Tall ships return to Halifax

After docking in the Halifax harbour Monday morning, the Simon Bolivar is the first among many tall ships set to make a stop along the city’s waterfront this year.

By Nicole Halloran

The Simon Bolivar is docked next to Murphy's Restaurant on the Halifax waterfront (Nicole Halloran photo)

The Simon Bolivar is the first among many tall ships set to make a stop along the city’s waterfront this year.

The ship was welcomed by members of the local Venezuelan community and by several others who were present for the ship’s arrival.

The Simon Bolivar is in Halifax on a training mission from Venezuela. The ship will be docked in the harbour until March 24.

The Simon Bolivar is allowing the public to tour it and will continue to do so for the rest of the week. Young training crew members answered questions and showed dozens of people around the vessel.

Kelly Rose, Communications Advisor for the Halifax Waterfront Development Corporation, said their partnership with the Navy makes it possible to bring the tall ships to the public.

“The Visiting Ships Program is designed to bring tall ships to the region, to this port,” said Rose. “The idea is to bring them more up this end … where it’s quite open to the public and accessible.”

The training ship's crew is welcoming the public aboard for the duration of its docking (Nicole Halloran photo)

The ship is docked next to Murphy’s Restaurant, which is considered a central location on the Halifax waterfront.

“The nice part is they dock on the more public part of the waterfront so people look at it as an opportunity to take photos and get on board and meet the crew,” said Rose.

Rose added that the ship is likely to bring more business to the waterfront because people get excited about the nice weather and come to the harbour.

Captain Anibal Brito said he hopes to get to know the city before the ship departs. He’s never been to Halifax but his ship was here in 1995.

“It was a long time since the last time we were here,” said Brito.

At the time, the Simon Bolivar was the winner of the regatta.

Laura (left), Brennan, Andrew, and Jaden MacDonald take a tour of the Simon Bolivar Monday afternoon. The family is visiting from PEI. (Nicole Halloran photo)

The ship’s stop in Halifax was a decision made by the government of Venezuela but Brito said the crew is happy to be here.

“Every year, the organization plans a trip around the world, making stops along America, Europe, and this year, Canada,” said Brito.

The Waterfront Development Corporation is responsible for planning the tall ships events that take place in Halifax every summer.

Rose said this year visitors can expect to see a theme centred on the best of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotian art, food, music, and history will be on display with the ships from July 19 to the 29th.

“Something that’s a little bit different this year is the war of 1812. It’s the 200th anniversary so you’ll see a lot of that flavour throughout all different types of programming across the country.”

Visitors can expect more information to be released about the 2012 Tall Ships Festival in the coming weeks.

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Kelly Rose discusses bringing ships to the Halifax waterfront and the 2012 Tall Ships Festival