After 22 days of paddling, Team Hatchet Lake earned the title as the winners of the 2017 Voyageurs Rendezvous.
Team Hatchet Lake, originally from Wollaston Lake, Saskatchewan, not only won first place but a huge cash prize of $28,000.
The re-creation of the historic race started in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta on July 1 along the North Saskatchewan River and ended in The Pas, Manitoba.
Six teams with 12 people on each team travelled six to eight hours a day for about 1,600 kilometres in very warm weather with only two days of having to paddle in the rain.
“They persevered, it was pretty impressive. I don’t know how they did it” said Kathy Schwengler, Canada 150 2017 Voyageurs Rendezvous Special Events Coordinator.
Rocky’s Confluence Heritage Society received a $624,000 grant for the event from the federal Canada 150 Fund to help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
Schwengler says she got the opportunity to follow the canoers by driving to each community that the paddlers stopped in along the way.
“I am so privileged to have been part of this, it was a very special experience for all involved” said Schwengler.
“There was 150 people total in our camp every night. Many of the 21 communities were amazing hosts. They put on suppers for us and entertainment, so we all became a big family by the time it was over.”
This same race took place 50 years ago in 1967 and paddlers travelled 5,283 kilometres from Rocky Mountain House to Expo 67 in Montreal.
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