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Established in 1992, the prestigious Brown Cup race between the powerhouse University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia runs annually in the last week of March.

Conceived as a friendly rivalry between coaches Howard Campbell of UVic and Joe Dowd of UBC, the first race was raced on the Gorge Waterways in 1991, with women's crews beginning racing in 1992. 

In 2011, a reserve race was introduced on the same course as the Brown Cup. Named the Campbell-Dowd cup, the race honours founding coaches Joe Dowd and Howie Campbell.​

The format of the race is a dual style head-to-head race where two crews start side by each and race the best line. The Brown Cup races have become a fixture in the Canadian rowing calendar and one of the most prestigious sporting events in the Pacific Northwest, also gaining a worldwide viewership on race day.


The Brown Cup Trophy was donated to the event by Bruce and Dorothy Brown on May 1st, 1993. The trophy travels to and from every event but resides permanently in the UVic Walk of Excellence located in the Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA). The trophy holds the record of each member of victorious crews throughout the year. Over the years, four layers have been added to the trophy and it has taken on legendary proportions.

In the late 2000's the Brown Cup was able to introduce the Reserve Race for the second ranked eight. This race is now a fixture in the event.  The Joe Dowd and Howie Campbell Cup was introduced in 2014 and names of the Reserve crews were listed there.


As the Brown Cup is on permanent display in CARSA, the winning crew is awarded the Brown Cup Oar which travels to and from the winning boathouse annually.  Each oar has the original colour scheme of the UBC and UVic oars on either side and thus allows the winning crew to display their colours when the oar comes home.  

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The race has been run on both the Gorge Waterway in Victoria and the Fraser River in Richmond. Historic times tend to vary as the course has changed over the years. 


Recent efforts to stabilize a neutral course has moved the course to the Victoria inner harbour for a five-year period. 

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