Bringing communities together through dragon boat since 1997

About the Festival

The Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival is one of Victoria’s most spectacular Summer Festivals, and the only Dragon Boat Festival in Canada to take place in a working harbour. 2023 marks the 28th edition of the celebrations, which will be filled with memorable boat racing, culture, entertainment, and gastronomy, among other activities. Our theme for this year is ‘Spirit of the Dragon - Paddles Rise Up’, to recognize the collective resilience of our communities in overcoming the challenges incurred by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in experiencing the full programming from August 12 - 13, 2023!

Bringing communities together since 1997

Our mission says it all: to bring communities together through the celebration of cultures and competition. Everyone’s welcome to join in this annual Victoria summer tradition in the Inner Harbour! 

Each year, thousands of visitors come together for the Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival presented by Fairway Market, a celebration of culture and sports right in the heart of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Visitors from around the region, and from around the world converge to cheer on dragon boat teams, taste local flavours, enjoy live music, and soak in the atmosphere. Plus, as part of a long-standing tradition, we make a difference in our community by raising funds for the BC Cancer Foundation.

We’re proud of our role as a place for everyone to come together – as individuals, as teams, as families, and as a community.

Join us August 12 – 13, 2023 to celebrate the height of summer in BC’s capital!

Our Vision

The Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival presented by Fairway Market is put on by the non-profit Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society.

Thanks to the Festival’s ongoing growth, vision from our partners, and our committed volunteers, the Festival and Society’s impact reaches far and wide.

As Vancouver Island’s signature dragon boat festival, we inspire and bring our community together in a celebration of a traditional Chinese cultural sport and Victoria’s unique cultural fabric.

History of the Festival

The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival began in 1994 as part of the festivities surrounding the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria. In commemoration of Hong Kong Day, the Victoria Chinese Commerce Association arranged for dragon boats to be brought to Victoria, from mainland Vancouver, for a one-day exhibition race. At the time, there was not a single dragon boat team training in town.

With the event being of immense success, it quickly blossomed into one of the city’s largest and most popular summer festivities. In 2022, the Festival drew thousands of people to the Inner Harbour of Victoria, over the course of three days. It has also formed a special bond with the BC Cancer Foundation, for which the Festival proudly raises funds for through its programming.

Dragon boating is one of the fast growing sports in the world. The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival has provided the region with exciting race opportunities for more than twenty years, with teams emerging from all over Vancouver Island. We owe immense gratitude to the invaluable support of our community partners, the City of Victoria, the Harbour Master, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, RCM-SAR, the Royal Canadian Navy, and many others.

Additionally, local and national sponsors have generously supported our event throughout the years, and by extension, the joy of paddling sports to Vancouver Island.

Finally, our Festival would not stand where it is today without the assistance of many individuals, who have played key roles as volunteers to spearhead and to extend the reach of our Festival.