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Paddlers hit the canal at Marsh Mash this weekend

Paddlers are getting ready for the annual Marsh Mash - marathon canoe and kayak races in the Holland Marsh in Bradford West Gwillimbury
Paddlers in last year's 40th annual Marsh Mash. Miriam King/Bradford Today

On May 18, paddlers will be converging on the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury: kayakkers, canoeists, paddleboarders, even outrigger paddlers.

They’re coming to town for the 41st annual Marsh Mash Canoe and Kayak races on the Holland Marsh canal, the fourth oldest canoe marathon race in all of Ontario.

Sanctioned by the Ontario Marathon Canoe and Kayak Race Association (OMCKRA), the Marsh Mash offers paddlers a choice of distances and classes, on one of the safest courses in the province.

There are 24- and 18-kilometre races for serious and competitive paddlers, a nine-km recreational course for kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle-boards, six-km course for the under-15 and under-13 kayakkers, and an open four-km course for adult/child paddling teams.

Since 2007, the Marsh Mash has been a World Team Qualifier, for the World Marathon Canoe and Kayak Championships – which means that the paddlers who come out include some of the province’s best.

Start and finish is at Westside Community Church, located at Canal Road and 5 Sideroad – which offers parking, washrooms, and shelter in case of inclement weather.

Registration is $25 for adults (18 and older), $15 for junior paddlers (ages six to 17). Those who are not members of OMCKRA are asked to pay a one-day membership fee of $5, which covers insurance costs.

Athletes can register online. On-site registration begins at 8 a.m. on May 18. There will be a briefing on this year’s course conditions at 9:15 a.m. Timed racing starts at 10 a.m.

The Marsh Mash is also a great spectator sport – watching athletes and recreational paddlers trying for their best times in the scenic Holland Marsh.

For more information see