Bringing communities together through dragon boat since 1997

About the Festival

Soak in the sun, and celebrate the height of summer at the Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival presented by Fairway Market! The Island’s signature dragon boat festival brings the sights and sounds of this ancient Chinese tradition to the Inner Harbour, and is Canada’s only Festival taking place in a working harbour. Plus, experience the Festival’s races, revamped cultural programming including local live music, community displays, and food trucks showcasing the best of our community- all for free! Save the date, and see you on 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.

Festival History

The Festival began in 1994 as part of the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria. To mark Hong Kong Day, the Victoria Chinese Commerce Association brought dragon boats from Vancouver to Victoria for exhibition races. At that time, there was not a single dragon boat team training in town.

With the success of these exhibition races, the Festival quickly became established. Since 1994, with the exception of 2020 and 2021, races have been held annually in the Inner Harbour in Victoria in mid-August.

The Festival has also has also made fundraising for BC Cancer part of its programming through our Lights of Courage campaign. Traditional Chinese lanterns are available leading up to the Festival at Fairway Market locations around the region, and on-site at the Festival, with purchasers invited to leave a message of remembrance or hope. The lanterns are lit up in the evenings to create a unique atmosphere, and send a message of hope for our community.

The Festival has created exciting race opportunities since 1997 in the midst of a working harbour. Through partnerships and regular outreach with the City of Victoria, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, Transport Canada, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, and many others, this unique location that showcases Victoria will continue to be activated for years to come.

The Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival presented by Fairway Market is put on annually by the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society, a BC non-profit organization established in 1997.