The South Saskatchewan River is the place to be in Saskatoon as a three-day event is held celebrating the river and Canada 150.

Jack Walton, the producer of the event, is thrilled with how things are going so far.

“It’s a pilot project for an on-going festival,” he said, as the event kicked off Thursday. “To tie it into Canada 150, celebrating the rivers of Canada, it’s just so great.”

The event is a partnership with the larger 2017 Voyageurs Rendezvous — a 23-day, 1,600-kilometre canoe race, which is making its way from Rocky Mountain House, Alta. to Le Pas, Man., and is stopped in Saskatoon.

“We just want to take the opportunity to get people out on the river, and learn about the history of it,” said Molly Dema, national coordinator for the events. “Rivers connect us all as Canadians, and they are important to us, a sacred national resource that must be stewarded into the future.”

The Saskatoon River Rendezvous 150 Festival featured a canoe sprint race on Thursday. The six-canoe race gave viewers a small taste of what the bigger Voyageurs Rendezvous has to offer.

One of the men taking part in the Rendezvous is Dean McCallum, who has dreamed of taking part in the event. He’s had to wait, as it only happens once every 50 years.

“It’s an honor, as an Indigenous man, to be on the river, and see how our ancestors travelled. To see the different sides of the provinces, it’s been tough, brutal, but a lot of fun.”

The smaller Saskatoon event wraps up on July 15, while the cross-Canada Voyageurs Rendezvous ends July 23.