The Welland International Flatwater Centre’s ribbon cutting ceremony held on July 10th, 2013, also marked the two year countdown until the venue will host Canoekayak Sprints as part of the TO2015 Pan Am Games. On August 1-4th, 2013 International Canoe Federation (ICF) Junior and Under 23 Canoe Sprint World Championships were hosted at Welland’s new state-of-the-art facility with 63 countries competing. History was made at this event as Canoe Niagara 2013 was the first World Championships to include an Under 23 category. The WIFC is firmly planted on the international map; the future is only beginning to dawn.
The WIFC venue rivals top facilities in the world with infrastructure exceeding current international standards for hosting and for accessibility. Attracting the most attention though may be the Welland Flume: two independently controlled, moving water, variable;speed, training tanks outfitted for rowing, canoe, kayak and dragon boat where athletes can train in the off season and experience an on-water feel.
The WIFC impact is sizeable and it extends beyond the physical structures; it is building a sense of pride within the community, it is building a larger flatwater community with clubs of all disciplines, it is building a family of volunteers, and it brings people together toward the achievement of a common goal. It creates a palpable positive spirit through the City of Welland as the hopes and dreams of future Canadian Olympians and World Champions become a reality as a direct result of Welland’s Waterway. The WIFC has, and will continue to have, an inspiring rippling effect.