The fourth annual Swim the Canal in St. Peter’s will make a splash Sunday, Aug. 6.
The homecoming swim, which will take place from 2 to 5 p.m., is on the final day of the Nicolas Denys Days festival.
“A lot of people who grew up around here – in the St Peter’s area – swam there as kids and teenagers,” Ann Marie Kerr, one of the organizers, said, while describing the watery location as “the local swimming hole.”
“There are a lot of good memories for people, so a bunch of us decided that we would try to swim the canal.”
She added the event was “pretty much a success right away.”
There were 77 swimmers who participated in the inaugural event, while the numbers increased to 119 and 180, respectively, in the following two years.
“We are expecting even more this year because [Rendez-vous 2017] Tall Ships will be in St. Peter’s, as well, so it will be sort of a combined event,” Kerr noted.
“I would think there will be a lot of people around.”
There are two options for the Village on the Canal Association event, swim either the length or width of the waterway.
The length option is 800 metres in the world-famous Bras d’Or Lake through the St. Peter’s Canal National Historic Site, ending at Battery Provincial Park Beach.
As for the width offering, swimmers will cover 100 metres, a return trip from Battery Park to the canal wall.
Kerr is not only a Swim the Canal organizer, but also a participant.
“It’s great – all my nieces come home and two of my brothers do it,” she said.
Kerr added, last year, four generations from one family swam.
“There are also a few people over 80 who do it,” she said.
Kerr noted participants can use whatever aids they may need, including flippers or pool noodles.
“It’s not a race, but we are looking at that component for another year,” she said.
Kerr noted members of a Truro swim club are planning to participate this year.
“It is all ages and it is a lot of fun,” she said.
“We have had three great years – beautiful days – and we are hoping for the same this year.”
Kerr noted many people plan their summer trip home around the festival dates.
“There are also a lot of people from other places as well,” she said of the swim, adding there are participants registered from Halifax and Sydney.
“We have four or five sign up from Louisbourg the other day,” she noted.
Kerr said there is a rumour some crew members from the Tall Ships were planning to do the swim.
“We haven’t heard from them yet,” she noted.
Sponsored by the MacBouch Restaurant and Grill in St. Peter’s, Swim the Canal also serves as a fundraiser.
“There are not many funds to be raised because it is only $15 and you get a T-shirt,” Kerr said.
From the inaugural swim, she noted, a donation was made to the effort to save the lighthouse.
“But it looks like the federal government has taken that on, so we don’t need that,” Kerr said.
“I think, whatever money that we have, it will go to the Village on the Canal Association for, maybe, buildings or some sort of activity at the canal in the future.”
If someone registers on the day of the swim, at Battery Provincial Park Beach, the entrance fee is $20.
People can register at Marsha’s Custom Cuts in St. Peter’s, or at 902-535-3135; or call Kerr at 902-535-3759.
For more information, including on how to register, visit www.visitstpeters.com/swim-the-canal or the Swim the Canal Facebook page.