Northern Hardware Canoe Race Draws Fans to Riverbanks
Prince George, B.C. – The 2016 Northern Hardware Prince George Canoe Race attracted a strong field of competitors cheered on by spectators who took up positions on the banks of the Nechako and Fraser Rivers between Isle Pierre and Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park in Prince George.
The Northern Hardware Race, which made a highly-popular return in 2015 following a 31-year absence, is divided into two classes and distances. The Alexander Mackenzie class, which runs 67.5 kilometres from Isle Pierre to Prince George, is tandem only. The Simon Fraser class includes all watercraft except inflatables and runs 35 kilometres from Wilson Park in Miworth to Lheidli T’enneh Park.
One of the craft in competition was a dugout canoe built by Robert and Edie Frederick, Jennifer Pighin and Ian Baird for The Exploration Place, where it will be part of the new Path of the Paddle display. Pighin wanted the dugout to have a maiden voyage before going into the museum so it was entered in the race from Miworth and did indeed complete the voyage successfully.
The first canoe to cross the finish line on the Fraser River, just before the entrance to the Hudson Bay slough, belonged to Christopher Nicholson of Kamloops.
The Path of the Paddle exhibition will be running at Exploration Place at least until the end of the summer, and quite possibly longer. It’s a great display of a number of canoes, including dugouts, and there is a good deal of information to help patrons understand the important role the canoe played in the local history and that of Canada.