Nanaimo’s World Champion Bathtub Race

January 26th, 2017

For more than 50 years, Nanaimo has been home to one of the most unique sporting events, attracting spectators from around the world: the International World Championship Bathtub Race. This world-class event is full of fun and excitement as participants race in bathtub boats across unpredictable ocean waters.

Created as an idea to showcase Nanaimo on a global scale, the first race occurred as part of celebrations for Canada’s 100th birthday in 1967. The brave contestants converted old bathtubs into silly watercrafts and raced across the Strait of Georgia on a 36 mile course ending in Vancouver. Of the 200 tubbers who entered, amazingly 47 of them were able to complete the long journey. Year after year, the event has drawn countless spectators and media coverage, eager to get a good view of the fun, like this helicopter waiting for the event to start in 1971.

Now in its 51st year, the course has changed, and so have the silly old bathtubs. Most crafts now resemble high-tech speedboats and compete on a course beginning in the Nanaimo Harbour, ending in Departure Bay. The event is also accompanied with a four-day marine festival featuring fun events like an arts & crafts fair, live music, and a fireworks display. Returning again at the end of July, you won’t want to miss out! Check out for full details. (from the collection of the Nanaimo Archives)

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