The Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race

Since its origin in 1974, the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR) has proven to be an exciting way for thousands of engineering students to exhibit their technical knowledge and ingenuity outside the classroom. Teams of undergraduate engineering students from universities across Canada design, construct and race a toboggan that is less than 300 pounds, has a concrete sliding surface, and is fitted with a braking apparatus and protective roll bar. These teams gather every winter to present their creations in what has grown to be the largest engineering student competition in the country.

Each winter, universities from across Canada are brought together by the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race and compete in this exciting and unique design competition that runs over four days.

The Final Push

On Race Day, each team heads to the slopes! It is here where all their hard work and combined expertise finally comes to the finish line, at the base of a long hill. The race is not merely about the fastest time down the hill, but also braking distance, steering and top speed. The Race Day events are open to the public, and we encourage everyone to come out and support the achievements of leading universities across Canada.

Attending Race Day is the best way to see the thrill of concrete toboggan and our University of Waterloo pride!

Five members from each team board their toboggan and push off down the hill to earn coveted awards including fastest toboggan and shortest braking distance. In 2009, there was a steering competition which required each team to slalom down the hill to reach the finish line. In 2010, there was a head-to-head, sudden death elimination race to compete for the King of the Hill title, its first time at the GNCTR.

The Technical Exposition

Each team creates a booth showcasing the important design elements of their toboggan, and the phases of work that were required to bring the team from race dreams to race day. A panel of professionals then reward teams for research and innovation in areas including safety, concrete mix design, and braking system design. The judging panel consists of experienced engineers from industry and academia.

The Spirit

Teams are encouraged to display their positive spirit throughout the competition by developing a theme for their team, complete with uniforms, slogans, dances, skits, and cheers. The teams with friendliest and most outgoing attitudes compete for the coveted Spirit Award! At the competition teams incorporate their selected theme into their costumes, tech exhibit and sled. Selection of our theme for 2014 is currently underway so stay tuned to find out what we decide on!

2009 Team Theme

University of Waterloo, GNCTR 2011 Team - Sled Necks
(theme based on Red Necks)

2009 Team Theme

University of Waterloo, GNCTR 2009 Team - Boggan Bears
(theme based on the Care Bears)

2008 Team Theme

University of Waterloo, GNCTR 2008 Champions - Waterloo911!
(theme based on Reno911! television show)