Monday, July 5, 2010

Transport: The Parade of Sail

There was a traffic jam in the western gap, the entrance to Toronto Harbour, as pleasure craft maneuvered near the HMS Bounty replica and a Porter Airlines Q400 aircraft took off on 4-July-2010

TORONTO, ONTARIO - There was entirely too much to do in Toronto yesterday. The annual Pride parade was taking place in the eastern portion of downtown, the CHIN International Picnic was going on at Exhibition Place, the Queen's Plate horse race was going on just outside town at Woodbine (with the Queen actually in attendance!), and a wide variety of "normal" activities like Heritage Toronto walks and neighbourhood events (including the well-attended Corso Italia Festival) were going on as well.

Two schooners met in the western gap, as the outbound Wisconsin-based Denis Sullivan passed the locally-based Kajama returning to Toronto Harbour on 4-July-2010

Out of all the options available, I decided that the thing for me to do was to attend the Parade of Sail which served as the conclusion to the Toronto Waterfront Festival. Fourteen tall ships took a tour around Toronto Harbour and then those not based locally headed out the western gap for their next stop in Cleveland, Ohio. While Ontario Place sold tickets for their grandstand viewing area and the ticket of the day was probably on the ferry Trillium which headed out of the harbour as a viewing platform, there were plenty of free viewing locations, and I found one east of Ontario Place across from the Island Airport.

In a rare escape from Toronto Harbour into the open waters of Lake Ontario, Toronto's 1910 steam ferry Trillium was loaded with spectators for the Parade of Sail on 4-July-2010

Quite possibly the most significant ship in the fleet was the Brig Niagara. When it was built during the War of 1812 in Erie, Pennsylvania, it would not have been welcome in Toronto (er, York) or anywhere else in Canada; it was at one point the sole US warship on Lake Erie. Fully restored and still operating out of Erie, it spent most of US Independence Day participating in the Toronto festival.

The Brig Niagara had been constructed to serve as a United States vessel on Lake Erie during the War of 1812, but peacefully visited Toronto, Ontario on 4-July-2010

Other notable vessels included an East German logging vessel converted to a sailing ship, a clipper ship owned by the city of Baltimore, Maryland, and my personal favorite, the 99-year old bark Europa. Hailing from the Netherlands, the Europa was the tallest ship in attendance with an interesting history starting as a lightship and most recently, since 1994, as a world traveler.

The bark Europa from the Netherlands had been built in 1911 as a lightship, but was still sailing across oceans to be in the Parade of Sail in Toronto, Ontario on 4-July-2010

As the visiting ships headed off to the Welland Canal to take the lift to Lake Erie, the Toronto-based vessels passed back through the western gap into the harbour, ending an entertaining afternoon called the Parade of Sail.

No comments: