I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky
All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.
-Poet Laureate John Masefield
The Tall Ships Festival is returning to Nova Scotia this year, making this year a really great year to visit! I love the Tall Ships Festival for the excitement and majesty it brings. Here are my top 10 reasons why you'll love them too!
10. The energy they bring: I love the Halifax Waterfront in the summer. On a sunny day, it's dotted with sail boats sailing around the harbour. Walking along the boardwalk, grabbing an ice cream from Cows or Sugah, stopping at the vendors and smiling at the people... it's a great place to be. When the Tall Ships are in, it's even better! You can feel the excitement in the air. There is so much to see and from so many vantage points. You can spend the whole day soaking in the sights.
9. They are celebrated around the province: With stops all along our coast, you can witness these beautiful ships in ports both big and small. There are planned stops in Lunenburg, Shelburne, Pictou, Port Hawkesbury and Pugwash. Each town will have its own festivities, each experience a little different. You can explore the town as well as witness these spectacular ships along the dock.
8. Ships and crew from all over the world: More than 40 ships from 30 countries will visit Halifax. It's great to meet the people who sail these ships from all over the world. It's a chance to celebrate our cultures and learn a little more about the people and what they've experienced on their adventures.
7. Activities for the whole family: Nautical displays and art exhibits, historical re-enactments, children's activities, musical performances - there's a lot to take in for the whole family! The kids will love seeing Theodore Too!
6. Pirates: Yes, pirates. With all these beautiful ships, it's not uncommon to see this surly bunch entertaining the crowds.
5. History: This festival reflects our proud seafaring history - the days when our racing schooner, the Bluenose, sailed the ocean, fishing and racing. For over 17 years of racing, the first Bluenose had no challenger. Today we have her replica, the Bluenose II, currently undergoing a rebuild. Though she won't be ready to attend the festival this year, you can visit her in Lunenburg and see the progress that's being made.
In the meantime, you will still be able to learn about the seafaring past of many other tall ships that have raced around the world. In addition to demonstrating maritime history, this festival also commemorates the war of 1812. Four sailing vessels from the period will be berthed at Queen's Wharf and there will be historical re-enactments throughout the event.
4. Tall Ships Challenge: The challenge is a series of training races that add a little more excitement to the event. When the ships head out to sea, there's a friendly rivalry and a competitive spirit among the sailors as they race from port to port. Learn about the participating vessels and root for your favourite.
3. The Food: You'll find spectacular seafood and local cuisine all along the waterfront. Whether you're grabbing an order of fish and chips along the boardwalk or sitting out on a restaurant patio, we promise our food is a hidden treasure. Stop into some of the amazing restaurants and pubs along the waterfront or take in a treat from a local vendor.
2. Come Sail Away: Not only can you witness these majestic ships up close, you might have the chance of a lifetime to sail on one. Many will offer cruises around the harbour - you can sit back, relax, and let the ocean breeze blow through your hair.
1. The Parade of Sails: Everyone loves a parade, especially when that parade is a line up of magnificent ships at full mast gliding past you. It is a captivating sight. Watch a clip of parades past and be sure to be there for the full experience. It will take your breath away.