Royal St. John's Regatta
|Type||Organizations based in Canada with royal patronage|
|Purpose||advocate and public voice, educator and network|
|Headquarters||St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada|
|St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada|
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 47th 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 will celebrate 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 is not suitable, and wind conditions are very important, 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.
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. 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.
Some Basques claim that the regatta owes its origins to their ancestors who were the first to land and settle in Newfoundland (Ternua in Basque language).
Course records and record holders
Male Course Record: 8:51.29 (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: 4:56.70 (OZFM 2003 - Morning Race)
Cox: Rich Bailey
Stroke: Siobhan Duff
5: Tracey Hogan
4: Kristine Power
3: Jackie Handrigan
2: Nicole Hamlyn
1: Amanda Hancock
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.
- List of Canadian organizations with royal patronage
- St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
- Monarchy of Canada
- Newfoundland rowing
- 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.
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