Late 2015, and a handful of Space for Life employees push the notion of teamwork even further by founding the first Space for Life ice canoeing team! So, should you happen to be taking a winter stroll in the Old Port of Montréal, don’t be surprised if you notice a rare bird sailing over the waters of the St. Lawrence: it’s the Magtogoek, an ice canoe measuring 8.6 meters (28 feet)!
What is ice canoeing?
A happy mix of running, bobsledding, rowing and rabaska, ice canoeing is an extreme winter sport originating in Québec. A focus of media attention every year at the Québec Winter Carnival, the activity is gaining in popularity with athletes and the general public. For the last three years, each February it’s even been possible for Montrealers to watch ice canoes race on the waters of the Old Port.
Heading upstream through history…
Crossing the river by canoe depending on ice conditions began as a matter of necessity in the 17th century to meet the needs of the colony. It was sometimes the only way of crossing over from Québec City to Lévis. In 1860 there were over 200 canoers to get residents and merchandise across. With the arrival of steamboats, the canoers’ services slowly disappeared… But a few diehards kept the practice going out of their passion for it and sparked a true winter-sport tradition. Following the first race in 1894 from Québec City to Lévis, a scattering of races were organized over the years, until finally in 1955 ice canoeing became part of the Québec Winter Carnival’s annual activities.
Together, making a commitment for the community
The four Space for Life institutions – the Biodôme, Insectarium, Botanical Garden and Planetarium – are united by a single mission, that of supporting humans in living better with and in nature. Moved by that same spirit, we’re committing ourselves to a project that brings people together on behalf of a cause that we hold dear: that of helping children from disadvantaged families enjoy enriching experiences in nature. Hence, our race will be motivated by a fundraiser for the Jérôme Brisson-Curadeau Bursary Fund. Come out in droves to cheer us on!