From the left: Series coordinator Derrick Spafford and event organizer Gilles Parisien are seen at the Dion Snowshoe booth during the Dion Canadian Snowshoe Series. Thompson Goddard Photo

MORRISBURG – Dion Ignite the Night the opening and only evening race, in the 2023 Dion Canadian Snowshoe Series was held on Sat., Jan. 14 at Upper Canada Village near Morrisburg, Ontario.

The Dion Canadian Snowshoe Series is designed to increase awareness and participation in snowshoeing for people of all ability levels and is sponsored by Dion Snowshoes and Spafford Health and Adventure.

The series was created several years ago by Derrick Spafford of Spafford Health and Adventure.

“I am very excited to be here. This is the first year we have expanded the series across Canada,” said Spafford just prior to the beginning of the event, noting this year there will be six races in Ontario, two in Quebec and one in the Yukon.

Event organizer Gilles Parisien explained this will be a trail race, with 140 participants in the event and 20 volunteers supporting the race.  “We have 95 per cent of our participants from over a one-hour drive with quite a few coming from as far as Toronto and area,” commented Parisien.

He continued the reasons for the large number of participants could include the atmosphere of UCV, the “beauty of the lights, the quality of the Dion Canadian Snowshoe Series and to support Beyond 21,” and he commented on the incredible support for the event from Upper Canada Village.

There was both a 5 km and 10 km race, with participants in the 10 km race completing the circuit twice. Racers left the Harvest Barn at UCV after 5:30 p.m. and travelled around the village before heading up and down the mound, on which the Battle of Crysler’s Farm memorial stands before returning to the Harvest Barn.

“The 5 km event has allowed many participants to try snowshoe racing (during good snow conditions) and is sometimes just enough for most,” said Parisien before explaining the top seven participants in the point series event will collect points.

More information on the Dion Canadian Snowshoe Series is available on the event’s social media pages.