Another successful Canal Days draws to an end

The Empire Sandy takes out its last tour Monday afternoon. Though there are no official numbers yet, it’s believed that this year has seen record crowds.

Planning underway for the 40th year

The 39th Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival in Port Colborne was on the list this year again as one of the top 100 festivals to attend in the Festivals and Events Ontario list. Visitors to Port Colborne this past weekend know why.

“Canal Days is always an incredible weekend,” Port Colborne Mayor John Maloney said as the festival was wrapping up Monday August 7/2017.

The Beatles tribute artists The Caverners close out the Canal Days entertainment line up Monday.

“We started off a little slow Friday afternoon with a storm that came through, gale force winds, trees and branches down,” he said. “But, it cleared up around 9 p.m. and it was all green lights from there on in.”

“For Saturday, we had a little bit of rain early in the day, kind of cooled things off, however, the streets were full and people were happy and had fun,” he said.  “Sunday, Port Colborne was packed, it was hard for people to find a parking space.”

The official numbers for the amount of people that visited Port Colborne won’t be available for a little while.

“We won’t get an idea on total numbers for a little while, we will have particular numbers from events like the museum keeps track,” said Michelle Cuthbert, Marketing, Customer Relations and Communications Coordinator City of Port Colborne. “As far as total numbers we won’t know until our economic assessment next year.

“The average that we see is between 300,000 – 400,000 over the weekend and I would say, based on yesterday’s crowd, we are hitting that mark for sure,” she said.

For Mayor Maloney, it was hard to pick out a singularly favourite event from this year’s Canal Days, all events he attended he spoke very highly of. He enjoyed the Car Show on Sunday and the Niagara Wind Riders Kite Show on Saturday.

“The kite show, it’s really clever how they can manipulate them, make them dance to the music,” Mayor Maloney said. “It’s really something to see.”

He also pointed out that the Garden Swing – Jazz on the Lawn was an amazing show over at the Roselawn Centre and that the Lighthouse Tours are a highlight of many people’s visit to Port Colborne this past weekend.

Tim ‘E’ and the Yes Men were part of the Canal Days Concert line up, closing out the festival Monday.

“But, I always come back to the Boat Parade of Light and the fireworks show on Sunday night,” he said. This year, he enjoyed the show from the decks of the Brig Niagara parked along the canal along West St.

“The boats all lit up are really neat to see and the fireworks, whether watching from the canal bank, West St. or the bridge, are always incredible,” he said.

Mayor Maloney is quite quick to state that this year event has been a huge success.

“There is no question it has been a successful weekend,” he said. “The vendors have been busy, the venues packed with visitors, people enjoying themselves and there has been lots of activities, something for everyone.”

He outlined the key to the success.

“A year of planning by the volunteer committee, the work of the City of Port Colborne staff, they work all year on this event,” he said. “We literally have an army of volunteers (about 300) who will happily come out and help with the event and enjoy the furor (wave of public excitement) of the event.”

“The volunteers are certainly the heart of this event, they are the heart any event, without them we couldn’t do it. As well, the sponsors and the community partners, we couldn’t do this without their help either, he said.

Next year is the 40th anniversary of the Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival which according to Mayor Maloney is already being planned.

“We are already in the planning stages for next year, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival in Port Colborne,” he said.  “We are looking at making it bigger and better, I can’t reveal any secrets, but, we will be working very hard to make it a spectacular event.”

2017 draw winners

Bob Stickles of Port Colborne won the Port Colborne Lions Club Draw for the 2017 Jeep Patriot. Cameron Killins of Brampton won the POCOMAR 50/50 draw taking home $6,242.80. Amanda and Matt Bocchinfuso won the top prize of $2,500 in the Port Colborne and District Conservation Club Duck Race.

The Port Colborne and District Conservation Club Duck Race is always a crowd favourite on the final day of the festival.



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