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Fort St. James celebrated Canada Day with boat-building competition

Fort St. James marked this year's Canada Day celebration with the return of the Build a Boat Contest, a beloved community event that had been absent from festivities for several years.

Organized by the District of Fort St. James, the competition saw five teams vying for victory as they raced to construct and sail boats on Stuart Lake.

Hundreds of spectators gathered at Cottonwood Park to witness the teams' creativity firsthand.

“It definitely was a crowd-pleaser,  and there were lots of people cheering,” said organizer Terri-Anne Houghton, events and recreation coordinator for the District. 

Each team, comprised of four members, faced the challenge of building a boat within 90 minutes using specified materials provided on-site.

The only pre-prepared item allowed was a single sheet of plywood, with everything else, including propulsion systems made from the same materials, created from scratch.Teams were also required to craft their own paddles from the provided materials.

Safety was paramount and all participants were required to wear life jackets during the subsequent 100-meter race. said Houghton. Members of the Fort St. James Search & Rescue were also present onsite to ensure the well-being of participants. 

After a tough competition, the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team clinched first place, followed by the BC Sailing Mobile Optimist Sailing School (MOSS) in second, and local business NMI in third.

Some teams took their boats home, while others left them at the public works yard. 

The Build a Boat Contest is great fun and a chance for both Nak’azdli Whut’en and the District to showcase their long tradition of wood-based technologies, said Clyde MacGregor, economic development officer of the District. 

"It showcased our historic community ingenuity, resourcefulness and teamwork, and brought together folks from around our region as participants and spectators,” MacGregor added.



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