More than 2,000 competitors, trainers and fans are in town this week for the Tilsonberry Farms Canadian Sprint Canoe Championships. The national championships, which got underway on Wednesday at Rainbow Park and Alta Lake, continue through to Sunday, Aug. 23 when the Masters championships wind up the event. This is the first time the national championships have been held in Western Canada and the event is expected to spark interest in the sports of kayaking and canoeing. The relatively new Whistler and Pemberton clubs are an example. The popularity of canoeing and kayaking across the country may be seen in the crowds of people at Rainbow Park this weekend. There is no public parking at Rainbow Park this weekend because of the championships. People wishing to visit the park are advised to walk, ride a bike or take the bus. Alta Lake was selected by Canoe Racing B.C. to host the championships because of its ideal water temperature, wind protection and surface texture. The provincial championships were held two weeks ago and Canoe Racing B.C. hopes to host more national and international events at Alta Lake in the future. Races Aug. 21 include the 1000 m and juvenile war canoe finals. Saturday, Aug. 22 the 500 m and 200 m finals and war canoe finals will be held. On Sunday, Aug. 23 the Canadian Masters Championships are scheduled. Races take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except Aug. 21, when races will continue to 8 p.m.