Students showcase skills and teamwork at Skills Ontario Cardboard Boat Race Championships

Feb 23 2017


Fifty-nine teams face off for the 2017 Skills Ontario Cardboard Boat Race title in Elementary and Secondary championship races


For immediate release, Ontario The students have proven their skills at qualifying races across Ontario between October 2016 and February 2017. It’s time for them to put their skills and teamwork to the test once more for the Skills Ontario Cardboard Boat Race Championships, taking place March 1st (Secondary) and 2nd (Elementary) in Waterloo (Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex). 

The Skills Ontario Cardboard Boat Races seek to introduce students to skills such as construction and building, planning and design, teamwork, and workplace safety that are required for today’s highly-skilled workforce in Ontario. Sponsored by 3M and Norampac Cascades, Skills Ontario Cardboard Boat Races connect education, hands-on experience, and employability skills. 

The Skills Ontario Cardboard Boat Races draw nearly 1500 competitors in 14 cities from 250 schools in Ontario each year. This year, races were held in Sault Ste. Marie and Belleville for the first time ever, and had a great turnout of students. Fifty-nine teams – a total of 236 students – will compete at the championships over the two day event in Waterloo. 

The premise of the races is simple: teams of four are provided all the necessary materials to build a boat in just two hours. Students must bring their problem-solving, teamwork and design skills as they create a seaworthy structure out of two sheets of 4’ by 8’ corrugated cardboard and some duct tape. Students are judged on construction, speed, weight, and team spirit categories. 

These races represent a culmination of planning, testing, and practicing by students throughout the school year, many of whom build prototypes and practice technique during their lunch hours and after school. The students are not only dedicated, but very skilled: the Skills Ontario speed record for a cardboard boat to cross a pool is 10.73 seconds, and the weight record is 1411 pounds! 


“Skills Ontario is committed to preparing Ontario’s youth for the highly-skilled economy of tomorrow,” says Gail Smyth, Executive Director of Skills Ontario. “The Cardboard Boat Races is such a fun way to connect education, hands-on experience, and employability skills for young people.”

Associated Links

Rick Mercer at the 2014-15 Cardboard Boat Race Championships
Skills Ontario Online Media Kit
Follow the action on Twitter with #CBRskills 

About Skills Ontario

Skills Ontario is building Ontario’s skilled trades and technologies workforce.  We enable and empower all youth, including women and Aboriginal youth, to consider a career in the skilled trades and technologies. Engagement with students, teachers, parents, volunteers, employers and mentors ensure our programs connect education, experience, and employment. We deliver in-school presentations across Ontario, host Canada’s largest skills competition, run a summer camp for skills development and connect students to employers. We are focused on growth sectors such as construction and infrastructure, technology innovation, and hospitality services. 

Media Contact

Anne Ramsay, Manager of Communications, Skills Ontario
519-749-9899 x 230 | 

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