This coming Labour Day Weekend (Friday, August 31 – Sunday, September 2, 2018) sees the return of The Victoria Classic Boat Festival to Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Over a hundred boats are expected to descend on Victoria and visitors are welcome to tour the docks to view these historic vessels. This year’s Festival will focus on the important role of the Merchant Marine during World War Two.
In 2017, the Classic Boat Festival Society transferred the operation of the Festival to the Maritime Museum of British Columbia. David Leverton, Executive Director of the Maritime Museum, stated that, “We are pleased this event brings more hands-on experiences and educational opportunities for the public. The year’s festival will feature activities, speakers, and events surrounding the role of the BC's fishing vessels, yachts, and shipyards that played an important role on the ‘home front’ of WW2. This year also sees the event expand, as we collaborate with Parks Canada, who will be on-site with a special floating exhibit on Home Port Heroes. Thanks to our partners, sponsors, and dedicated team of staff and volunteers, the Festival has been part of our community for over forty years and continues to expand to ensure marine knowledge and history are more accessible to the public.”
In addition to the floating exhibit and the many classic boats that will be on display, including WW2-era boats Merry Chase and Midnight Sun, the Festival is also hosting a number of new family-friendly activities including craft workshops, musical performances, Pirate School, Wooden Boat model building, and face painting. Acclaimed yacht designer Ron Holland and the Festival’s Honourary Commodore and curator of The Nauticapedia, John MacFarlane, are also scheduled to speak at the event.
William Noon, Festival Chair, noted that “the Pacific Northwest is blessed with an enormous number of traditional boats – from sailboats, to workboats, to cruisers. The Festival began in 1977 with the idea that our maritime heritage must not only be preserved, but also celebrated. The Festival’s open docks, events, and activities serve to engage our community and visitors on our maritime history, culture, and its ongoing story. ”
Don Prittie, General Manager of Canoe Cove Marina, is “proud to be the principle sponsor of one of the great maritime festivals on the west coast. This event truly showcases floating works of art that make up an important part of our maritime heritage. Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard shares in this history, having first been established in the recreational and commercial boating community in the early 1900s.”
As in previous years, these classic boats will participate in a “sail past” and race on Sunday, September 2. The modern day “sail past” tradition began at the first yacht club that was formed in England nearly 200 years ago. It was first introduced as a continuation of the naval habit of having Admirals and Royalty review the fleet on special occasions. The Festival’s tradition is similar, however, the Honourary Commodore instead of the Admiral receives the salute. Spectators can head out to watch the parade of ships and races at Holland Point Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Victoria Classic Boat Festival opens at the Inner Harbour on Friday, August 31 and runs until Sunday, September 2. The docks will be open for viewing by donation from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily, with special events and activities throughout the day. For a full schedule of events, head to www.classicboatfestival.ca.