Dominion Diamond Corporation is returning as the title sponsor of the Canadian Championship Dog Derby set to take place alongside Yellowknife’s Long John Jamboree.

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The derby, which spans 240 kilometers over three days on Great Slave Lake, is one of the oldest sled dog races in North America.

The first Canadian Championship Dog Derby was held in 1955 when dog sledding was still a primary method of transportation.

Dominion Diamond Corporation CEO Brendan Bell.

The fate of the annual derby was very much in the air heading into last year’s event before Dominion ‘saved the day’ by providing funding.

“Dominion is proud to continue our partnership as the title sponsor of the Canadian Championship Dog Derby, a Yellowknife tradition dating back over 60 years,” said Dominion CEO Brendan Bell in a statement.

The race is meant to reflect the evolution of dog sledding from the heritage of the trapline to a modern sporting event.

Grant Beck, president of the Canadian Championship Dog Derby, added: “Dog sledding is an essential element of our culture and heritage in the North.

“It is sponsorship like this that keeps the sport of dog sledding alive and allows this race to continue for future generations.”

It wasn’t immediately clear how much Dominion – which owns 80 per cent of the Ekati diamond mine and 40 per cent of Diavik – is contributing to the derby.

The race will once again coincide with Yellowknife’s Long John Jamboree. This year’s winter festival will take place between Mar. 24 and Mar. 26 on Yellowknife Bay.