1) How much is the Carleton Cup? Can I register in advance/online?
Jonathan Knowles: Registration fees vary depending on when you commit to the race, but, it includes your first beverage (ie. water, beer, pop) of the night. Of course if you raise $200 or more in pledges, you race for free and you’re entered in a sweet raffle draw to boot. You can register online by clicking here: REGISTER FOR THE CUP! Online registration ends at 4pm on Saturday January the 25th.
2) Where does my registration fee go exactly?
Scott Rondeau: Your registration fee goes towards all the operating costs associated with the organization of this event (i.e.: advertising, administration, website maintenance, on occasion entertainment costs etc…) It also covers your admission to the third leg of the race and your first beverage of the night. $5 of your registration fee goes directly to Cystic Fibrosis Canada, just in case you don't get the chance to raise pledge $ yourself. If you raise $200 or more, we reimburse your registration fee AND take care of your $5 CF donation as a thank you.
This $5 and the pledges you DO raise are collected directly at the event by CF volunteers. (They will track you down if you forget and issue charitable receipts for $ amounts over $10). From there it is presented to the CFC’s Ottawa Chapter on our behalf. Some of the money is used to support the local chapter and its efforts to raise more money, but most goes directly to research for discovering new medicines and finding a cure. They have made some great progress over the last few years, so every $ counts now more than ever.
3) Why did you guys choose to get involved with Cystic Fibrosis Canada?
-John Bumstead, Oakville ON
Dean HP: There really wasn't any "choosing" involved here. Many of our long term participants have Cystic Fibrosis and have continued to come out and participate since 1995, when we introduced the charity drive component to the event. It began as such because one of the directors of our event has been involved in the fight for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis in conjunction with the dioceses of Canada and Camp Couchiching in Orillia, Ontario. He was able to bring many people involved with the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis [since renamed to "Cystic Fibrosis Canada"] to participate in the event each year, and this affiliation has continued to be an integral part of our operation. To say that we have a "soft spot" for our CF contingent? Sure we do! Our collective goal is to raise as much money as we can over the next several years.
4) How can I get a Cystic Fibrosis Canada pledge sheet for your event?
JK: Well, you could click here and print one up yourself, or keep your eyes peeled for me because I usually have a stack in the back of my car.
5) Can anyone participate regardless of Age, Gender, or Political and Religious beliefs?
6) Do I have to race/compete?
SR: Certainly not! The Cup has trained more than one person how to skate for the first time. There are a number of diehard Cuppers that compete for the actual trophy and bragging rights, but most are there just to enjoy and make an evening out of it.
7) Do I need my own Skates?
SR: YES! WE do not provide you with Skates. Bonehead. However there are places that rent. Check out Capital Skates or the Dow’s Lake Pavillion.
8) As I understand it, one can get quite hot skating 7.8 km. Considering it is Ottawa in the winter how should one dress?
SR: Good question. All who have skated thru the years have seen changes in weather around every corner of the race. The wind can be blistering so hat and some form of scarf are always wise. Our advice is to dress up and shed if you have to. You are probably going to bring a bag or knapsack or something for your shoes, and make it a big one to put extra clothing in/out. The Aulde Dubliner/Pour House is open for Sunday brunch in case you need to look in the lost and found, btw.
9) We're going to be visiting Ottawa this winter and I just came across your race... How FUN!!!! We're bringing our one and three year-old daughters, can we include them? (if we push them on sleds down the Canal..)I guess that would be the Canadian equivalent of the baby jogger stroller!!! :-) Thanks, and good luck with your race!!!
-Stephanie, New Jersey
Bob Millar: Excellent question Stephanie, and thanks for sending it along! Can you bring the kids? Oh yes, absolutely you can and by all means spread the word! The Carleton Cup is all about the next generation and we are working hard on plans to make it a much more family friendly event in the future. In its infancy, we were just a bunch of university bozos, but now there are a number of us old-timers that have wee ones we want to make room for. There are non-alcoholic drinks available at the finish line which are there with families in mind, and children are more than welcome at our event. Over the years we have had quite a few families race with their kids, including newborns and unborn. . . . I think you might find a few of these folks have been hi-lighted as Carleton Cup "Pioneers". If you are a concerned parent and would like to have a better idea of what you might be in for, please write to us here.
PS: Sleds are a regular feature on them thair Canal and are available to rent.
10) What happens if I don't drink?
JK: Anything? You know that it's unhealthy to go without water for very long, right? The short answer is dehydration. Our event is a triathlon and the third segment of the race is "Drinking". Thus we do require you to 'drink' something in order to complete the race. Yes, traditionally people have finished the race by taking a swig from the Victory Quart of Labatt's 50. However, since 1994 (coincidentally, the year I went on-the-wagon) we have provided official "Carleton Cup Alternative Beverages" for all the teetotalers out there. If memory serves, last year this included bottled water, V8, pop, ying/yang harmony drink, "Guru", to name but a few. We do not force or require people to drink alcohol!!! The thing is, when you arrive at the finish line you're totally exhausted, so find a bevy on the judge's table and GET IT INTO YA!!!!! Water, juice, spittle, it no matter. Get it down and then get the hell out of the way for the next lady or feller right behind you!!!
11) What happens if the Rideau Canal isn't open yet?
B: Before I answer the "what if", I'd like to state that we have come up against climate change many times before. Just last year we had to cancel the Cup entirely due to Global Warming. The year before that, the canal was only open for a total of 5 days for the whole season and we were lucky enough to be one of those days. In both 1991 and 2002 we had to reschedule the race due to mild weather, and in 1995 the Canal opened for the season just 24 hours before strapping on the steel. Traditionally, when faced with a closed Canal in the past, we would look to reschedule the race to one of the two following Saturdays. However, due to the growth of our event this is no longer possible. If on the scheduled date the Canal is still not open, we will cancel the event and mourn for a period of 12 months. To be notified of what's going on weather-wise, make sure we have you on our mailing list, or follow us on Facebook and we will keep you up-to-date with the latest Canal conditions and news as we approach this year's race date. As a sidebar, if you would like to know more about our changing environment and what you can do to affect positive change go to: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/climate_change
12) How much time is needed to prepare the Rideau Canal for skating? How cold does it have to be? How thick is the ice on the Rideau Canal?
It takes about 10 to 14 consecutive days of cold weather (-15 oC to -20 oC) to get an ice surface safe for skaters. The ice must be at least 25 to 30 centimetres (10 to 12 inches) thick for skaters to be allowed on the Rideau Canal Skateway.
13) If the Rideau Canal is not open for skating yet, why don't we just rollerblade instead?
14) Who came up with the idea of the Carleton Cup?
-Jim, Moncton NB
JK: After our first year at Carleton I went to go visit Jonathon Cliff in Montreal during the Jazz Festival, summer '88. Those were heady times. One afternoon we sat on a patio on St. Denis and drank beer. I wanted to argue about the Velvet Underground, but Jonny kept steering the conversation back to the horrible Ottawa winters, and how he couldn't face another one. We talked about how the Rideau Canal was the one saving grace of the Ottawa winter, and Jon said he thought it'd be a good idea to start "a skating race or something" to help us all take our minds off the misery of winter. We talked of starting downtown and skating to Carleton, but that didn't seem to make much sense, so we reversed it. We hashed it out and by the time we left the bar that afternoon the Carleton Cup idea had been hatched pretty much as it exists today, name included (Jonny's idea). We ran our first race the next February, 1989.
15) I entered my first Cup last year and had a great time. You guys have a fantastic event going, and this year I'm bringing 3 of my friends with me. One question, though: have you ever thought about making the race bigger? Getting more people involved? What about letting some of the local TV. stations know about your event?
-Bill, Ottawa ON
SR: We have plans to take The Carleton Cup to the next level. In fact the plan has been in motion for a couple of years but has hit some snags: weather, people are busy, Adam and Jon making googly eyes at each other. The truth is that there is some great interest in the community, and our basic plan is the more people having fun means the more dough we can all raise for Cystic Fibrosis Canada. So yes, we are actively working on making the race a bigger event (btw, local tv station "the New RO" - now CTV - came on board as an official sponsor in 2003, and they aired original Carleton Cup television commercials for 3 consecutive years, all of which are available to view in the "History" section of this website).
16) I heard your web designer is from Sweden. This isn't really a Carleton Cup question, but is there any possible way he could introduce me to Howlin' Pelle Almqvist from the Hives? I think he's the sexiest guy alive.
-Hardcore Susie, Copenhagen, Denmark
Calle Johannesson: The Hives är ett band från Fagersta, en stad som ligger ganska nära Västerås som jag kommer från. Den enda kontakt jag haft personligen med Hives och Howlin' Pelle, är via deras tidiga EP's som vi recenserade i en tidning jag och ett par polare hade (Pie Mag), och självklart såg vi deras talang redan då och hypade dem så mycket vi kunde, fast till ingen nytta. Däremot senare blev de signade till Burning Heart records, samma bolag som mina polare Puffball ligger på, och de verkar känna varandra rätt bra, och jag tror att de turnerat ihop innan saker exploderade för Fagerstapojkarna. Om du är riktigt snäll mot mig kan jag se om jag kan åtminstone fixa Howlin' Pelles epostadress.
17) Does the skate on top of your trophy get washed every year or are there remnants of Labatt's 50 in there from, like, 15 years ago?
-Martha Smith, Walkerton ON
B: Yes and yes...........the skate does get an inspection and a good cleaning each and every year after the race. However, during this process it is customary to omit cleaning one area of the coveted vessel until the day of the race.......its interior. The inside of the skate has been washed exactly 26 times using alcohol (See Scott's answer below) and the discharge of this yearly cleanse is promptly deposited into the victor's gullet. One might think that this custom is less than hygienic, however as a species we have obviously developed a highly advanced immune system that can handle old booze (and the occasional dust bunny, toe jam or Christmas tinsel) without any complications. To date there have been no reports of infection resulting from the ingestion of said liquids/objects. In fact, after receiving a gulp of this festering goop champions seem to reach an immediate state of euphoria.
SR: Remnants? As fellow cupper Christine McCarthy, who is a real life CSI, tells us: "you can never fully clean-up a crime scene." So I am sure there is the odd leftover of our traditional champion-imbibing fluid, beer. But in an effort to ride the fine line between sanitization and purity, we spent the first 14 years cleaning the cup diligently with that same liquid. However the day before our 15th race as I sat waiting to be interviewed on the New RO I was face to face with what I thought was a tougher job of cleaning our grandiose trophy. Not one to don this task without consultation, I took to the phone lines to come up with a solution. Adam suggested Canadian Club, and after a quick vote we were unanimous. Although not beer, it was alcohol. It was stronger alcohol. And it was Canadian true and through. I need two airplane bottles of CC, Stat!! So a new tradition is born and will continue in hopes of keeping our Cup clean(er) and our cuppers free from infection. There is a picture of me cleaning the Cup on the “Builders” page in the Archives, and I even drank a little. I couldn't resist, but I don't think that that will be part of the tradition. Peas!
18) Your trophy only has one skate, where is the other one and who's was it?
B: Tough question and I'm not 100% sure but I believe the skate was granted to the Carleton Cup by one of the original racers Geoff Barbour who acquired it from a family member and generously passed it on during the off-season in 1989. Although I could be completely wrong and in fact it may actually be the first pair of skates Wayne Gretzky used in his backyard in Brantford Ontario. As to the whereabouts of its mate, for some reason I recall oldtimer John Castelhano was in possession of the sister skate.
19) I am seventy years old, a new member of the CCFF (we have two Grandchildren who were diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis last year). I skate the canal often and I use long-blade skates. I am not a speed skater. As a matter of fact I am quite slow. I have as much chance as a snowball in hell of winning a race. I bought my long-blade skates when I moved to Ottawa in order to be able to skate on the canal with a little more ease. I notice that one of your rules is no speed skates. Can you please tell me why. I would like to participate in the triathlon and I already have pledges in the amount of $170.00. I would not want to come all the way from Stittsville to find out that I cannot skate with my long-blade skates. I don't own another pair of skates. Please inform me if I will be able to wear my long-blade skates.
-Johanna Drake, Stittsville, Ontario
JK: Thanks for writing, Johanna. We implemented the "no speed skates" rule in 1991 to level the playing field, so to speak. In our first race we had a gentleman show up with speed skates, and he completely blew everybody away. By the time we'd reached Dow's Lake, a mere 500 metres into our race, the speed skater was out of sight! (This individual was none other than Canadian folk hero George "Bewlay" Shearer; please see his bio in the "Alumni" section of our website to find out how the story ends). However, there is no reason for you to have to buy new skates just to participate in the Carleton Cup. I think we'll have to change our rules so that any type of skates are allowed, but add a clause where skating with speedskates or "long-blades" thereby renders you ineligible to win the Cup. Anyway, please do come out and join us, and be sure to bring your 'long-blades'! [This clause was introduced at the 2004 Carleton Cup, and Johanna did indeed skate in the race with her long-blades!].
20) Is it true that Chris Murphy from Sloan skated in the Carleton Cup? How did you guys swing that?
-Roger, Prince Rupert BC
JK: Roger that. Chris Murphy is a well-known publicity hound. All we had to do to entice him was tell him that if he showed up and raced in the Cup, we in turn would take his picture and put it in the paper. He took the bait and skated in the 2002 Cup (and placed 8th!), and we made good on our promise too. Do you remember the early 90s bubblegum hit “Underwhelmed” where the singer informs us “I don’t smoke or drink”? Well, I guess sometimes art does imitate life. Old “pink lungs” himself came back the next year and gradually improved his performance in each subsequent Carleton Cup until, wait for it…….he actually won the race in 2005! Way to go, Chris!!! This was also the first time he ever drank beer, although he swears up and down he didn’t inhale.
Is Dean single?
-Tracy, Sudbury ON
JK: Dean exudes a certain rugged masculinity that has sent many a young lady's heart aflutter. Mine too, on occasion. You obviously have good taste. While I haven't looked at a newspaper today, it is my understanding that at present Dean is indeed single.
21) I hear there is some connection between Toronto's Festival of Beer and The Cup?
SR: Well, , beside the fact Jonny Knowles enjoys himself at both, I am a co-founder of TFOB and it’s my job to make sure everything runs safely and smoothly. Bottom line is my day job is running events. I have run over 30 Beer Festivals around Canada [including 4 consecutive Capital City Beer Festivals in Ottawa, 2001 – 04 R.I.P.], Blues Fests, Concerts, Sporting events, corporate events and over the last few years… The Junos. But although some might be impressed with beer and some with music…the standard to which I compare all events is still the Cup. It has it all. Beer. Music. Love. Vive la Cup!!
JK: You changed your answer and took out the Beer Farmer link? Where is my BEER FARMER link?!??
22) What's with your "Newsletter Nostalgia"??? It's all blurry and you can't read shit.
SR: I think we are changing it, but we might leave some up just because its fun to frustrate you and keep you guessing.
JK: Blurry, eh? Do you think it might be something in the tobacco you're smoking?
23) If I want to get a celebrity to wear a t-shirt for a picture what should I do?
SR: Contact me directly at: and I will probably give you a t-shirt in exchange for the pic, which will no doubt make it's way onto the site.
24) You know, in looking at your celebrities page it always seems to be the same thing, some guy holding up one of your t-shirts. What's with your t-shirt fetish, anyway? This is very 1980's, very two-dimensional. Do any of these so called "celebrities" even skate in your race? Have you ever considered doing something different to promote your race? Using some of today's technology and doing something a little more innovative? Some video footage at least?
-Ted Banks, Toronto ON
JK: You just reminded me, we actually had Mike Myers wear a Cup t-shirt on Saturday Night Live during the closing credits on two different occasions. He did so on February 20th, 1993 (guests were Bill Murray and Sting) and one month later, March 20th 1993 (guests were Miranda Richardson and Soul Asylum). We sadly do not have a record of this, and have been searching high and low for a video copy of either one of these auspicious events for years now. We have contacted NBC (with no luck) and recently I was in contact through Ebay with an American woman who did have a copy of one of the shows but her tape cut out before the closing credits and thus was no good to us! So please, if any of you out there in cyberspace can help us out here we would really appreciate it! Anyway, to answer your question. . . . It has always been our stated mandate to have the whole world clothed in Carleton Cup apparel. But what with a billion people in China alone, this truly does seem to be a daunting task. So in the meantime we are concentrating on a critical mass of worthy Canadians, people like your own good self. But enough foreplay, already. Are you trying to tell us you want a Carleton Cup t-shirt?
[Note: the footage of Mike Myers wearing a Carleton Cup t-shirt on Saturday Night Live has finally been obtained! To watch, please click here.]
25) I noticed that Celine Dion is the celebrity patron for Cystic Fibrosis Canada. Have you guys considered giving her a Carleton Cup t-shirt and putting her on your "Celebrities" page?
-Nadine, Dorval PQ
[No answers were submitted]
26) Are Bob and Jon brothers?
JK: No, but our parents are cousins.
B: They say that blood is thicker than water and although this might be true, I would have to say that when it comes to the Carleton Cup, ice is thicker than blood. Is Jon me brotha? I would have to say unequivocally YES! Toronto icon J. "Grassy" Knowles is my brother and although typically one would define us as "step-brothers", I beg to differ and drop the "step" distinction altogether.
If you have a Carleton Cup question that you don’t see covered on the FAQ page, please write to us HERE!