Halifax tourist attraction looking to ‘hop’ its way to Sydney
A popular Halifax tourist attraction on land and sea could soon leap frog north to a new location.
The Halifax Harbour Hopper, which has become a staple in the province’s mainland, is looking to expand its operation in Sydney.
"We've made the applications to the UARB and also to Transport Canada for the regulations and approvals we need to go into Sydney Harbour,” said Terri MacCulloch, manager of Atlantic Ambassatours Communications. “We're planning for September and October of this coming year."
The Harbour Hopper travels on land and sea for a guided tour that mixes history with humour.
"The fun splash when you enter the water is really exciting, the history about the town, and some of the funny stories that guides would tell," said Michelle Wilson, executive director of Sydney Waterfront District.
Like Halifax, Sydney is almost tailor-made for an operation like this with its wide open harbor and plenty of history in its downtown core.
The Harbor Hopper’s arrival would coincide nicely with a second cruise ship berth in Sydney, set to open in the fall of 2018. It could also have a positive impact on tourism figures.
"It puts us in line with what other ports have, offering an experience in our Sydney Harbour," said Bernadette MacNeil, manager of Cruise Marketing and Development.
Back on land, historic buildings like St. Patrick's Church – established in 1828 – also stand to benefit from an increase in visitors.
"Like all museums, a lot of our funding is based on visitation. We hope that if they are on cruise ships, they will come back to visit us again," said Joyce Rankin, executive director of the Old Sydney Society.
Wilson says the prospect of the vessel making its way to Sydney has locals hopping with excitement.
"It would be an excellent addition," she said.
Ambassatours expects to find out whether its Sydney license is approved by spring.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.