Iconic ship to join in fes­ti­val

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - FRONT PAGE - RON­ALD ZA­JAC

The iconic Cana­dian tall ship Bluenose II will be the star at­trac­tion when the tall ships re­turn to Brockville late next sum­mer.

Or­ga­niz­ers of next year’s Brockville Tall Ships Fes­ti­val made the an­nounce­ment at a me­dia event at city hall Fri­day morn­ing.

The fes­ti­val, the third tall ships block­buster in Brockville since 2013, will take place Aug. 30 to Sept. 1, 2019.

As with the pre­vi­ous events in 2013 and 2016, the tall ships and re­lated at­trac­tions will ex­tend along Hardy Park, Block­house Is­land and Cen­teen Park.

The lo­cal or­ga­niz­ers made the an­nounce­ment along with Leeds-Grenville-Thou­sand Is­lands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark, who ap­peared on be­half of Tourism, Cul­ture and Sport Michael Ti­bollo to an­nounce the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s sup­port of the Tall Ships Chal­lenge On­tario Tour in the amount of $525,000.

Brockville’s Tall Ships Fes­ti­val is one of five ports tak­ing part in the broader Tall Ships Chal­lenge. Other ports in­clude Toronto, Sar­nia, Mid­land and Kingsville.

The tall ships tour is ex­pected to bring 600,000 vis­i­tors to On­tario, in­clud­ing some 35,000 to Brockville, said Clark, who cred­ited the lo­cal vol­un­teers for the suc­cess of the last two events.

“Brockville has a well-earned rep­u­ta­tion as an out­stand­ing port of call,” said Clark.

“The peo­ple have proven that our city can host big events.”

Tall ships fes­ti­val chair­man Brian Burns an­nounced the Bluenose II will be joined by the Empire Sandy (which was here for the last two fes­ti­vals), lo­cal sail­ing ves­sels the Fair Jeanne and the Black Jack in their reg­u­lar docks at Tall Ships Land­ing, the Pic­ton Cas­tle (which is al­most of­fi­cially signed), as well as a Cana­dian Coast Guard ves­sel and a dis­play of an­tique boats.

He added the lo­cal com­mit­tee is putting the fi­nal touches on ne­go­ti­a­tions to bring in at least three other tall ships, in­clud­ing the De­nis Sul­li­van and the Cana­dian Navy ship the HMCS Ori­ole.

“We’re very, very op­ti­mistic that that will hap­pen,” he said of the Ori­ole.

Other fea­tures Burns an­nounced in­clude the Red Hot and Blue Rock­a­billy Fes­ti­val, which will hap­pen by the tun­nel again, and the kids’ zone and the Leeds County Draft Horse Club at Hardy Park.

“We’re still nine months out, so it’s not go­ing to be­come less; it’s go­ing to be­come more,” said Burns.

Proc­ter&Gam­ble will again be the fes­ti­val’s ti­tle spon­sor. Lo­cal plant man­ager Mu­tazz Ak­our said the spon­sor­ship is some­thing em­ploy­ees felt strongly about con­tin­u­ing, even as the fa­cil­ity winds down op­er­a­tions to­ward clo­sure in 2020.

“We will con­tinue to sup­port the com­mu­nity un­til the last day of our pro­duc­tion here,” said Ak­our.

The North Amer­i­can tall ships events hap­pen ev­ery three years, mean­ing P&G won’t be in the com­mu­nity to con­tinue that spon­sor­ship the next time around, Burns later ac­knowl­edged.

That’s why fes­ti­val or­ga­niz­ers are al­ready look­ing for other ways to raise funds.

Like the last two times, the event will of­fer tall ship deck tours to peo­ple who buy a fes­ti­val “pass­port,” and will sell tick­ets for sailouts and din­ner cruises.

New next year, peo­ple will be able to buy tick­ets al­low­ing them to join the Fri­day Pa­rade of Sail on board a tall ship. They will also be able to par­tic­i­pate in an “af­ter­hours re­cep­tion” that will in­clude deck tours for the Bluenose II and at least one other tall ship.

Tick­ets will go on sale in early De­cem­ber.

But also new next year, peo­ple will have to pay to get ac­cess to the Block house Is­land Park­way be­yond the tun­nel area, and Cen­teen Park, where two large tents will house a cash bar and food tent.

Ac­cess to those areas will be through a week­end bracelet cost­ing $5, said Burns.

Ac­cess to Hardy Park will re­main free.

Hen­der­son re­called the first Tall Ships Fes­ti­val in 2013, when skep­tics of the then-lo­cally-untested event were met with a week­end so pop­u­lar that down­town cafes and restau­rants ran out of sup­plies.

“You were lucky to get a cof­fee some­where down­town be­cause of the mas­sive num­ber of peo­ple who came down­town,” said the mayor.

Hen­der­son also thanked P&G for its con­tin­ued sup­port.

“We’re go­ing to miss you, but I’ve never seen a com­pany exit the way you guys are ex­it­ing,” he said. Rza­jac@post­media.com

RON­ALD ZA­JAC/THE RECORDER AND TIMES

Or­ga­niz­ers and sup­port­ers of next year's Brockville Tall Ships Fes­ti­val pose af­ter an­nounc­ing the Bluenose II will be com­ing to the event, at a me­dia event on Fri­day at city hall. From left are Brockville man­ager of strate­gic ini­tia­tives Les­ley White, Proc­ter&Gam­ble plant man­ager Mu­tazz Ak­our, Mayor David Hen­der­son, fes­ti­val chair­man Brian Burns, MPP Steve Clark, P&G em­ployee Cathy Wil­son, fes­ti­val past chair­man Dave Paul and Joanne Sine of P&G.

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