Dragon Boat Festival – The Origin

Qu Yuan, an ancient Chinese statesman in the pre-imperial Warring States period ( 475 – 221 BC ), was banished from his state by the emperor, who fell under the malicious influence of corrupt, slanderous bureaucrats. In exile, Qu wrote some of the greatest poems in Chinese literature expressing his love for his state, and his concern for its future.


When Qu Yuan learned of the impending invasion by a neighbouring Warring State, he waded into the Miluo River, tethered to a rock in order to commit ritual suicide as a protest.


The common folks, upon learning Qu’s suicide, rushed out on the water in fishing boats and tried desperately to save Qu Yuan. In despair, they beat drums and splashed the water with their paddles in order to keep the fish and evil spirits from Qu’s body. They sprinkled rice dumplings in the river to feed the fish, to keep them from consuming the poet’s body.



Dragon Boat Race – A Water Sport Embraced by Modern World

Today, dragon boat racing is held globally. It is now an annual event held in over 40 countries. All over the world, far and wide, people embrace this water sport and form dragon boat racing clubs in their own countries.

The Organizers


The Toronto Chinese Business Association ( TCBA | tcbacanada.com ) was founded in 1972. This prestigious not-for- profit organization looks after the economic well being of Chinese Canadians businesses and acts as representatives in liaison with all levels of Government.


TCBA is a major force in promoting and assisting corporations to tap into the Chinese markets and is always helping Chinese Canadian businesses to reach out to the mainstream. TCBA played a significant role of building bridges between the Chinese business community and all multicultural communities.


TCBA started the annual Dragon Boat Race Festival in 1989 to promote the tradition and sport of dragon boating, and to enhance awareness of Asian and - Chinese Canadian culture and cross-cultural understanding. The concept of a dragon boat race festival was first initiated by a Hong Kong councilor visiting TCBA in 1987. The idea was warmly embraced by TCBA as a great way to promote Chinese culture to Canadians, at a perfect timing when Toronto saw a dramatic influx of Chinese immigrants. After a good year’s preparation, including the purchase of 6 dragons boats from Hong Kong, the first dragon boat race festival was launched in June 1989, with 27 teams competing in the races. The Festival has evolved to a much bigger operation over the past two decades, with a humble beginning of 27 teams to now 160 teams with over 5,000 athletes participating each year.


The Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival (TIDBRF) was incorporated in 1993 as a not-for- profit organization. Working shoulder to shoulder with the Toronto Chinese Business Association, TIDBRF has evolved into an organization that strives to:

  • provide an annual non-profit festival to promote the spirit of multiculturalism in Canada;
  • share the tradition of dragon boat racing with Canada's diverse communities;
  • promote tourism to Toronto from other parts of the world and to strengthen Toronto's economy;
  • raise community awareness of the beneficial effects of sports on the healthy development of children and youths;
  • raise profile of water-sports and increase the opportunity for people who are mentally and physically challenged;
  • promote volunteerism generally for the benefit of the community-at- large by encouraging young people to become or remain active volunteers.


Furthermore, the Festival values social responsibilities and has in the past raised funds for charities such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Breast Cancer Foundation, the Liver Foundation, the SickKids Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Diabetes Association and is looking forward to partner with reputable charitable organizations in the future.


Directions: Marilyn Bell Park - 1095 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto, ON. M6K 2R5

From the West: Exit the Gardiner Expressway at Jameson Avenue and follow Lakeshore Blvd Eastbound to Marilyn Bell Park

From the East:  Exit the Gardiner Expressway at Dunn Avenue. Stay right for Jameson Avenue. Make sharp left onto Jameson Avenue and merge on to Lake Shore Blvd. Marilyn Bell Park is on your right. Alternatively, you can take King Street westbound to Jameson Avenue. Turn left onto Jameson Avenue and then turn left to merge on to Lake Shore Blvd

Park Rules: We're committed to creating a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable experience for participants and spectators. Before heading out to the races, there are some things you should know:

Teams are responsible for picking up their waste within their team sites.  Teams will receive waste bags during check-in and there will be waste bins located throughout the Athletes' Village.  Let's all work together to keep Marilyn Bell Park clean and green.

Medical Services:  Medical services and first aid will be available on site. If you're in need of medical attention, please report to the medical tent for immediate assistance. Toronto Police officers will also be on site patrolling the grounds.