Only in Canada: A canoe race on ice

In the port of Quebec, with giant grain silos as a backdrop, the racers lined up at the starting line.

As they pushed out toward the Saint Lawrence River, the solid ice started to break apart. The rowers switched to a one-legged push, their spiked shoes finding traction against the clumps of ice.

Eventually they found clear water, and started rowing toward the opposite side of the river.

I couldn’t figure out why this was considered a canoe race instead of a rowing race until I saw that the coxswain in the stern was steering with a paddle instead of a rudder.

The race consisted of a couple of laps back and forth across the Saint Lawrence. The returning first seemed to be those that found a path of clear water, or a longer path of solid ice on the opposite shore.

Despite the cold, everyone was smiling as they crossed the finish line.

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