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    This is the 68th year of the annual Corpus Christi celebrations at Cowichen. This is?

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    This is the 68th year of the annual Corpus Christi celebrations at Cowichen. This is the only part of Vancouver Island where Corpus Christi is commemorated -- and Cowichan has the honour of being the earliest place in British Columbia to celebrate this religious festival.

    It is also believed to be the only all - Indian Corpus Christi celebration in Canada.

    The Indian war canoe races are one of the highlights of the 2 - day festivities. Between one and two thousand people gathered at Cowichan Bay to watch these races. The canoe race is one of the oldest Indian sports which has survived the years since the canoe was a regular means of Indian transport through the wilderness in which they then lived. The tradition of canoeing is jealously guarded and perpetuated in memory of the strength, courage and prowess of their ancestors.

    The three mile course was today contested by 12 eleven - man canoes, which showed amazing speed in the choppy waters of the Bay. (to ensure every ounce of speed from their craft, their owners carefully polish and grease the bottoms before entering the water). Last year 3 canoes were swamped owing to the rough waters, but conditions were better this year.

    Canoes from various points of the Island entered the contest -- from Saanich, Chemainus, Nanaimo, Kuper Isle, to mention a few. Winner this year was "Warpath" from Nanaimo -- which won both the first and final 11 - man races. They received a special Centennial Trophy this time - in addition to the regular trophy.

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