TORONTO – TRAVEL – Headed to Toronto for Canada Day? You can celebrate Canada Day weekend at the Redpath Waterfront Festival (RWF) presented by PortsToronto. In HTO Park tour El Galeón, an early colonial Spanish ship and floating museum with 5 decks of exhibits, Draken Harald Hårfagre, the largest reconstruction of a Viking ship built in modern times, and the Pride of Baltimore II, an 1812-era schooner.
Harbour Square Park will have four additional ships docked: O Canada, an around the world, one person, racing yacht, and three Brigantines: St. Lawrence II (Kingston), TS Playfair (Toronto), and STV Pathfinder (Toronto). This year the RWF will span the waterfront from HTO Park in the west to Harbour Square Park at the foot of Bay St. and welcome for the first time the Royal Canadian Navy. Additional programming will include the Waterfront Artisan Market, the Ultimutts Stunt Dog Show and entertainment throughout the entire festival footprint. Visitors will also be able to check out live music, dance demos, live art and buskers at theSimcoe and Rees WaveDecks and take in the beauty of the Grand Finale Parade of Sail. General admission to the festival is FREE with a nominal charge for ship deck tours.
HARBOUR SQUARE PARK IS HOME TO THE ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY AND PARKS CANADA
Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the decks of two of the Navy’s 55-metre Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Kingston and Goose Bay throughout the weekend for FREE. Early risers can come to Harbour Square Parkand join the Navy for a fun and motivating 5km run along the Martin Goodman Trail, July 1 and 2 at 8:30 a.m. Then test your fitness levels at the Ship Shape Obstacle Course which happens all weekend. Crews from the participating ships will compete against each other and the Navy as well as Toronto Fire, Toronto Police, The Argo Cheerleaders and more. Two selected Navy Chefs will compete in the Urban Fresh Navy Cook Off on Saturday July 2 in Harbour Square Park from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. These Naval Chefs, one from each coast, will go head-to-head in a heated competition judged by a panel of experts including past Masterchef Canada winner,Chef Eric Chong.
In addition to the Royal Canadian Navy, Parks Canada will also be located in Harbour Square Park. Learn about the spectacular underwater vistas of hundreds of rivers, lakes, and thousands of kilometres of coastlines in Canada. Take an arctic dip or paddleboard on the Great Lakes with their Green Screen Photo Booth, or learn about the northern discoveries of the Franklin shipwreck. Kids can enjoy airbrush spray tattoos and getting their photo taken with Parks Canada’s mascot.
ENCOUNTER POP-UP ENTERTAINMENT ALONG THE WATERFRONT ON THE WAVEDECKS
Bringing the best entertainment to the waterfront, Toronto street performers will engage and amaze on the Rees and Simcoe WaveDecks with fun and interactive shows all weekend. Get ready for nonstop entertainment on the Argos Stage in HTO Park as each star ship showcases their country’s heritage through various scheduled performances.
K-9, THE ULTIMUTTS STUNT DOG SHOW AT PURINA PAWSWAY
Returning for a second year, the Ultimutts Stunt Dog Show features more than 50 incredible and hilarious tricks including: tightrope walking, handstands, skateboarding, piano playing, balancing acts and more.
TOUR HISTORIC SHIPS AND SHOP THE WATERFRONT ARTISAN MARKET IN HTO PARK
More than 1,000 years after Vikings landed in Newfoundland, a courageous crew of sailors from around the world have returned toCanada after a harrowing trip across the North Atlantic. On Sunday April 26, the world’s largest Viking ship, Draken Harald Hårfagre, left her homeport in Haugesund, Norway on a journey that took her to Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland and Quebec on her way to the Redpath Waterfront Festival where she will be available for tours. Draken is crewed by 32 sailors from Norway, Sweden, USA,Canada, Estonia, Russia, Spain, France and the UK, all of who were chosen from over 4,000 male and female applicants worldwide. Draken Harald Hårfagre is 114 ft long and has an oak hull, a Douglas fir mast, hemp rigging and a 260 square metre silk sail. If there is not enough wind, Draken Harald Hårfagre is equipped with 50 oars that take two oarsmen per oar to row.
Step back in time aboard a breathtaking 1:1 scale reconstruction of a 16th century Spanish galleon that was part of Spain’s West Indies fleet. Built in Spain by the Nao Victoria Foundation to be a unique vessel where tradition and modernity meet and represent the Spanish culture, El Galeón is a replica of the Spanish galleons that linked Asia, America and Spain for three centuries. With more than 3,400 square feet, the ship has five decks to explore, 164 ft long and has three masts and seven sails.
Built in Baltimore’s inner harbour, Pride of Baltimore II was commissioned in 1988 as a sailing memorial to her immediate predecessor, which is a reproduction of an 1812-era topsail schooner. Distinguished from other topsail schooners of the time by its backward-raked masts, the Baltimore Clippers had the speed and agility to outmaneuver the heavier ships of the Royal Navy. Pride of Baltimore II has sailed nearly 200,000 miles and visited over 200 ports in 40 countries in North, South, and Central America, Europe, and Asia. The Pride of Baltimore II has a sail area of 9,018 sq. ft. and is 157 ft long.
After the resounding success at RWF last year, the Waterfront Artisan Market (WAM) presented by The Waterfront BIA in partnership with Toronto Market Company, returns to HTO Park with a carefully curated mix of 50 top local artisans, crafters, chefs and bakers. Browse and shop for finely crafted jewelry, unique works of art, delicious foods and artisanal gifts. Those who are looking to discover food will find more than 20 cook on-site food vendors.
WATCH THE GRAND FINALE PARADE OF SAIL
On July 3, the final day of the festival, there will be a Grand Finale Parade of Sail at 4:00 p.m. with all participating ships plus unique local vessels. The ships will tour the harbour and then sail along Toronto’s dock wall from west to east. Previous RWF Parade of Sails have attracted hundreds of thousands of spectators along the entire stretch of Toronto’s waterfront.
2016 Redpath Waterfront Festival partners include Redpath Sugar, PortsToronto, The Waterfront BIA, Toronto Argonauts, Canada Newswire, Sobeys Urban Fresh, Beck Taxi, Bell Media and Toronto Star among others.
The Redpath Waterfront Festival is an annual summer event providing on-land and on-water programming for people of all ages and interests, with the goal of promoting Toronto locally and internationally as a premiere waterfront destination. With music, food, nautical programs and entertainment, the festival offers something for everyone to enjoy. Every three years, the event welcomes majestic TALL SHIPS® to Toronto. www.TOwaterfrontfest.com