Corey Van Loon of St. Andrews got off to a fast start in the 2023 Raisin River Canoe Race and never looked back, finishing first in the Single Pro Canoe category and ninth overall with a time of 2:45:09. Image was captured as he approached the Delaney Road Bridge.  Tinkess Photo

It was unfortunate that water levels peaked a week before the Raisin River 50th Anniversary canoe race, but that didn’t stop a record 458 paddlers in 290 boats from having a great time.

While many can recall previous races experiencing snow flurries and extremely cold water, this year’s event took place under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-20s. And while the lower water levels and damage from the ice storm of April 5 made navigating some parts of the river a bit tricky, the slower flow of 630 cubic feet per second permitted the opening of the Martintown Dam, enticing many paddlers to shoot through rather than having to portage around it.

According to Raisin River Conservation Authority (RRCA) race coordinator Lissa Deslandes, things couldn’t have gone much better.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better race,” said Deslandes. “The Raisin River Canoe Race holds a special place in the hearts of both residents and visitors to the region. It’s RRCA’s biggest annual event, and it really serves as a celebration of our area’s watersheds.

“We’re so grateful for the support from local organizations, sponsors, partners, and our safety committee and volunteers who have helped us coordinate this race throughout the decades.”

Martin Lang, chair of the RRCA board, was ecstatic about the level of participation in this year’s race. “We’re just blown away by the sheer number of paddlers from near and far who participated in today’s historic race,” said Lang. “We also had the special privilege of being joined at the starting line by several veteran canoeists from years past, including Bruno Major, who took part in the first Raisin River Canoe Race in 1973.”

Mike De Abreu from Arnprior and Ryan Stepka from Cantley, Quebec in the Pro Boat Tandem category recorded the fastest overall time in the race, finishing in 2:21:04, more than five minutes ahead of the second-place boat. De Abreu accompanied by Seb Courville also finished first in 2022 with a time of 2:10:50.

Other top finishers by category, where applicable, were:

Pro Canoe, Male: Seb Courville, Oliver Mcmillan, Conor Abrahams, Tom Kingdon

Pro Canoe, Mixed: Sarah Lessard, Jeffrey Defeo, Pierre Lavictoire, Thina Pham, Eric Jones, Amy Thornton

17 Foot Open, Male: Harold Walker, Stephen Walker, Tom Stead, Bob Vincent, Jordan Brault, Scott Brault

17 Foot Open, Mixed: Don Stoneman, Julie Edwards, Connor Algie, Jessica Van Winden, Dylan Rollo, Tanya Robertson

Double Kaya, Male: Francois Grondin, Stephane Grondin

Double Kayak, Female: Wendy Bray Van Loon, Morgan Santerre, Olivia Mcdonald, Anna Parks, Laurine Eddy, Ashley Lalonde

Double Kayak, Mixed: Bonnie Thornbury, Brendan Mccardle, Pat Alguire, Amy Alguire, Cheryl Mcgregor, Wendel Carrothers

Recreational Canoe, Male: Anik Levac, Ian Levac, Emanuel Lauzon, Alex Wertwyn, Jean Paul Claude, Yvon Ranger

Recreational Canoe, Female: Anna Katsaras, Sarantia Katsaras, Emilie Derochie, Emma Bacchiochi, Marion Mcdonell, Joanna Tessier

Recreational Canoe, Mixed: Joanna Faloon, Ed Joy, Simon Dessureault, Karine Blanchette, Madelaine Oeggerli, Michael Oeggerli

Long Kayak, Male: Jeff Brainard, Richard Germain, Zachary Zwanenburg,

Long Kayak, Female: Jennifer Guibord, Dena Kaplan, Tammy Tripp,

Single Pro Canoe, Male: Corey Van Loon

Single Recreational Canoe, Male: Max Finkelstein, Paul Terry, Colin Lathe

Short Kayak, Male: Ian Walter, Denis Lefebvre, Rick Clancy

Short Kayak, Female: Christine Balderson, Lynn Macnab, Chantal Tranchemontagne,

Student Short Kayak, Male: Eric Baron, Rory Mckinnon, Samuel Vanegas,

Stand-up Paddle, Male: Simon Mayer, Jean-Francois Hinse, Rob Samulack

Full interim results, courtesy of RRCA can be found on their website at