2017 Alberta Recreation Survey

The data is in for this quadrennial survey and the AWA is very excited to see an upward trend continuing for our sport of canoeing and kayaking.

What is less promising is that the survey shows that overall participation in sport activities declined by 3.1% in the last 4 years. This may be just due to a sampling issue but the trend is  across all sports since 2013. Only 4 sports bucked this trend and showed positive growth.  

Some of the highlights from the Survey:

  • Paddlesports (canoeing and kayaking) ranked in the top 15 sport activities – up one spot since 2013. This is ahead of ATV/Off Road riding, Soccer, Basketball, Hockey and most other traditional sports. 
  • Canoeing ranked in the top 20 sport activities – up one spot since 2013
  • Kayaking ranked in the top 26 sport activities – up 2 spots since 2013

The other highlight of the 2017 Survey is that of all the Sports Activities that people want to try, Canoeing and Kayaking ranks #2. That is 2 places ahead of our ranking in 2013 and shows the increasing interest that Albertans have in our sport.

These trends support the AWA’s position for a canoe/kayak club with a training facility on a lake or river in every community across Alberta. We take for granted that swimming pools and hockey rinks will have parking, toilets, change rooms and other amenities. Good access to lakes and rivers with these infrastructure needs are important if communities want paddling to grow.

The operational costs involved with municipal swimming pools, hockey rinks, sport fields or other recreational facilities can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Lakes and rivers are public spaces and free to everyone to use. A canoe/kayak facility is a low cost and inexpensive addition for any community to construct and maintain. Canoe/kayak clubs can offer low cost rentals to members combined with lessons for schools and the public. This makes it a great alternative when starting into the sport.

We want to have community paddling facilities that children can ride a bike to or catch public transit, get their gear on and get a boat to enjoy a practice after school and then go home for supper. This model will make canoeing and kayaking even more popular in the future.