Halifax to host concert on Georges Island
Published Tuesday, June 5, 2012 6:35PM ADT
The announcement that a summertime concert will play on Georges Island has created a lot of buzz regarding future use of the national historic site.
The island, located in the Halifax Harbour, is typically off limits to the public which makes it a source of fascination for both tourists and people who live in the Halifax area.
Georges Island was a key component in the Halifax defence complex for centuries. In recent years, the island has been left to decay.
"At first sight it could have been a prison…or it seemed there could have been a fort on it," says tourist Daniel McDowall.
In fact, Fort Charlotte, with tunnels intact, is still there and ready to host a big crowd.
This summer, Newfoundland indie rock band Hey Rosetta will headline a concert with 2,000 people expected to attend.
"I've been waiting for this for a long time. I think that it's going to be very busy once this starts rolling," says boat operator Kenny Merlin.
Merlin captains a 40-person charter boat and hopes this concert is step one of a trend that leads to future commercialization.
Merlin already ferries people back and forth and figures there is enough interest to take hundreds of interested tourists and residents to Georges Island each day during the summer season.
"I thought, and was under the belief, that through Parks Canada and others that anything happening on that island would be through public tender," says Merlin.
For now, that is not the case. The Waterfront Development Corporation plans to rent the island from Parks Canada during the Tall Ships visit in July.
"I think, ultimately in my time we will see that as a national park. Great tourism impact, wonderful opportunity for private sector participation," says Colin MacLean President and CEO of the Waterfront Development Corporation.
MacLean says boats for hire will ferry passengers to the island for the concert on July 21. In addition to staging, lighting and a sound system, organizers will also install a temporary wharf. Some hope a more permanent structure will be constructed on the island in the near future.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Paul Hollingsworth