Tall Ships In Toronto Harbour – July 2016

Previous Toronto Post: Sakura Hanami: Viewing High Park’s Cherry Blossoms

CN Tower and Harbourfront area

For the three days of Canada Day weekend (July 1-3) the Toronto harbourfront hosted a number of boats associated with the Tall Ships America Challenge, an annual celebration of sailing vessels from the pre-Industrial Age. Each year the venues change from ports on the Pacific or Atlantic coasts or in the Great lakes region.  2016 was the turn of the Great Lakes to host the ships. The map below shows this year’s ports of call.

Tall Ships Map With 2016 Stops

Tall Ships Map With 2016 Stops

I cycled down to the waterfront from the east end of the Martin Goodman Trail early on a blue sky Sunday morning.  I was keen on getting some photos of three of the main ships before the crowds started arriving. It would be their last day here before they sailed on to their next port.

The ships were on display at HTO Park, just a bit west of the Harbourfront Centre.

Toronto Harbourfront and Islands

Toronto Harbour is on the southern edge of downtown and is sheltered from Lake Ontario by the Islands and to the east by the Leslie Street Spit. At the western end of the harbour is the increasingly busy Billy Bishop Airport. In the pix below the CN Tower and the Rogers Center, the home of the Blue Jays, are visible, as are some of the many condo towers that have popped up in the past decade or two.

kayakers iat the foot of the CN Towerr

kayakers at the foot of the CN Tower

Toronto CN Tower and beach area by the ships

I got there at 8:45 and as the pix above show, there were not too many people around yet.  I figured I’d get a few side shots of the ships, pick up my entry ticket at 9:30 and get in line for the first of them – the Viking longship  Draken Harald Härfagre. 

the Canadian canoe and the stern of the Viking longship

Next to the waterfront where the Tall Ships were on display is a boat rental area, still fairly quiet when I arrived.  A couple of hours later it was a different story! In the photo above are a couple of replicas of the canot du nord, a staple of the fur trade in the 1700’s; also visible is the back end of the Viking longship I had come to see.  It had sailed from Norway in early May and, having retraced the path that the Viking explorers took 1000 years ago to reach Newfoundland,  it was sitting here!

Viking battle shields draped over the side of the Draken Harald Härfagre

Viking battle shields draped over the side of the Draken Harald Härfagre

the Draken Harald Härfagre - the back end

the Draken Harald Härfagre – the back end

detail of rear carving - Draken Harald Harfagre

detail of rear carving – Draken Harald Harfagre

the stern of the Draken Harald Harfagre

the stern of the Draken Harald Harfagre

the ravens of the Draken Harald Harfagre

the ravens of the Draken Harald Harfagre

The above photo shows two sculptures depicting  Huginn and  Muginn, two birds from Norse myth who roam the world and bring information back to the revered god  Óðinn (the Anglo-Saxon Woden).

the front of the Viking longboat

the front of the Viking longship

For particulars on the 115′ long Viking longship, see here. The boat, named the Draken Harald Harfagre (Dragon Harald Fairhair), also has a Wikipedia entry (here) that provides its history and its sailing route.

inside the Viking longship

Viking Ship dragon head on the front end

Viking Ship dragon head on the prow

Next to the longship was a full-scale reconstruction of a Spanish galleon, El Galeón. While the Viking ship had one simple square sail, the Spanish vessel was an elaborate, multi-decked ship with three masts and hectares of sail! Lineups to get on board the ships were long. I waited a half hour to be among the first group of 15 to board the Viking ship and then spent another 45 minutes in the lineup for El Galeón.

Viking longship dragon head and Spanish galleon's crow's nest

Viking dragon head prow meets El Galeon’s crow’s nest

Seeing these ships sitting at rest with their sails down is like looking at the skeletons of beautifully-proportioned models and knowing there is way more to them!  Here are some web-sourced photos of the ships in all their glory with their sails billowing in the wind.

draken harald harfagre

ElGaleon-1-800x550

a view of the Viking longboat from the Spanish galleon

three boats on the shores of Lake Ontario

El Galeón - a full scale reprodution of a 16th C Spanish galleon

El Galeón – a full-scale reproduction of a 16th C Spanish galleon

El Galeon deck view

El Galeon deck view

El Galeon and its cannons

El Galeon and its cannons

See here for the story of El Galeón.

poop deck - rear of Spanish galleon

poop deck – rear of the Spanish galleon

Pride-II-Sailing

The Pride of Baltimore II in full sail – see here for image source

2016Jul3_PrideandDrakeninToronto_creditJohnHerd-1024x683

Pride of Baltimore II & Draken Harald Hårfagre Departing Redpath Waterfront Festival 2016 -photo credit to John Herd…see here for source

The Pride of Baltimore II schooner

The Pride of Baltimore II - prow

The Pride of Baltimore II – prow

Pride of Baltimore - ropes at rest

Pride of Baltimore – ropes at rest

the deck of the Pride of Baltimore II

The story and details of the Pride of Baltimore – I and II – are provided in this Wikipedia article. (See here.)

a rear view of the Pride of Baltimore at the TallShips Toronto event 2016

a rear view of the Pride of Baltimore at the Tall Ships Toronto event 2016

a working boat - the Toronto harbour's fire resue boat

a working boat – the Toronto harbour’s fire rescue boat

The Caledonia - docked at Toronto lakefront

The Caledonia – docked at Toronto lakefront

 

Toronto Harbourfront view with the CN Tower

Toronto harbourfront view with the CN Tower

Toronto Harbourfront late Sunday morning - no longer quiet

Toronto harbourfront late Sunday morning – no longer quiet

Walking around with a camera in the town I live in is something I should do more often!  I spent an enjoyable morning seeing some incredible ships and taking in the lively vibe of a Toronto waterfront that has changed dramatically for the better over the past forty years that I have lived nearby and walked and cycled its paths.

I was not born in Toronto but ended up here after teacher’s college and my first teaching job.  In a country where Toronto is often the butt of jokes – and occasional target of downright contempt – by Canadians in other towns and provinces, I used to say things like – “I’m from Toronto…but I wasn’t born there” as if that would earn me a measure of acceptance!  The day  I stopped bothering to apologize was the day I knew I  really was from T.O.!  And on mornings like this sunny one on the harbourfront,  I have to think – this is one great city to be a part of! I’m lucky to have made it my home.

Tall Ships Toronto July 2016 - line up for the Viking longboat

looking back at the Tall ships - Toronto harbour 2016

rental water craft on Toronto waterfront

 

Another Toronto-related Post: Checking Out Downtown Toronto’s Street Art

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4 Responses to Tall Ships In Toronto Harbour – July 2016

  1. Vineca Gray says:

    Great story! I just returned from the harbour, a great destination to recharge the cerebral batteries, I might add! The Caldonia is still docked, a beautiful ship. Do you know anything more about it? Cheers! Vineca

    • true_north says:

      Vineca – we live in a city with all sorts of neat stuff happening but occasionally we have to step out of the usual groove we’re in to see that. Picking up my camera and setting off from home for a half day helps me shift into that frame of mind.

      Re: the Caledonia. Check out this web page for more info –

      http://privateeryachtsales.com/caledonia.shtml

      If you’re interested it is for sale at $5,500,000 – though I’m sure some hard bargaining will save you a $100,000 or more! Good luck! And maybe that $5.5 is CDN so it is even cheaper!

      • Vineca Gray says:

        Thank you for this link. The offer is irresistible. When I win the 6/49 lottery, would you be interested in a Captain’s role? We could sail the St. Lawrence just in time for Canada 150 in 2017 😉

      • true_north says:

        As we passed through Ottawa the billboards were already promoting Ottawa 150! When I was 16 – that would be in 1967 – my parents let me go to Montreal for Expo ’67 on my very own – my very first independent adventure! And now it is a half-century later. Yikes!

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