For Immediate Release
June 16, 2022


VICTORIA – The wakes from war canoes are sending ripples all along the west coast this summer. It’s a seasonal rite of passage where neighbouring Indigenous communities come together in a series of races that are both friendly competition and a connection to the past.

This year’s race schedule is made up of 20 events which started in May and runs through September. To help competitors get to those races, BC Ferries is providing $10,000 dollars in travel. It’s one of the larger in-kind travel donations offered under the company’s community investment program.

Stacy Seymour, a member of the Stz’uminus First Nation, is not only carrying on a community tradition at the races, but a family one. She paddles with the Rainbow Canoe Club which was started over 100 years ago by her great grandfather who passed it down from generation to generation keeping the legacy alive. 

"There was a time when I said I would never get into a war canoe," says Seymour. "But eventually I did and 20 years later I’m running the canoe club and wouldn’t have it any other way." 

The races offer a glimpse into what is a much longer, and deeper relationship with the war canoe. They were the main source of transportation connecting coastal communities to the mainland and were integral for hunting and fishing. 

"We recognize Indigenous Peoples as the original mariners of these coastal waters we are fortunate to sail everyday and that makes this an ideal event to support," says Janet Carson, Vice President, Marketing and Customer Experience with BC Ferries. "The war canoe is a powerful cultural symbol and we are honoured to support these athletes, and the events, as they inspire the next generation."

"It gives us all a sense of identity and belonging to our families," says Seymour. "The canoes represent the roots of our family histories and connects us to those traditions."

Seymour will compete alongside her daughters and nieces, but will do so sparingly. While the racing categories include singles, doubles, and sixes, Seymour will only compete in the elevens which is the main event.

"I'd rather just retire and be the grandma on the beach, but my daughter won’t let me," Seymour offers with a laugh.

For the girl who didn’t want to get in a war canoe she summarizes her experience like this, "I love it all, this keeps me busy, it’s who I am!"

BC Ferries invests in non-profit groups and community organizations to generate a beneficial social and environmental impact. BC Ferries engages coastal communities and employees to identify community and social investment opportunities in environmental education, health and sport, and vibrant communities. Depending on the initiative, BC Ferries may provide in-kind travel, partner with non-profit organizations on the delivery of programs and services, or encourage employees to volunteer and participate.

Rainbow Canoe Club from the Stz'uminus First Nation

Rainbow Canoe Club - 1914

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