According to Dan Drummond, a troop leader with 1st
Aylmer, a scout leader named Bob May of Cascades, QC started the Klondike Derby
around 1965. At that time, Scouter Bob was a leader with the
8th Ottawa-1st Hull Scout Group; scouts from both sides of
the Ottawa river were based in a church basement on Principale Street in Hull.
The church is still there and is located near Les Terrasses de la Chaudiere
complex. Another scouter -- John Waddell of 98th Ottawa -- was also involved
with the creation of this now popular annual event.
Historically, the event has been held mostly on the Quebec side
because of its more adventurous terrain, near places such as Luskville, Rupert,
Chelsea and Buckingham. The event has always been run in February, usually under
blue skies and on abundant snow. However, Scouter Dan recalls one year's event
in Chelsea when there was no snow, just mud and water. The scouting spirit
prevailed, though, and the scouts were prepared to do their best.
It would seem that Leaders started this event to fill a gap in
the program at this time of the year, to get the scouts outdoors between camping
trips. The competition gives the scouts the chance to put to practice and
sharpen (or show off) all the skills they have been learning. This includes
teamwork. Leaders are able to evaluate the effectiveness of their instruction
through this competition. The daylong event finishes off with a full-uniformed
banquet where trophies and awards are handed out to the winners.
It is interesting to note that there are current Scout Leaders
in Heritage district who participated in Klondike Derbys when they were scout-aged
youth themselves. Dan Drummond, now with over 40 years of scouting,
says when asked what he enjoys most about this amazing event, "I enjoy seeing
the kids having fun".