Annual Brown Cup regatta sees large crowds in Victoria as UBC Thunderbirds make history

Annual Brown Cup regatta sees large crowds in Victoria as UBC Thunderbirds make history
Brown Cup file photo.

The Brown Cup Regatta was back in Greater Victoria this weekend, as participants from two B.C. universities went head to head in hopes of rowing their way to victory.

The regatta returned on Saturday, April 6, for its 31st year. The men’s and women’s rowing teams from the University of Victoria (UVic Vikes) and the University of British Columbia (UBC Thunderbirds) took to the Gorge Waterway before reaching Victoria’s Inner Harbour — a 3,500-metre distance.

The UBC Thunderbirds emerged triumphant in all four races, including during the men’s reserve when they beat the UVic Vikes by a mere 2.3 seconds. The women’s varsity was also a close race, with the Thunderbirds just 3.3 seconds faster.

Here are the results:

Men’s Reserve

  • UBC – 11:20.6
  • UVic – 11:22.9 (+2.3)

Men’s Varsity

  • UBC – 11:01.5
  • UVic – 11:19.7 (+18.2)

Women’s Reserve

  • UBC – 12:43.5
  • UVic – 12:47.5 (+4.0)

Women’s Varsity

  • UBC – 12:30.9
  • UVic – 12:34.2 (+3.3)

For the Thunderbirds, it was history in the making.

“The UBC Thunderbirds made history on Saturday, completing their first-ever full sweep at the Brown Cup. The varsity men earned their fourth victory in a row, while the women’s team notched their first win since 2018,” says UBC in a blog post.

The races kicked off at Gorge Point Beach, and the finish line was near the Steamship Grill & Bar. Onlookers lined the course, including many who watched from the Johnson Street bridge as rowers powered through.

According to Rowing B.C., the Brown Cup is watched live around the world and has “become a fixture in the Canadian rowing calendar.” Saturday’s event aired live on CHEK’s streaming platform, CHEK+, and YouTube account with host Paul Haysom.

“Conditions were excellent throughout the day, and viewers and race fans were provided with stroke-by-stroke coverage from start to finish with a live stream provided by Victoria’s Chek News,” added UBC in the post.

“The Galloping Goose Trestle and Johnson Street Bridges were crowded with spectators who provided a huge boost to crews at some of the toughest points in the race when legs and lungs are burning.”

Haysom, CHEK News’ 6 p.m. anchor, interviewed rowers throughout the broadcast and provided live race commentary.

Rewatch CHEK’s coverage here:


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Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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