This Week in History
On your marks ...
For the week of Monday September 19, 2005
On September 22, 1818, the first Royal St. John’s Regatta was officially held. The Newfoundland rowing match was contested between six boats over 3.1 km to celebrate the 57th anniversary of the crowning of England's King George III. Today, the Royal St. John’s Regatta is the oldest and most important annual sporting event in North America!
Today, six-person teams race unique fixed-seat shells on Quidi Vidi Lake. The races are distinctive as well – each crew must start and end each race at the same point, which means they must manoeuvre the boat to turn at the buoys at the halfway point in each race! The men’s course is 2.45 km while the women’s course is 1.23 km.
Throughout the years, the regatta has become increasingly popular and, today, it attracts crowds of 40 000 to 50 000 spectators. The race is always held on the first Wednesday of August, weather permitting. The Regatta Committee has the unique authority to call a civic holiday with their early morning decision to “go” or to postpone until the next fine day. A carnival is also organized on the grounds along the shoreline to accompany the excitement of the racing.
The Royal St. John’s Regatta was designated a National Historical Event in 1989, and a plaque commemorating the annual event was erected in St. John’s in 1992.
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