She came with a purpose. Bound and determined, on a mission, and with her usual grace, elegance, and aplomb, Bluenose II entered Toronto Harbour. And she brought with her the best and brightest of Nova Scotia.
The occasion was Toronto’s first ever Nautical Festival. And as the major sponsor of the event, Nova Scotia Tourism, Culture, and Heritage had carefully charted its course. Furthermore, the venue was also appropriate to a Maritime province that epitomizes people working together for a common goal, great harbours, and people-friendly harbourfront design. Having said that, I must emphasize that comparing Halifax harbour and the ever-growing Toronto Harbourfront, is like comparing apples and oranges … or lobster and sushi.
But this was also a great opportunity for Nova Scotia to dialogue directly with one of its prime markets, central Canada — and lots of tourists from hither and yon who thought they were in Toronto just to see Toronto. And let’s be fully cognizant of the fact that this was a major marketing initiative for the ever-resourceful Nova Scotians who know well how to promote what they have to offer — which of course is great product! So alongside their Minister of Tourism and one other member of the provincial legislature, over 30 travel suppliers, heritage site representatives, tour operators, individual destinations, artists and musicians, and media relations specialists turned Toronto’s Harbourfront into a wee bit of Nova Scotia.
You could almost smell the salt air.
Images and imagery: Nova Scotia entertains in Toronto Harbour
Bluenose II: a Canadian ship of state
Tall ships are legends unto themselves; above all they embody the great sailing age when travel and commerce on this planet made a great leap forward. Their very nature is that of high adventure, courage, and vision. Iconic and of a beauty that defies description, the tall ships are still the purveyors of good fortune and resourcefulness.
But there is no tall ship quite like Bluenose II. She is one of our most distinguished ambassadors. Embedded in the Canadian psyche, she is also a living symbol of our identity, of the Canadian sense of self, and she is the embodiment of Canadian self-determination. In this latter regard, she may be Nova Scotia’s greatest gift to the Canadian people.
To explore the history and legacy of Bluenose II visit The Bluenose II Preservation Trust.
To take a virtual tour of Bluenose II, click here.
Real folks from Nova Scotia telling it as it is
As you can probably tell, I am a great fan of Nova Scotia. But, as they say, don’t take my word for it; the travel and tourism representatives from all across this quintessential Canadian maritime province can say it better than I can.
So… take your pick. Sit back and listen to a bunch of terrific people talk about the place they are passionate about.
Local boy makes good
Military history and music
Why Europeans came to the New World
Roots and oral history
Geopolitics in the 17th century
L’histoire de guerre et du Nouveau Monde
I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky…
A musicologist’s dream destination
A day tripper’s delight
Continental Nova Scotia
Bliss by the sea
To the heart of New Scotland
Open for business
A city for all seasons
Iconic Nova Scotia
Special Thanks to Pam Levy
Pam is a member of the Mic Mac nation, the “First Peoples” aboriginal nation with whom the first European settlers, in what would come to be Nova Scotia, lived in harmony. Also very much a people of the land and the sea, the Mic Mac are indigenous to Canada’s Atlantic provinces. Her original music and compositions are heard in the openings and closings of the above audio segments.
Farewell to Nova Scotia
As Bluenose II glided gently into its berth at Toronto Harbourfront, the band (almost on cue) was playing Farewell to Nova Scotia.
The sun was setting in the west,
The birds were singing on every tree.
All nature seemed inclined for to rest
But still there was no rest for me.
Farewell to Nova Scotia, you sea-bound coast,
Let your mountains dark and dreary be.
For when I am far away on the briny ocean tossed,
Will you ever heave a sigh and a wish for me?
What may be the most popular folk song from Nova Scotia, and the province’s unofficial anthem, the song was believed to have been composed just prior to or during the First World War. For those who fall in love with Nova Scotia, it has a very Proustian quality, not only in evoking remembrance of time past — an era of “wooden ships and iron men” — but also of deep-felt memories of travelling in the province.
Many versions of the song can be heard on the Internet, but two of my favourites are the following:
Where do you want to go in traveller-friendly Nova Scotia?
As I point out in the article “Media Wise Nova Scotia,” this province does a superb job of preparing travellers for a visit to Nova Scotia. The “Doers’ and Dreamers'” guide is especially useful.
The Tourism Department of Nova Scotia has divided the province into seven regions, all very accessible:
The “Doers’ and Dreamers'” guide also contains a full listing of tour operators and other travel services offered throughout the province.
Read other articles about Nova Scotia
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” — Seneca, Roman philosopher (mid-First Century AD)
… And before we go, I recommend “Rick Mercer at the Fortress of Louisbourg”