelowna.ca/activebynature.
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