The group behind the fundraising efforts needed to bring the new facility to completion held their second annual Summer Water Parade on Tuesday.
A flotilla of boats and vessels, canoes and kayaks, made their way across Lake Ramsey from the current site of the Sudbury Canoe Club on Elizabeth Street to the point that will host the new venue.
With various dignitaries, young athletes, dedicated volunteers and business contributors on hand, the group held a ground-breaking ceremony, just days after the base utilities were being installed adjacent to the nearby parking lot.
"The fundraising is going well," said host Thomas Merritt, actively involved with the adaptive rowing program. "We still have about $ 100,000 to $ 125,000 to raise in the community capital funds campaign, but we are well on our way.
"Bids are in for pre-site development. We're looking at an October construction date and to be moving in by next summer."
The current site houses the Sudbury Canoe Club, Sudbury Rowing Club, as well as the Sudbury Dragon Boat Festival.
The growth of the latter has greatly precipitated the need for a new facility.
"We've crowded people almost completely out of the old facility," said Dragon Boat Festival chair Jim Smith.
"We have our equipment stored in three or four places around the city. We're looking for a permanent home."
With the festival still contributing upwards of $ 75,000 annually toward local charities and not-for-profit groups, Dragon Boat organizers are anxious to add some stability to an event that will celebrate its 15th anniversary in 2014.
"What this really means for us is that we would have a very solid base from which we could continue to help organizations in the city that need our help," said Smith. "That, to me, is the most exciting part."
From a starting point of 60 boats, the festival grew progressively to a high of 150 entries, now working its way right back to where it started. All of which is fine for the man who has guided much of this ebb and flow.
"The ideal for us would be between 65 and 70 boats," said Smith. "It's a day we can handle with ease, which makes it fun for everyone. We can still make it a festival at 70 and still be able to provide the type of help in the community that we would like to."
While it has been a few years since the heyday of the Sudbury Canoe Club, whose origins date back to 1902, a new facility would hopefully bring an influx of talented new young paddlers to the site, linking up with a core group that already shows plenty of promise.
Just back from her first trek to provincials in Ottawa, Samantha McGrath has really taken to the sport in just her second year on the water.
"My first year that I started, I did no competitions, practising about twice a week," said the 13-year-old.
"This year, I'm practising six times a week, with lots of competitions, and its lots of fun."
Among the top finishers at the Western Regionals in July, McGrath has noticed some definite improvement this summer.
"I have better rotation now, and my stroke rate is starting to improve," she said. "I still have to work on it. I use my legs a bit more. There's still lots of stuff I need to work on."
Enjoying racing both on her home course in Sudbury, as well as at meets in Welland and Ottawa, McGrath has noticed a difference.
"The canals in Welland and Ottawa have very flat water, which is very different from Lake Ramsey," she said.
"It's a lot easier. It would be harder to go from Welland to here."
Though she is still just starting to get her feet wet in terms of various racing distances, McGrath has already settled in to an early favourite.
"I like the 1000-metre race," she said. "It gives you enough time to get going and keep going. With the 100m sprint, you just do a start and then you finish."
Like almost everyone involved with any of the current tenants of the SCC, McGrath can hardly wait for this dream to become a reality.
"I like the idea of having more space, more boats, more everything," she said. "I would like to try new things. Trying the sprint canoe would be cool."