The largest gathering of tall ships to dock in the Port of Halifax in years has begun to arrive as the launch for Rendez-Vous 2017 (RDV 2017) Tall Ships Regatta took place today, July 28.
Led by Sail Training International, RDV 2017 Tall Ships Regatta is a transatlantic race of 7,000 nautical miles taking place over five months in 2017. It started at Royal Greenwich in Great Britain on April 13 and finishes in Le Havre, France, which will welcome the grand winner between Aug. 31 and Sept. 3.
Race stops have taken place in Portugal, Bermuda and Boston. Sail Training International race team chair, Doug Prothero helped launch the Halifax festival, the staging port for the final leg of the race.
“Halifax has long been an anticipated and memorable stop for crews because of its historic and world-renowned hospitality culminating with the iconic parade of sail,” said Mr. Prothero.
Nova Scotia will be visited by more than 30 tall ships from Germany, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Bermuda, Latvia, the U.S. and other countries. The public can visit the ships for free and meet the crews.
“We are excited to kick off the Halifax portion of this international regatta,” said acting president and CEO of host Waterfront Development, Jennifer Angel. “An international event of this size and scope wouldn’t be possible without the incredible support of many partners, sponsors, volunteers, staff and port communities.”
“This event will showcase our culture, celebrate our heritage, and provide an unforgettable experience for visitors to our port communities,” said Deputy Premier Karen Casey, on behalf of Premier Stephen McNeil. “Tall Ships are a signature event for our province and we look forward to welcoming sailors and visitors from around the world to our shores.”
The Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Innovative Communities Fund, is contributing $600,000 towards programming costs and marketing activities for 10 rural outports associated with the regatta.
“The Government of Canada is committed to making strategic investments in Canada’s growing tourism sector,” said Halifax MP Andy Fillmore, on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. “Ten port communities in Nova Scotia will welcome tall ships and their crews. This unique, high-season attraction will resonate with residents and visitors as it celebrates our maritime heritage while highlighting our hospitality and seafaring traditions.”
Since late June, the tall ships have been visiting Canadian ports as part of Canada 150 celebrations. The Halifax-Dartmouth events feature a number of events, much of it free, including:
— the CBC Entertainment Pavilion and pop-up stages, with entertainment including Natalie MacMaster and Symphony Nova Scotia
— Indigenous programming, including daily sunrise ceremonies
— Taste of Nova Scotia’s Food Fare by the Sea — a celebration of Nova Scotia food, drink, chefs, music and world-class seafood
— Parks Canada programming – including the Parks Canada Plaza where visitors can interact with costumed interpreters and watch cannon and rifle demonstrations
— Pirates Landing at Alderney Landing
— Picnic in the Parade – a community picnic in Grand Parade hosted by the Halifax Convention Centre, 1790 Argyle St., in support of Feed Nova Scotia, July 31, 8 to 10 a.m.
— The Blue Wave – Dalhousie University is inviting visitors to wear blue as they wave farewell to the tall ships fleet during the Parade of Sail at noon on Aug. 1.
— Fireworks – three consecutive nights of fireworks over Halifax Harbour with a Saturday night special show at 9:40 p.m. and Sunday and Monday night at 10 p.m.
For a complete list of Halifax and Dartmouth events, visit http://rdv2017ns.com/halifaxdartmouth/.
Following the Halifax stop, tall ships will make their way to Sydney, St. Peter’s, Louisbourg, Lunenburg, Shelburne, and Digby with a planned sail past in Annapolis Royal. For dates and programming visit http://rdv2017ns.com/the-event-schedule/.