It was Canada’s 149th birthday on July 1st! In world terms, it’s still pretty much a baby, but I’m proud and grateful that I get to identify as a Canadian and help to shape the future of this magnificent nation.
I headed down to the Redpath Waterfront Festival in down town Toronto near Lake Ontario on our national holiday, where some tall ships were docked. For $15 (+our 15% Canadian patriot tax) you can explore a Viking longhips, a Spanish Galleon, and an American Schooner. My interest in ships is pretty casual, generally most of my knowledge comes from playing Assassin’s Creed 4, and even then most of the time I was destroying and sinking these marvellous creations, heh.
The Viking Ship Draken Harald Hårfagre had the longest line-up, and sailed to be here all the way from Norway! It is currently the tallest Viking ship in the world, and was recreated by Norwegian experts and craftsmen, based on historical documents with some modern additions to aid in navigation and sailing.
It was difficult to get a nice clear shot of the Draken Harald Hårfagre due to the crowd so here’s a photo with my head completely in the way. Helpful, I know!
The ship featured some nice upgrades like this pair of Odin’s Ravens, which aid the crew by flying ahead to spot dangers and swinging back to warn the captain, or so the crew tells the visiting crowds. I’d believe it, they made it this far didn’t they?
The ornamental dragon (or draken) at the helm of the ship serves to mark the ship as a King’s ship. The crew says the ornaments are usually changed depending on the type of expedition the ship is destined for. The carvings along the ship’s railings leading away from the helm are based on real Viking ornamentation, and was hand crafted by an expert craftsman. The interns were probably not allowed near it at all.
Next was the ship I was most excited for, El Galeon, the Spanish Galleon! How many of these guys have I boarded and pillaged in Assassin’s Creed with my pirate fam, I’ll never know. It would be an absolute dream to climb the ropes and sing dirty sea shanties with a pint of Kraken spiced rum in one hand and a captain’s coat-tails billowing behind me. Ah, maybe one day…
El Galeon is also a recreation built in Spain, and now serves as a floating museum that travels around the world to spread knowledge about 16th century Spanish sailing technology and history.
Here is the relatively cosy interior. I wonder if those decor items need to be bolted down during more turbulent weather?
My final shot of the night, Canada Day fireworks on the waterfront behind the elegant ship. Blowing up taxpayer money has never been more beautiful or entertaining!
In case you’ve already forgotten what I look like, one more selfie. Happy Canada Day! Here’s to another wonderful year of progress and change, see you next year for your 150th!