Madawaska Kanu Centre hosts National Championships

BARRY’S BAY – The Madawaska Kanu Centre hosted the 2014 Canadian Whitewater Championships on August 28 and 29.

Canoe and kayakers from all across the country flocked to the Kanu Centre to compete or spectate at the Championships.

“This is probably the eighth one we’ve hosted,” commented Kanu Centre owner and operator Claudia Van Wijk.

“The first one was in 1971, the year before we opened our doors,” she added.

The Kanu Centre was founded by Van Wijk’s parents years ago and has become one of the most popular venues in Canada for whitewater sport. Van Wijk’s father, Hermann Kerckhoff, made the Canadian Olympic team at that 1971 championship.

The national Championships are a place where aspiring athletes can develop their skills and compete in a friendly environment.

“At the beginning, it’s all about fun and friendship,” said Van Wijk of younger athletes.

The competition soon heats up, however.

Michel Staniszewski, a national coach for team Canada, was on the water through the day, lending a hand and joining in for some friendly competition.

Get your September 3, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read more of this story.