2024 Dragon Boat Festival

2023 was a record-breaking year for Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival as they celebrated their single largest donation in Festival history with a cheque for $290,025.18 going towards equipment to screen, diagnose and treat breast and other cancers at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC). They also reached a significant milestone as they surpassed the $4 million-dollar mark in total donations over the last 22 years.


“Our festival thrives because of a community-driven spirit, and like-minded people” said Michelle Thornton, Festival Chair. “People who want to make a difference.  Each year the Festival makes a real difference in someone’s life.  We might not even know that someone but that doesn’t matter” she continued. “What matters is someone won’t have to travel to receive their treatments, or someone will be diagnosed early and a life will be saved.  We look forward to June 8th as we continue to make a difference One Race at a Time”.


Planning for the 2024 Festival is well underway and registration opened February 25th at 12:01 AM.  The first 3 teams to register will win a bonus lake practice for free.


This year’s event will take place on Saturday June 8th, 2024 at Del Crary Park and will once again feature Dragon Boat Races, Artisan and Food Vendors, Family Fun Zone, Beer Garden and much more!


“It is estimated that 2 out of 5 Canadians will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime, and 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer” Thornton added.  “Our goal of $251,825.18 reflects these statistics and the importance of screening equipment and early detection. We know it’s an aggressive goal, but cancer can be too.  That’s why the Festival planning committee volunteers are committed to working hard and we look forward to welcoming everyone to such a worthy and important community fundraising event”.

Hosted by Survivors Abreast Dragon Boat Team, Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival has been a community staple event since 2001 and is a vital fundraiser for the PRHC Foundation. Survivors Abreast team President, Ann Stabler said they are proud of the outstanding impact the team has made since it’s inception in 1999.  “We’ve always focussed on breast cancer awareness and raising funds for the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC).  We know first hand the importance of the work the Peterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation (PRHCF) does, and their continuing mission to bring the best cancer care the world has to offer, right here to our hospital.”

Proceeds from the 2024 Festival will allow Peterborough Regional Health Centre to invest in new state-of-the-art equipment and technology to serve more cancer patients, support earlier cancer diagnosis, and provide safer, more effective treatments – close to home.


Lesley Heighway, President and CEO of the PRHC Foundation, extends her gratitude to everyone contributing to the Festival’s remarkable ongoing success. “Last year’s Festival was a record-breaking testament to our community’s support for this wonderful event and what it stands for. We’re looking forward to participating in another great day on the water this year. Seeing our community come together for a cause that has undoubtedly touched each of our lives is truly incredible,” she remarked, underscoring the collective effort to ensure regional access to cancer care.  “With cancer volumes on the rise and an increasing number of patients from Peterborough and the surrounding area seeking treatment at PRHC, our hospital’s ability to provide expert, compassionate cancer treatment depends on having state-of-the-art equipment and technology. But the government doesn’t fund equipment, so our hospital counts on donations to purchase the tools needed to provide care to our family, friends and neighbours. That’s why Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival is such a vital fundraiser for our community. The Festival helps save lives,” said Heighway.


All pledges support the cause which means the Festival relies on the generosity of local businesses and organizations to cover expenses and provide the best experience possible for participants.  These sponsors are committed to community involvement and the importance of giving back, and organizers are delighted that Kawartha Credit Union will continue to be the event’s Presenting Sponsor, marking their 23rd year.


“At Kawartha Credit Union, “care for others” is one of our core values and we are passionate about contributing to the well-being of the communities we serve,” said Norah McCarthy, KCU’s President & CEO. “We demonstrate our commitment through our words and actions, and being the Presenting Sponsor of Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival is a great example.  We encourage our partners in the community to provide financial support while also participating in a fun event that unites Peterborough and our surrounding areas in a common goal to improve local health care resources.”

Registration for the 23rd edition of Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival opened February 25th at 12:01 AM and can be done at www.ptbodragonboat.ca.  The first 3 teams to register will win a free extra practice in a dragon boat on Little Lake.


Participants and supporters are encouraged to engage with the Festival on Facebook and Instagram @ptbodragonboat