Royal St. John's Regatta

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Royal St. John's Regatta
TypeOrganizations based in Canada with royal patronage
Legal statusactive
Purposeadvocate and public voice, educator and network
HeadquartersSt. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Region served
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Official language

The Royal St. John's Regatta is North America's oldest annual sporting event with documented proof of 1816 boat races. There is credible contention that St. John's regattas were held even earlier than 1816, likely in the 18th century. The races of 1818 were held on September 22 in order to coincide with the 57th anniversary of King George III's official coronation on September 22, 1761. It is from this date that the Regatta Committee takes its anniversary. In August 2018 the Royal St. John's Regatta celebrated its 200th anniversary.

Held on Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John's, Newfoundland, the Regatta is scheduled for the first Wednesday of August. If weather and wind conditions are not suitable, the event is postponed until the next suitable day. Since Regatta Day is a civic holiday in St. John's, this means that the weather actually determines whether or not workers have the day off – a matter sometimes complicated by late-night partying associated with the end of the George Street Festival the night before. This has led to the coining of the term "Regatta Roulette" where people head to George Street Festival or party elsewhere the night before and hope the weather is nice enough for the Regatta (and the holiday) the next day.

Crews row six-member, coxswained, fixed-seat racing shells that are as identical as possible and are the property of the Royal St. John's Regatta Committee. Men's crews row a 2.450 km course, women's crews row a 1.225 km course, and all crews are required to turn buoys and return to the start-finish line.

A growing number of people, local and foreign, visit Quidi Vidi Lake each year for the event, averaging around 50,000 in recent years. It has also become a popular spot for both provincial and federal politicians to meet the public. Aside from the rowing competitions, the Royal St. John's Regatta is well known for its lakeside entertainment. The Regatta host hundreds of booths operated by individuals and organizations, ranging from various games of chance to food and drink.


There are records of rowing competitions in St. John's since at least 1816.

The regatta has long-standing ties with the Canadian monarchy: The regatta has been visited by members of the Royal Family, including Prince Albert Edward (later King Edward) in 1860 and Queen Elizabeth II in 1978.[1] It has been cancelled due to the death of any monarch, and any year a coronation has taken place or a milestone jubilee celebrated, the regatta has been held in honour of the monarch. Its royal designation was incorporated in 1993, which prompted changes in the event and the development of a new crest.

Regatta Start, St. John's, Newfoundland

Course records and record holders[edit]

Male Course Record: 8:51.32 (Crosbie Industrial Services 2007 - Championship Race)


Cox: Mark Hayward

Stroke: Brent Hickey

5: Adam Kavanagh

4: Ron Witten

3: Ed Williams

2: James Cadigan

1: Darryl Ryan

Coach: Bert Hickey

Female Course Record: 4:56.10 (M5 2018 - Morning Race)


Cox: Dean Hammond

Stroke: Katie Wadden

5: Alyssa Devereaux

4: Jane Brodie

3: Nancy Beaton

2: Amanda Ryan

1: Amanda Hancock

Spare: Maria Clift

Official Race Record Times[2][edit]


Race Category Time Year Crew
Female Amateur 4:56.10 2018 M5
Female Mercantile 5:15.82 1997 North Atlantic Petroleum
Female Intermediate 5:11.15 2004 Compusult
Female Juvenile 5:25.66 2002 Noble Drilling
Female Midget 5:48.39 2001 Noble Drilling
Female Commercial 5:33.19 2001 Thrifty Car Rental
Female District 5:29.86 2001 CFS St. John's-Sports Shop
Female General Workers 5:30.56 2004 RJG Construction
Female All Comers 5:45.91 2001 Appleton Rum
Female Masters 5:28.87 2004 Daley Brothers
Female Memorial 5:31.49 2016 Port Authority
Female Club 5:44.23 2005 Bella Vista
Female Service 5:55.68 2011 Labrador Motors
Female Labour

Female Squirt






Harold Hotel


Race Category Time Year Crew
Male Amateur 8:54.06 2007 Crosbie Industrial Services
Male Labour 9:22.99 1987 H.M. Penitentiary
Male Intermediate 9:23.27 2001 Academy Canada
Male Masters 9:40.11 2012 3M Masters
Male Midget 5:00.79 1995 East Coast Marine
Male Juvenile 9:43.07 1989 Outer Cove-East Coast Marine
Male All Comers 9:24.80 1995 Concrete Products
Male Service 9:03.64 1991 Smith Stockley-Outer Cove
Male General Workers

Male Commercial

Male Squirt







Smith Stockley

RNC Sportscraft

Pennecon Boys


Female 4:57.78 2005 Compusult A/Canada Games
Male 8:51.32 2007 Crosbie Industrial Services

Other events[edit]

Regatta Day is only officially recognized as a holiday in the city of St. John's and most retail establishments outside the city remain open that day. Some larger suburban stores mark the day with extravagant Boxing Day-style sales.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Department of Canadian Heritage. "Ceremonial and Canadian Symbols Promotion > The Canadian Monarchy > 2005 Royal Visit > The Royal Presence in Canada - A Historical Overview". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
  2. ^ "Official Record Times". Archived from the original on 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2016-03-23.

External links[edit]