Bathtub race, between Nanaimo and Vancouver, returning for Canada’s 150th

Bathtub race, between Nanaimo and Vancouver, returning for Canada's 150th

Commemorative bathtub race across the Salish Sea drawing new interest

The Great International World Championship Bathtub Race makes headlines every year but it never gets quite as much attention as it did during it’s infancy.

“It was quite a party back in Nanaimo in those days,” remembers Greg Peacock, second vice-commodore of the Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society.

That’s when bathtubber’s raced nearly 60 kilometres between Nanaimo and Vancouver.

“I’m sure you’ve seen some of the older footage where some of these guys basically took a piece of plywood and glued it to the bottom of a bathtub and hung an outboard off the back of it and hung on for dear life to get over there.”

The first bathtub race happened in 1967, the year of Canada’s 100th anniversary.

It was propelled by Nanaimo’s colourful mayor Frank Ney.

“Everyone’s welcome folks. Everyone’s welcome to Nanaimo folks,” says Frank Ney, in archival footage that came from his family.

The great race between the two cities continued until 1996 when the course changed and ran entirely in the waters near Nanaimo.

Fast forward 50 years and organizers are planning a commemorative race across Georgia Strait, now the Salish Sea, once again.

“Everyone we’ve spoken to since we’ve made the announcement that we’re actually going to try and pull this off they’re all very supportive,” says Peacock. “They all think it’s a great idea and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Jaime Garcia, a competitive bathtub racer for 13 years, is among those who have already signed up.

“When they asked, I said ‘Yeah I’m in’. There’s no question that’s one of the bucket list, sort of things, I didn’t get to do.”

Organizers say they’re hearing from others that are dusting off their bathtubs for the first time in years.

All are wanting to take part in this special July 1st bathtub down memory lane.

The commemorative run across the Salish Sea will be a warm-up for sanctioned world bathtub race in Nanaimo. It takes place July 23rd.

For more details check the Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society webpage here.




Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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