#ExploreNanaimo Blog Post

By Guest Blogger Nancy Shields


I was first introduced to the World Championship Bathtub Races when I stumbled across a video of Frank Ney, the Mayor of Nanaimo in the 1970s, on Facebook. After watching this video, I knew I had to check the scene out for myself:



This past weekend was the 50th annual races and they did not disappoint. The weekend kicked off on Friday night with a rocking performance from legendary Canadian rock band Trooper, along with Chilliwack, Valdy and more. Fans flocked into Maffeo Sutton Park and got their groove on late into the evening.


All that dancing was just the beginning to a great weekend. Saturday morning kicked off bright and early with the annual parade which featured a drive-by from the world’s largest bathtub, lots of local community groups, and of course, excited bathtub racers.

Down at Maffeo Sutton Park the Bathtub festival was in full swing by Saturday afternoon. There were inflatable slides, human hamster balls and obstacle courses for the kids. As I walked through the festival grounds I checked out the vendors selling local Vancouver Island-made art and handmade goods, and of course had to stop for mini donuts and other festival fare from the many food trucks on site.

Saturday night finished off with a bang. The Quality Foods Festival of Lights provided a massive crowd of at least 1,000 people with a stunning fireworks display over the gorgeous Nanaimo Harbour. As I watched the beautiful colours both in the sky,  and reflecting off the water, my anticipation for the big bathtub race on Sunday grew.

I eagerly headed down to the park on Sunday morning for the start of the World Championship Bathtub races. In the past, tubbers would race the entire Georgia Straight to the finish line in Vancouver. This year, the racers would go around several surrounding islands and finish the race where it started, in the Nanaimo Harbour. The starting gun sounded, and they racers were off! One tub immediately sank and had to be rescued by RCMP boats. About an hour later, the rest of tubbers began to return to the shores of Nanaimo. Upon landing, they had to jump out of their bathtubs and make a hectic dash to the finish line to ring a bell.

This year’s overall winner was Nanaimo native Justin Lofstrom with a blazing time of 1 hour and 7 minutes. Who knew bathtubs could be so exciting! See you at the next Festival!


For more fun festivals & events, check out FestivalSeekers.com

– Nancy Shields
Content Manager, Seekers Media