Frequently Asked Questions


Who can do dragon boat?

Everyone! All are welcome to try dragon boating regardless of experience and skill. Dragon boat is an inclusive activity and everyone in the boat contributes.

I am an individual paddler, how do I find a team?

In order to find a team, we ask that you fill in this survey which is shared with SPC team captains who are looking for team members and we will contact you then!

I am a team captain, how do I find a paddler?

Email us and we will send you a link to the form with all the responses from individual paddlers looking for teams. It is automatically updated when people fill in the forms. If you would like us to help you recruit members by promoting you in our newsletter, please contact us. You can also complete this team survey which will be shared with our individual paddlers.

How do I register my team for practices?

To register your team for practices at Sunnyside please contact our office ( or 416.532.6979) and we will be more than happy to help walk you through the process. We are upgrading our online registration system at this time and will notify teams when the system is ready.

Where is the Sunnyside practice site located?

1755 Lake Shore Blvd. W, Toronto M6S5A3

Closest intersection: Parkside Dr. and Lake Shore Blvd. West

2016 Sunnyside Paddling Club General Map

TTC Information (from Keele Station):

Take the 80 Queensway West bus, exit at Lake Shore Blvd. West

TTC Information (from Queen Street):

Take the 501 Queen streetcar to The Queensway and Parkside Drive

Head south to the Martin Goodman Trail

Walk west to Sunnyside/Gus Ryder Pool

This route takes 5 minutes to walk and is only 390 meters

TTC Information (from King Street):

Take the 504 streetcar and exit at Roncesvalles

Walk across the pedestrian bridge to the Martin Goodman Trail and head west 500m...look for the Pavilion

Where do I park?

Paid parking is available on the east and west side of the Pavilion. All parking lots are accessible via Lake Shore Blvd West.

Are there lockers, washrooms, and changerooms?

Yes! The SPC facility is equipped with lockers (quarters required), washrooms, and changerooms for all SPC facility users provided that they have paid the Facility User Fee and signed the waivers.

Do I need to sign a waiver?

Absolutely. Everyone must sign an electronic waiver to be able to use the SPC Practice Site. For more information on waiver registration please contact the SPC office directly. Waivers are available for all paddlers to sign on Gushou. For help with Gushou please call 905-990-8900.

What should I bring to practice?

You should bring comfortable clothing that you don't mind getting wet, hat, sunscreen, and of course, a positive attitude! Life jackets and equipment (including paddles and boats) will be provided at the site.

Can I bring my own paddle?

Yes, if you wish, but we have a supply of wooden paddles, with lengths from 44" to 51". We also have life jackets for all paddlers, coaches, and steerers. However, many people opt to purchase their own equipment, so feel free to talk to any of the Safety Crew or email us for more information on where to buy.

Do I need to warm up before starting to paddle?

YES! Keeping yourself healthy and injury free is imperative for you to enjoy yourself. Plan on arriving 25 minutes before you paddle, allowing for 5 minutes to change, 10 minutes to warm up, and a few extra minutes to chat and get organized before you load the boat. Running, jumping jacks, chin-ups, push-ups, or yoga -- anything to get the blood flowing to the muscles before you start your stretching and mobility exercises.

Is there a Safety Crew?

Yes, we have a safety crew on land and in the water. Our motor boats patrol the practice site and beachfront area at all times. Our staff are linked via VHF radios. Each boat has a first-aid kit, and full safety procedures are in place - accidents are prevented before they can happen.

I can't swim, do boats ever flip?

Under calm conditions and with an experienced steerer, a boat is very unlikely to capsize. However, wind and waves can occasionally cause the boat to up submerged in the water. To ensure everyone's safety, we require all paddlers to wear lifejackets and have strict rules governing who can steer and where the boats can go. We also have a Safety Crew on-site. If you have registered for a SPC coach, then you are in capable hands and he or she is trained on best practices for preventing capsize or sinkings.

Do I have to wear a lifejacket?

Absolutely. SPC requires everyone to wear a personal flotation device (PFD). However, SPC does not allow people who cannot swim to wear inflatable personal flotation devices.

What do I do if I see a boat in trouble? A paddler in distress?

There are several things each boat can do to assist another crew. First, blow the whistle (each Coach/ Steerer must have one) 3 times to alert the lifeguards or other boats within earshot (if you hear 3 whistles, relay to the Safety Crew/ City lifeguards immediately). Stop your dragonboat as close as safely possible to the team in distress, to offer aid. Paddlers can raise their paddles blade-end straight up to signal distress.

Are there areas where the dragon boats cannot go?

Coaches and steerers must be aware of our "No Stop Areas". These include all break-wall openings, the narrow passage just east of Sunnyside, and the docking slips at The Boulevard Club. Crews are not allowed outside the break-wall or up the Humber without prior approval from the Safety Crew.

Where are the dragon boats allowed to go during practice?

Regularly, SPC teams can paddle from Ontario Place to the Humber River. There will be times when the weather will result in tighter boundaries, which allows our Safety Crew to concentrate on a smaller area to ensure the safety of our paddlers. Talk to the Safety Crew Member at the dock for the day's boundaries.

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