The annual Mighty Duck Race took place in South Mountain on May 7, returning after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event has been running for over two decades. It is a lottery-style fundraiser in which hundreds of rubber ducks are let loose in the South Nation River where it passes under County Road 1 in South Mountain. Participants must buy a ticket for a duck, and all of the ducks “race” to the finish line, where the river passes under Bridge Street in town. The event is put on by St. Daniel’s Council 11725 of the Knights of Columbus, with this year’s Race being run by 15 Knights of Columbus members and eight volunteers who gave well over 100 hours of their time.
All 800 of the available ducks were sold for the Race, bringing in a total of $3,260 in revenue. The winning ducks were those purchased by Claire Larabie (1st prize of $500 cash), Brenda Dillabough (2nd prize of $150 cash), and Dave Van Delst (3rd prize of $100 cash). This year, there was also a fourth prize of a $50 gift certificate donated by the Country Kitchen restaurant in Winchester, which was won by Randy Rose. After accounting for the prize money, and adding in $90 raised from other Knights of Columbus charity initiatives, a net profit of $2,600 was raised to give away. The Winchester District Memorial Hospital received $1,000, while the Naomi Family Resource Centre, the House of Lazarus, the Dundas County Hospice, and Winchester’s Community Food Share all received $400.
Knight Richard Pickard explained how the event started as a takeover of a similar event that had been run as a fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. The Kiwanis Duck Race for Tiny Hearts at CHEO involved the racing of an astounding number of ducks – up to 100,000 – on the Rideau Canal every spring. When that event came to an end, one of the local Knights of Columbus members had the idea of purchasing 1,000 ducks to run their own event. “This event has grown over the years from a small venue involving rubber ducks to an all-day community event including a BBQ, a silent auction and 800 ducks racing down the mighty Nation River,” he said. Each year, the event sees a rise in attendance, with a turnout of dozens of people this year, including local Member of Parliament Eric Duncan.
Richard expressed many thanks to the North Dundas community for their support in making the beloved event a success. “It went very, very well,” he said.