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Calgarians at the Quebec Winter Carnival

The Story

"One, two. One, two," shout Calgary's oarsmen as they paddle through the Bow River's five-foot ice piles. The team practises in the southern Albertan river, comparable to the treacherous St. Lawrence where they'll compete in the Quebec Carnival canoe race. Calgarians have entered the race across the St. Lawrence for the past 16 years, placing third six times. They've used the battered-looking canoe seen in this CBC Television clip only 12 times but fibreglass takes an easy beating from shifting ice.

Medium: Television
Program: Midday
Broadcast Date: Jan. 22, 1985
Host: Valerie Pringle
Reporter: Nancy Rose
Duration: 1:12

Did You know?

• Of all the carnival's competitions, the canoe race draws the most spectators. When conditions are favourable on the St. Lawrence the 3.2-kilometre race takes about 23 minutes. In 1958 only four of 21 teams completed the race due to unbearable wind, ice and waves.


• Another unusual carnival tradition is the snow bath where people roll around in the snow for 20 minutes wearing only swimsuits.

• For the 1998 carnival, the city built an Inuit igloo village on the Plains of Abraham. Visitors were offered workshops on how to build the icehouses and a night's stay in one. The dogsled race that takes place on the cobblestone throughways of Old Quebec also originates from an Inuit tradition – the Inuit were the first to use dogsleds. U.S. teams travel to Canada to compete in the 10-kilometre race.

• Another competition called the Raid of the Braves is a six-day, 3,000-kilometre snowmobile race.


• The Amerindian Trail exhibition offers visitors a night's stay in a tepee and on a bed of pine needles – a tradition of the region's Native people.


• Calgarians also come to Carnival to put on a Calgary Stampede flapjack breakfast.



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