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East York people, places, events & insights

Dragons Abreast dragon boat team to celebrate 20th anniversary with paddle to Ottawa for Canada Day

Eleanor Nielsen of Dragons Abreast -SUPPLIED

Eleanor Nielsen of Dragons Abreast -SUPPLIED

A dragon boat team of 20 breast cancer survivors started by an east TO resident will celebrate its twentieth anniversary by paddling 100 km of the Rideau Canal to arrive in Ottawa on July 1.

Dragons Abreast Toronto was one of the world’s first Breast Cancer survivor teams when it was founded by Beaches resident Eleanor Nielsen in 1997 to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and leading a full and active life after breast cancer.

To mark the milestone the group will undertake the paddle in the 12-metre vessel and also make it a fundraiser for Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto, a registered charity that offers programs for people with cancer and their support networks, to help them through the challenges of treatment, rehabilitation, living with cancer or bereavement.

Gilda’s was chosen, says team founder, Eleanor Nielsen, because it’s important that “we never forget that we are some of the fortunate ones travelling the breast cancer journey.  It is an honour to raise money in Gilda’s name, so no one has to face cancer alone.”

The six-day voyage begins June 26 at Edmonds Lock and potential sponsors are encouraged to contact the team by email at or by phone at 416-200-8784.

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