The community of Salmon Arm is the recipient of nine original teak Chinese wooden dragon boats that were brought to Canada to introduce the sport of dragon boating during Expo 86 in Vancouver BC. These boats are part of a truly unique Canadian collection that also includes six camphor wood Taiwanese dragon boats. The collection was donated in June 2015 through the support of the Shuswap Association for Rowing and Paddling by the Vancouver Chinese Cultural Centre Dragon Boat Association (DBA). The DBA was formed in 1986 following negotiations with the VCCC and Hong Kong Tourism Board for the boats to be shipped to Vancouver. The DBA maintained the fleet since their arrival in Canada.
The nine teak dragon boats have been restored by nine workers through a Job Creation Partnership Program with the Employment Program of British Columbia. Funding was provided by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia. A commitment of almost $204,000 from the Province to the project provided participants with up to 50 weeks experience in woodworking and power tools operation as they brought the boats back to life. The restoration of each boat included refinishing the hull, original dragon head and tail, seats, paddles, steering oars and drums. Aspiral Youth Partners Association managed the project.
In a fair exchange for the donation, DBA requested that one of the teak boats be returned to their organization once the restoration was complete.