Project Title:

Rowing Canada Aviron Builds Vital Infrastructure on Quamichan Lake

Project Organization:

Rowing Canada Aviron

Project Investment:

  • Island Coastal Economic Trust: $160,000
  • Total Budget: $1,843,450

Project Highlight:

New project at Rowing Canada’s National Training Centre expected to draw major investment and rowing tourism to the Cowichan Valley.

Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) is continuing a major project to further establish the National Training Centre (NTC) as the home for Canadian Rowing in the Cowichan Valley. The ambitious project is segmented into four distinct development phases, aiming to bring more than $15 million in capital investment to the Cowichan Region over the next 3-5 years.

The current project investment for phase 3 of the development focuses on building a shell house on Quamichan Lake. This 4000 square-foot structure with two boat bays will be used to store and protect RCA’s valuable fleet of rowing equipment. This vital infrastructure will support the hosting of national, international, provincial, and local rowing regattas, among other events.

The project is supported through the Island Coastal Economic Trust’s Capital and Innovation Program with its focus on Entrepreneurs and Local Businesses.

Strengthening Community Wellbeing:

There is a symbiotic relationship between RCA’s need for a new home, where athletes will have year-round access to on-water training opportunities, and the Cowichan Valley’s strategic goals to grow tourism and spur economic development and diversification. The Shell House is a crucial element of the training facility. Once complete, it will facilitate the activities and programming that will become a legacy for the facility and the region.

Economic Prosperity: As the NTC becomes a training hub, it will attract new workers, residents, and hundreds of rowing tourists to the region. It is expected that RCA’s decision to locate in the Cowichan Valley will serve as a catalyst to attract further national and international high-performance and sport tourism operations that require year-round outdoor training venues.

The venture also directly supports Tourism Cowichan’s stakeholder objectives and North Cowichan’s strategic plan to rejuvenate the tourism industry by increasing total visitor numbers and extending the tourism season.  The facility will continue to support existing businesses and encourage new opportunities, especially in sports science and sports medicine.

Cultural Vitality: RCA’s mission is to inspire Canadians, promote physical and mental wellbeing, and foster safe, diverse, and vibrant communities. While the top priority is to establish the NTC in North Cowichan as a model for Canadian High-Performance Sport, RCA is invested in supporting traditional canoe and kayak regattas. They are also working alongside Cowichan Tribes to re-engage youth in on-water sports, including possibly co-locate their youth paddling programs at the NTC, where RCA would provide mentorship opportunities with athletes and coaches.

Social Empowerment: By providing world-class training facilities and programming, the NTC project empowers individuals and communities by promoting inclusivity and accessibility in sports. The facility will include features designed to support para-rowing, making high-level athletic training accessible to a wider range of athletes.

As a result of the infrastructure enhancements during phase 3, RCA expects this project will result in the influx of 50-70 national team athletes, coaches, and staff who will relocate to the region to train and work with the National Team.

What Leaders Are Saying:

“The new Shell House project at Rowing Canada’s National Training Centre in the Cowichan Valley is more than just a building, it’s an investment in our community’s future. It will boost the economy, bring in visitors, elevate our local rowing scene, and help put Cowichan on the map for sports and tourism. This initiative embodies the values of resilience, inclusivity, and excellence that define the Cowichan Valley, I’m excited to see this project take off.” –  Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley and Leader of the BC Greens

“We are incredibly grateful for the continued support from Island Coastal Economic Trust. Their investment has been foundational in our progress with the National Training Centre, including the successful completion of the docks in 2023. The support we have received thus far is bringing us closer to realizing the full potential of the National Training Centre project. This forward momentum is exciting for all of us at RCA, as the completion of the Shell House and other infrastructure is crucial for enhancing the way our team trains and further establishing North Cowichan as the Home for Canadian Rowing. There is still a journey ahead to secure the remaining funding needed, but with the Trust’s help, we are steadily moving towards our goal.” – Adam Parfitt, High Performance Director, Rowing Canada Aviron

“We are excited to invest in the new phase of Rowing Canada’s ongoing initiative to establish their National Training Centre in the Cowichan Valley.  This phase draws significant investment across the region, facilitating events that will impact the local economy by attracting athletes and visitors to the region for years.” – Aaron Stone, Chair, Island Coastal Economic Trust.

Media Contacts

Jeff Bartlett
Communications and Impact Manager
Island Coastal Economic Trust

Susanne Wereley
Communication Manager
Rowing Canada Aviron

Island Coastal Economic Trust approved funding for this project in March 2024 through the Capital and Innovation program.