Take a hop around the har­bour

Fa­mous Har­bour Hop­pers could be com­ing to Syd­ney har­bour

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - TOURISM BY JEREMY FRASER

A fa­mous tourist at­trac­tion in Halifax may soon find it­self hop­ping har­bours to Syd­ney come the end of the sum­mer.

At­lantic Am­bas­sa­tours Ltd., a Halifax-based com­pany, is hop­ing to ex­pand its busi­ness by putting its Har­bour Hop­pers am­phibi­ous ve­hi­cles in Syd­ney for the months of Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber to co­in­cide with tourism sea­son on the is­land.

The com­pany has ap­plied to the Nova Sco­tia Util­ity and Re­view Board for ap­proval to have the am­phibi­ous tours in Syd­ney for the two-month pe­riod.

Terri MacCul­loch, com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager for Am­bas­sa­tours, said the com­pany is hop­ing for a pos­i­tive out­come with its ap­pli­ca­tion.

“If we get ap­proved we will be in Syd­ney for sure,” she said. “It’s just pend­ing ap­proval at this point, and our in­ten­tion is to come.”

The Har­bour Hop­pers are pop­u­lar with tourists and lo­cals in Halifax.

The am­phibi­ous ad­ven­ture show­cases the city by land and sea, tak­ing peo­ple to places of in­ter­est such as Ci­tadel Hill Na­tional His­toric Site, the Vic­to­rian Public Gar­dens, and St. Paul’s Church, to name a few.

The tour con­tin­ues through the down­town core of Halifax be­fore mak­ing a slash into Halifax har­bour. The cruise con­tin­ues in the wa­ter, pass­ing Ge­orge’s Is­land light­house, the Halifax wa­ter­front boardwalk, his­toric prop­er­ties as well as the Mar­itime Mu­seum of the At­lantic.

The tour is fully nar­rated with top­ics such as the Halifax Explosion as well as the his­tory of the naval dock­yards in Halifax.

“There are cer­tainly lots of de­mand for Har­bour Hop­pers in ports in our re­gion, but we’ve had Syd­ney on our radar for a while as a place where we would like to bring the hop­pers,” said MacCul­loch. “I know the city has been very keen to have us there — it’s like a match of our abil­i­ties with the city’s in­ter­est.”

The com­pany hopes to have two Har­bour Hop­pers in Syd­ney. They will be made avail­able to the public and tourists when cruise ships are docked, pend­ing ap­proval by the NSUARB.

MacCul­loch said the com­pany is in­ter­ested in hav­ing the Har­bour Hop­pers in the area for a num­ber of rea­sons, in­clud­ing the 50 per cent in­crease in tourism traf­fic to Syd­ney this year.

“It’s a com­bi­na­tion of the city tour as­pects of it — the Har­bour Hop­per of course spends half the time on land and half the time in the wa­ter, and just the beauty of the har­bour and the view for ev­ery­body cer­tainly made an ap­peal­ing choice for us.” she said.

“It looks like we’re go­ing to come up af­ter the end of Au­gust, bring­ing the units up to test them out through cruise sea­son.”

At­lantic Am­bas­sa­tours Ltd., has six Har­bour Hop­pers in Halifax. The com­pany re­cently added two more to its fleet.

MacCul­loch said the feed­back for the ve­hi­cles have been pos­i­tive in Halifax.

“Peo­ple love the Har­bour Hop­per — I think it’s a com­bi­na­tion of be­ing on the wa­ter and on the land, but it’s the tran­si­tion between land and wa­ter that peo­ple find re­ally thrilling,” she said. “Many peo­ple have never had the chance to be on an am­phibi­ous ve­hi­cle — it’s cer­tainly ap­peal­ing to all ages.”

Lind­say McKin­non, owner of De­fi­ant Dar­lings Fash­ion and Ac­ces­sories Inc., in down­town Syd­ney, said the Har­bour Hop­pers would be good for the down­town area.

“I think it would be good for the re­tail busi­ness,” she said, cit­ing the po­ten­tial of cus­tomers shop­ping in the area af­ter the tours. “Any­thing that brings any­body down­town is a good thing.”

In Halifax, the tours last 55 min­utes and the cost ranges from $11.99 for chil­dren to $35 for an adult.

MacCul­loch said the tour route and prices for Syd­ney won’t be con­firmed un­til the util­ity and re­view board makes a de­ci­sion. The com­pany is hop­ing to have a de­ci­sion by the sum­mer.

JEFF HARPER/METRO HALIFAX

The fa­mous Har­bour Hop­pers may soon be­gin tours in Syd­ney for two months, start­ing in Septem­ber. At­lantic Am­bas­sa­tours Ltd., is hop­ing to have two of its Har­bour Hop­pers in Syd­ney to pro­vide tours, on land and in the wa­ter, for the gen­eral public, tourists and cruise ship pas­sen­gers.

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