Redpath Waterfront Festival
“Flyboarding and Dock Dogs”
Toronto’s Waterfront District
Judi “Scoop” McWilliams, Festival Nomad Correspondent
How high can he go?

We decided to head out on a warm sunny 1st day of summer to the Redpath Waterfront Festival. Although we had been in the past, this year promised to be completely different and exciting. While it might be difficult to top last years Tall Ships Tour ®, the Festival website enticed us to travel, once more, to the heart of the Toronto waterfront, for a new experience. This time we traveled with our friends, Tom and Rachel.


Although we normally save our Festival Tips for other articles, I can sum up our travels this day by saying we were fortunate to be familiar with Toronto and were quick to divert our course off the 401. A major accident had occurred, closing the 401 highway entirely in our direction of travel. The tip here, besides having access to a “google map” or a “GPS”, having an actual folding map and some patience could come in handy… also extra emergency cash! The cash came in handy when at the end of our long day, when the TTC stopped running miles from our final destination! Everyone had to disembark and that was that. “Out you go best wishes for your journey home” the driver said. We hailed a taxi for the final leg of our journey to get our car that was parked in the west-end of Toronto, safe and sound for the drive home. Unfortunately, it happened again, this time we travelled north of the 401 (instead of south where most diverted traffic goes). It made for a long, long day, but, in the end we were grateful for taking along our own Ontario Visited Festival Tips that day!

Off to the Festival


When we arrived at the Redpath Waterfront Festival, a large map was posted on many fences and sides of poles along the walkways. The signs detailed the locations of events, times, schedules and more. Another great implement on the map was “colour zones”. The map indicated the different types of events and special events happening along the waterfront by colour code. This made it easy for visitors to navigate their way around, and it helped the visitors identify when they had arrived at the right destination.

With just the rest of the afternoon to explore we focused first on the Flyboard ® North American Championships.

Music and crowds cheering let us to the entrance of the refreshment area where visitors could sit, relax, have a drink and a bite to eat and watch in amazement.

Our videos captured the view from our vantage point. The athletes propel themselves into the air with a hand held device. There “Jet Flyboards” was attached to a high powered “Jet Skis”. It was odd to watch the jet skis driving around the water with no human on board steering. The athlete is attached to a very long tube, which in turn is attached to the Jet Ski.

From what we saw, the momentum of the water and air rushing up the tube propels the athlete into the air. High up into the air! Their feet are attached to what looks like a skateboard or snowboard. While in the air “tricks” can be completed much like snowboarding/skateboarding. By simply (yeah, right, simple), bending one knee you can turn your direction.

Many techniques, like somersaults, 360 turns, 780 turns and flips and much more, are performed. One amazing trick has the athlete fly high into the air, flatten out and then dive into the water, propelling through the top surface of the water (like a porpoise), then rises up and out, high into the air again. The shear core strength that it takes to perform these tricks is unbelievable! The competitors came from around the world, delighting the crowds, while vying for a spot in the final Championship that was to be held the next day.

A Tall Ship floated in the background, while a police boat help keep boat traffic at a safe distance. Airplanes flew out of the Island Airport. All the while, the Flyboarders seemed to be floating at the same level in the sky as the planes… an illusion I’m sure! If you look at our photos you too will see what an amazing spectacle it is!

Dock Dogs…

As the competition wound up for the day, we decided to walk over to the DockDogs ® World Qualifying Championships. Along the way we wondered through the Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival where many crowds had gathered in the hot afternoon sun.

Gary and I had been to DockDogs ® Competition before in Brockville, but this time we stood were able to stand right at the end of the jumping area. The competition had just ended when we arrived, and the crowd was dispersing.

However, the organizers decided to give latecomers a taste the event. As a result, we were able to stand at the side of the dock you can see the distance the dogs jump and their stretched out lean bodies. From the front view, you can clearly see their amazing faces, determined to catch their ball or toss toy. The Gary, the photographer, soon found out this might not be the best place to stand, as the splash of the water soaked him quickly. Fortunately, no harm to the camera! There was a World Champion Dog in attendance, who took a victory jump for the crowd. After the competition visitors were welcome (for a small fee) to see if their beloved friends would run and jump off the dock. There was no success this afternoon. I wondered if their owners had jumped in, if the dogs would have followed. Our photos. None wet, tell a great story.

We just ran out of time to see the Kids Zone where “Explore Parks Canada” offered crafts, activates and games. Visitors could explore the Voyageur Encampment and learn about Canadian heritage. The Redpath Waterfront Festival is a great family friendly, adrenaline running, and exciting way to spend a sunny summer day. 

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