One hundred thousand visitors are expected to attend the 2009 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships being held this weekend on Dartmouth's Lake Banook. On the water, participants from over 70 countries will charge neck-and-neck at full-force in 1,000- and 500-metre races.
"This is huge," says Stacey Jones-Oxner, the event's spokesperson. "Haligonians should be excited because this is the largest-ever sporting event to be held in Atlantic Canada."
The world-class canoists will be matched on shore by an eclectic assortment of performers bizarre, artistic or daring enough to impress even non-sporty types. There'll be a free performance by Matt Mays on Friday night, opportunities to handle a giant python and even fire-eating displays (see canoe09.ca for race and event schedules).
What's more, Dan Mahoney, a teenage world record-breaking pogo star from Truro, will demonstrate his mad skills. YouTube is peppered with videos of Mahoney happily bouncing to obscene heights on his Vurtego sticks.
Yes, but can Mahoney do this in a canoe?
There'll be slime to play with too. Kids and adults with a child-like sense of fun can mix borax and glue to make a silly putty-like substance, as part of the Slimy Science exhibit put on by the Discovery Centre.
"Everyone makes their own little cup and takes it home," says Rebecca Mackenzie, the Centre's external learning manager. The Centre will also be making "non-Newtonian fluid" from cornstarch and water, which morphs from being a solid to a liquid and sounds like something from The X-Files.
Metro Transit will run a free shuttle bus from Mic Mac Mall to the lake, but the best bet for peninsula residents is to take the Dartmouth ferry across the harbour and follow the crowds a kilometre or so up Ochterloney to Lake Banook.