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The Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR) is an annual event that challenges the innovation and technical skills of engineering students. The event is the longest and largest running engineering student competition across Canada.  The competition originated in 1974 and was organized by Dr. S. H. Simmonds, president of the Alberta chapter of the American Concrete Institute with four Alberta schools competing in the inaugural event. Since then, the competition has grown to host 450+ students from 20+ universities and technical schools all across Canada, as well as entries from educational institutions internationally.

Each competition host is determined through a vigorous bidding application determined by the previous competition's Organizing Committee. The host location alternates across Canada each year between East to West, using the Ontario/Manitoba border as the dividing line. This year, competitors will make history as they pack their bags and head East for the first time as St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador will host the 2024 competition. The 2024 competition will be the event's 50th anniversary. 

Teams competing at GNCTR are required to design and construct a toboggan with concrete running surface(s), a roll cage, and mechanical steering and braking systems that combine to safely glide the toboggans down a steep snow-covered hill. The toboggans are to weigh less than 350 pounds and be able to hold 5 competitors. Each competing team must submit technical and safety reports which they will present during Technical Exhibition Day, as well as complete three downhill race courses; the first two testing their braking and steering performances and the final being a King of the Hill battle: a head-to-head bracketed tournament. Spirit is a major component of the competition, where teams traditionally select a theme for their toboggan. Teams often indulge in their theme and incorporate it into their toboggan design/aesthetics and wear costumes in line with the theme. Throughout the event, teams are judged on their technical, safety, racing, and spirit. At the conclusion of the event, awards are presented for excellence in a number of different aspects of the competition with one team ultimately crowned champion as the best overall entry.

About the Competition

About St. John's

St. John's; Newfoundland and Labrador's capital city; a vibrant, historic, colourful, and contemporary city 500 years young. It is the perfect combination of big-city luxury and traditional small-town charm. It is one of the oldest and most easterly cities in North America and has become a rare destination full of character and charisma with a contemporary, sophisticated edge.

Wander down the narrow, criss-crossing streets that are naturally carved by horse and carriage, and pass through the colourful jellybean row houses that are wedged together; visit Quidi Vidi, the charming fishing village within a city, which embodies the spirit of old outport Newfoundland; and venture up to Signal Hill where tiny colourful wooden homes cling valiantly to cliffsides ravaged by ocean waves. From Cabot Tower, you can gaze over the cliffs and harbour to see a captivating skyline of a major Canadian city seemingly frozen in time. As you explore the city you will walk along some of the oldest streets in North America and be exposed to what some refer to as the most creative city on the continent. 

Most importantly, in St. John's, courteous and lively people will treat you as friends – willing to send you in the right direction, help you on your way, or even take you there. The people are always happy to tell a tale, no matter how tall, just to make you smile. It is a place where everyone is already best friends.

We can't wait to welcome you, our best friends, to our city. 

Are you curious to have your school participate in GNCTR but don't know where to start?

Start here! 






Read through the above GNCTR 2024 Info Package to learn more about the competition and how you can join in. We have laid out three options for you to choose from to start your school's GNCTR experience depending on the level of interest and participation:

1. Fully participating as a competing team

2. Partially participating as a non-competing team

3. Sending delegates to observe

Our intention is for new teams to choose the option best suited for their school that allows them to attend GNCTR 2024 to learn how the competition works with the goal of full participation in 2025 and beyond.


From student development and engineering design to school spirit and meeting other students from across the country, GNCTR is a rewarding and fun experience that we want to share with all - especially our Atlantic Canadians friends!

Are You New to GNCTR?

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