Oh I know it is still cold and horrible outside but that doesn’t prevent us from dreaming about a hot summer afternoon, hanging on the waterfront, catching some beats and stepping onboard the beautiful vessels of the tall ships fleet. Ship deck tour tickets are now on sale and those in the know who want to opt in for a priority pass should get them soon. We sold out weeks before the festival in 2010!
now to get you more in the mood…….
As a kid my introduction to sailing brought on, what I realize now was, irrational fear. Dad would take me out for weekend dinghy races and while I was delighted to be along for the ride the fear of being tossed overboard took most of the fun out of it. A few lessons would have cured this pretty quickly and the passion that I now have for sailing might have been instilled a lot sooner.
Sailing aboard a Tall Ship is a completely different experience to dinghy sailing, starting with the fact that you get to stand up. You are part of a much bigger team too and regardless of your age there are good life lessons taught here. Which is why youth sail training is the mission of so many of these historic ships. Like me the average person has no idea about the opportunity that lives here so, given I’m a girl, I am going to tell you about a very special one.
Sisters Under Sail is the youth sail training program aboard Tall Ship Unicorn. What makes it special is that this program is for girls only, age 13 – 18. In addition the Captain, first mate and professional crew are all women too. Dawn Santamaria, the visionary behind this not-for-profit foundation, created the program after watching her own daughters grow into confident young women that worked well together as a family and team whilst sailing this beautiful ship. Today aboard Unicorn all of the trainees regardless of age learn the ropes, quite literally, without the self-consciousness that might hold them back if guys were onboard too. This summer when Unicorn sails through Toronto as part of the Tall Ships®1812 tour she is also dedicating two voyages to the daughters of U.S. and Canadian military. Through scholarships and burseries, Sisters Under Sail wants to honor the military families of our great countries, especially those who may not otherwise be able to afford this hands-on leadership program for their daughters. These kids will be a part of a once-in-a-lifetime bicentennial commemoration while sailing aboard the only all-women crewed tall ship in the world. The quote from one of the trainees pretty much sums up how important this experience can be.
I love how much the women on the boat worked so hard to teach us about how capable we are at doing things. I felt very proud about not having men working with us doing all the hard work. No, for once I got to do work! I felt so proud. I know one thing: I am leaving here saying, “This ain’t no cruise, sister!”
~Lauren Gibbons, military daughter, age 13
If you know of a young girl who would jump at this opportunity pass the message on!For her it will be an unforgettable life experience and for you the joy of knowing you were instrumental in delivering it will make you smile your whole life long.
My view from the water!
Turning the corner into February makes us all yearn for warmer weather as exemplified by how riveted we are by the shadow of dancing ground hogs. I am happy to live in Ontario, as it seems that the furry predictors, west of the Quebec/Vermont borders anyway, are calling for an early spring. I can’t say it seemed that way this past week of blizzards and snow!
Our KS+A/Redpath Waterfront Festival crew arrived in the home port of Tall Ship U.S. Brig Niagara, Erie, Pennsylvania, for the TALL SHIPS AMERICA® Annual Conference. Over 200 delegates from all over North America and Europe congregated for a series of discussions, meetings and regulatory updates. Attendees represent a vast cross section of the tall ship, maritime industry and event professionals. For many of us the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®: Great Lakes is the main topic of conversation as we the ‘Ports’ excitedly prepare to host a fleet of ships this summer. The tour will both commemorate the War of 1812 and celebrate the opportunity that these majestic ships bring with them in their missions. Many are sail training vessels with an emphasis on youth, such as our local Toronto Brigantine who run a stellar program for kids 13 – 18, or Sorlandet of Norway that runs a Canadian high-school/university level education program known as Class Afloat.
Toronto looks forward to being the Official Launch and will host the entire fleet of tall ships during this bi-national series of events to take place in 16 Ontario and six U.S. ports. U.S. Brig Niagara [shown above in is a War of 1812 replica of the magnificent vessel made famous in the Battle of Put-in-Bay – not our British fleet’s finest moment in history to be sure! I am no history buff, but Tall Ship Festivals make re-living moments in history exciting and retention worthy! Stay tuned as we roll out more exciting developments in the months and days leading up to June 20-23!
My view by the water – on Lake Erie mid -winter..brrrrr
Co-Producer, RWF 2013
to all of you who came and got ‘immersed’ in the Redpath Waterfront Festival this year! It is hard to believe that it has already been two weeks since we served up the last lobster, but what a party it was! Over 450,000 of you enjoyed all that we had to offer all weekend long and the weather mostly cooperated. Our sincerest thanks to all of our visitors, friends, sponsors and partners who made this year’s festival a great event! Kudos to Saltscapes, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for putting on a great show with unbelievably cool bands like Squid, beat-the-heat treats like homemade ice cream and blueberry juice, plus gourmet samples from a collection of great chefs. If you missed it don’t panic! Book your trip to the East Coast today or there is still time to enter the ‘Come East’ contest!
A little bit of magic happened over at The Wharf at York where folklore indeed got very interactive! What a pleasure it was to sit in this authentic 1812 wharf side village and be charmed by the locals. Many a happy apprentice skipped their way through the Wharf with their journeyman’s ticket in hand. Every time the Schooner Challenge approached the Wharf, the news of War disembarked with her passengers. If you were visiting you were pulled into their stories of conflict, concern and love as the town folk, under the guidance of Reverend Strachan, looked to you to support them as they struggled with the impact that War, and the recruiting of a militia, would have on their lives. The outcome of a dramatic swordfight saw our spy revealed and in many cases the visitors to the Wharf decided the development of the next chapter with our town folk gladly obliging them.
Stay tuned as we look to continue the story of The Wharf At York: One Year later, in June 1813 when TALL SHIPS RETURN [June 20-23, 2013]! And we’ll be back next week with highlights from the Sweet Smokin’ Suga’ Jam and the Redpath Water Theatre!
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My view on the water!
Producer – Programming & Production
Immersion & Emerging.
Two words – both with strong associations to water – that we are using a lot this year to describe some of the great programming!
Welcome Saltscapes, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and be ‘immersed’ in the East Coast lifestyle. I can’t wait because no one throws a party like the East Coasters!
Immersion Theatre is a new/old idea that brings you into the action going on all around you – a lot more fun than stagnating in a seat! We hope to make history engaging so that you ‘emerge’ from The Wharf at York experience with a new found love and interest in our roots.
‘Emerging’ is often used to describe musicians and artists, especially when they are ‘indie’ artists. In some cases on both our Saltscapes and Sugar Beach stages ‘emerging’ is an accurate term. But for the most part – not so much. For example, the incredible line-up on stage at Sugar Beach, headlined by Shakura S’aida, is a roster of incredible home grown Canadian talent, most living right here in Toronto, that have been honing their craft for a decade or more. YOU just have yet to discover some of them. Check out the schedule page under What’s On. Updates will appear regularly.
So get ‘immersed’ in our incredible experience down by the water this year and ‘emerge’ entertained, engaged and enlightened by a roster of new discoveries!
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My view on the water,
Festival Producer – Programming & Production