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Minister Counsellor Zhao Haisheng Attends Opening Ceremony of Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

On the evening of June 22, the 24th Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival kicked off. Minister Counsellor (Culture) Zhao Haisheng of the Chinese Embassy in Canada attended on invitation the opening ceremony, and delivered a speech on behalf of the Embassy and dotted the eyes for a dragon boat. Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa and more than 300 people attended the ceremony. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, sent a note of congratulation on the grand opening of the festival via video, highly praised that the festival has become an integral part of diverse culture of Canada, and expressed his gratitude to overseas Chinese for their tremendous contributions to the development of Canada.

Minister Counsellor Zhao introduced the history and culture of dragon boats in his opening address. He was glad that the dragon boat race enjoys popularity in North America and the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival becomes the biggest cultural and sports event in North America in summer. He also said that Chinese Embassy in Canada is willing to collaborate with the festival organizing committee for the popularity of dragon boat culture. Mayor Watson welcomed the teams participating in the dragon boat race and announced June 22 to 25 to be Ottawa's Dragon Boat Days.

Before the opening ceremony, a grand entrance ceremony of the athletes was held. Accompanied by the Royal Canadian Air Force Scottish Pipe Band, the athletes dressed in fancy uniforms entered the arena. After the opening ceremony, a charity dragon boat race was held. Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival has attracted more than 150 teams from all over North America this year, and the Chinese Embassy also competed in the race for the first time.

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