Successful Tall Ships Festival wraps up
Published Monday, July 23, 2012 7:12PM ADT
Last Updated Monday, July 23, 2012 7:20PM ADT
It has been a very busy weekend around Halifax. Hundreds of thousands descended on the Halifax waterfront to see the Tall Ships Festival.
Twenty-two tall ships drew spectators to the waterfront for five days. The festival culminated with the Parade of Sail Monday morning as the ships sailed out to sea.
Many are crediting the stretch of hot, sunny weather for the success of the event.
“You never can plan for the weather, but my goodness it was great,” says Waterfront Development Corp. President Colin MacLean. “There were thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people.”
“The weather’s been fantastic, they’ve got great volunteers, and the ships have been fantastic to see,” exclaims tourist Jane Proctor.
While most agree that it was a spectacular weekend, it wasn’t without a few hiccups.
Traffic slowed to a crawl in the downtown core and lineups at the ferry terminal had many questioning the service.
“I don’t understand why they didn’t have a second one running,” says Brad O’Brien.
“I think it’s a bit ridiculous. I mean they have more than one ferry,” adds Alex Barr. “They should maybe have two going.”
There were two ferries running at some points, but on Sunday there was only one until 4 p.m.
“People are mad as hornets. They’re on the other side waiting two hours to get on the boat,” says ferry captain Andy Williamson.
Williamson has worked with Metro Transit for 27 years. He says in the past there have been three ferries running during Tall Ships.
“It should have been scheduled properly, and we would have been working, simple. Same as we did every other year,” says Williamson.
Michaelyn Thompson with Halifax Regional Municipality says attendance numbers from years past were used to help with transit planning.
“They would base the service on ridership at the time, so they would look at those numbers and plan based on past events, “ says Thompson.
For some, it wasn’t worth the wait.
“We were going to go over to Halifax and look at the tall ships, but we got down here and we saw the lineup and we saw the people coming up on the ferry coming back over,” says Rodney Harvery.
Halifax Regional Police maintained a presence on the waterfront, but report no real trouble.
“From a safety perspective, we haven’t had any incidents reported, so a good time by all,” Cst. Brian Palmeter tells CTV News.
All the traffic was good for business. Now that Tall Ships have come and gone, many vendors are counting their cash.
“Things have been pretty crazy actually,” says kiosk manager James Ingalls. “Each day has been about three days rolled into one for the past four days, so it’s been pretty intense.”
The event has left a good impression on visitors from out of town.
“This is wonderful,” says tourist Annie Waller. “We came to visit from Ontario and came specifically to see the tall ships.”
“I think I’m convinced I’m a down east girls,” adds another.
Port Hawkesbury, Pictou and Pugwash, N.S. will be the next destination of one group of ships, while another group will sail along the South Shore of the province to Lunenburg and Shelburne, N.S.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell
Thousands of people are converged on the Halifax waterfront for the Tall Ships Festival.