WELLAND – Hosted by the South Niagara Rowing Club in late September every year since 1980, the Head of the Welland is run on the North Course of the Welland International Flatwater Centre. In its 38th year, the Head of the Welland – Five Bridges Fall Classic is a “must attend” event for clubs, athletes, and fans of rowing.
This year’s program takes place Saturday, Sept. 28.
Taking part are 31 clubs and 284 entries.
Local participants include: Notre Dame Rowing Club (16 entries), South Niagara Rowing Club (18 entries), St. Catharines Rowing Club (23 entries), Niagara Falls Rowing Club (26 entries), Niagara Rowing School, Vineland (19 entries) and Ridley College, St. Catharines (9 entries).
Some other clubs include: Argonaut Rowing Club, Toronto (28 entries), Detroit Waterfront Rowing Association, Detroit (6 entries), Hanlan Boat Club, Toronto (17 entries), Canisius High School, Buffalo (7 entries) and Three Rivers Rowing Club, Pittsburgh (11 entries).
The race course begins just south of the Thorold Road boat launch (end of Thorold Road) with a naturally scenic 1.5 km stretch of open water running beside Merritt Island and over the Aqueduct to the Civic Square. It then proceeds under five bridges travelling 3.7 km south through the heart of the city to the finish line on the North Course of the Welland International Flatwater Centre.
The first bridge is the historic Main Street Bridge, with its towering steel frame, with the Division Street Bridge just 150 metres away. Opening up after the Division Street Bridge, the Recreational Waterway then affords a 750 metre stretch of uninterrupted water before coming to the Lincoln Street Bridge. A quick pass under the main columns of the bridge leads into the community recreation portion of the waterway with another 750 metre stretch of open water before having to navigate the railway swing bridge and the Broadway Bridge.
The waterway then immediately enters the North Course of the Welland International Flatwater Centre and competitors have approximately 1.2 km remaining to make their move.
The event has a detailed, highly informative website, Regatta Central: https://www.regattacentral.com/v3/cms/regatta/6677/venue?org_id=0