Celebrating 250 Years Of Horse Racing In Canada

Published: June 30, 2017 08:31 am EDT

As Canada celebrates 150 years of confederation on July 1, Canada’s horse racing industry is recognizing an even greater milestone, the 250th Anniversary of Horse Racing in Canada with 23 racetracks in eight provinces taking part in a national celebration over the July 1st weekend.

From British Columbia to Prince Edward Island, tracks holding races between June 30th and July 2nd will raise flags, hold commemorative miles and honour the people, horses and history from their local communities to mark the 250th Anniversary. The July 1st weekend initiative is part of a year-long celebration led by the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in conjunction with Standardbred Canada and Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society.

“This anniversary provides the opportunity for the entire horse racing industry across the country to speak with one voice about our incredible history,” said Linda Rainey, Managing Director of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. “There aren’t many things in our country that are 250 years old and horse racing has reached that milestone. It is a story anyone who has ever been involved with horse racing can be proud of.”

It all began, July 1, 1767, exactly 100 years before our country’s confederation, when a race took place on The Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. The Gazette de Quebec recounted the race as follows:

“The horse race for a purse of forty dollars was held on Wednesday, first of the month, on the Hill of Abraham. It was easily won by Captain Prescott’s mare Modesty, much to the discomfiture of those who, purporting to know about such things, had wagered against her and were thereby parted from their money.”

From that day forward horse racing has been part of the fabric of the country. From coast to coast, generation after generation, people from all walks of life have participated in and enjoyed the sport, whether on grass-root tracks, agricultural fairs, on frozen rivers dotting the countryside, or in today’s modern facilities.

Earlier this year a national initiative was launched to complete “250 Miles for 250 Years”, with a goal of accumulating 250 commemorative miles honouring the communities, horses and people who have participated in the sport over the past 250 years. Many of those commemorative miles will be held over this official anniversary weekend.

Everyone attending the celebrations is encouraged to share their experience via social media using the #cdnhorseracing250

Participating tracks include:

Century Downs (July 1)
Millerville (July 1)
Northlands Park – Edmonton (July 1)

British Columbia
Hastings Racecourse – Vancouver (July 1)

Assiniboia Downs – Winnipeg (July 1)

New Brunswick
Exhibition Park Raceway – Saint John (July 1)

Nova Scotia
Inverness Raceway (July 2)
Northside Downs – North Sydney (July 1)
Truro Raceway (June 30)

Clinton Raceway (July 2)
Dresden Raceway (July 1)
Fort Erie (July 2)
Georgian Downs (July 1)
Grand River Raceway (June 30)
Hanover Raceway (July 1)
Hiawatha Horse Park - Sarnia (July 1)
Kawartha Downs (July 1)
Mohawk Racetrack (July 1)
Rideau Carleton Raceway (July 2)
Woodbine Racetrack (July 1)

Prince Edward Island
Red Shores at Charlottetown (July 2)
Red Shores Summerside – (July 1)

Hippodrome 3R – Trois Rivieres (July 2)

Funding for the 250th Anniversary of Horse Racing in Canada initiatives has been provided by: Standardbred Canada, Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, HBPA Ontario, Central Ontario Standardbred Association, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Alberta Standardbred Horse Association, Harness Racing BC, The Jockey Club as well as individual donations. To support the 250th Anniversary Fund visit the Hall of Fame's Sponsorships and Donations page.

For additional information about the 250th Anniversary of Horse Racing in Canada and the celebrations planned go to canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com or via social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and use the #cdnhorseracing250 hashtag.

Over the Canada Day weekend, Trot Magazine's editor, Darryl Kaplan, will take us on a journey paying tribute to the origins of horse racing in Canada.