HMCS Ville de Quebec tackles ice canoe race

Members of the HMCS Ville de Québec ice canoe-racing team approach the finish line at the Québec Carnival Ice Canoe Race on Feb. 5. Photo by Cpl Eric Girard, Combat Camera

Members of the HMCS Ville de Québec ice canoe-racing team approach the finish line at the Québec Carnival Ice Canoe Race on Feb. 5. Photo by Cpl Eric Girard, Combat Camera

Ryan Melanson, Trident Staff ~

A team of daring sailors from HMCS Ville de Québec recently competed in what is becoming an annual event for the ship, the Carnaval de Québec Ice Canoe Race.

The unique event sees up to 40 teams of five traverse nearly four kilometres of the frozen Saint Lawrence River in their heavy canoes, pushing and paddling through freezing water and over large chunks of ice.

HMCS Montcalm sailors, the Naval Reserve unit in Quebec City, have become veterans of the race, training through the winter and entering a team each year. Ville de Québec, however, entered their first five-person crew in 2015, and the team can only manage to squeeze in a couple days of practice each time before the main event.

Despite the difficult and sometimes dangerous nature of the sport of ice canoeing, it’s proven popular with the crew over the last three years and sailors have to fight for a chance to be on the team and compete in the race.

For the 2017 race, held Feb. 5, the team from Montcalm placed 10th overall, while the Ville De Québec crew were the last group to cross the finish line. But when it comes to ice canoeing, the competitive results are less important than the physical will and tenacity required to complete the frigid course. On that front, both navy teams can claim another successful performance at the Carnaval de Québec.

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  1. Jean Raphael says:

    I raced with three other VDQ crewmen in 2003. The boatswain was an avid racer from Quebec wich trained with us for a week. VDQ had teams year on year off.

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