Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival ready for visitors

The 40th annual Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival is underway in Port Colborne through Monday.

The 40th annual Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival got underway in Port Colborne Friday Aug. 3/2018 and there’s lots to see and do.

The visiting vessels have taken up their berth along West Str. and are opening themselves to public tours. The Empire Sandy, The Brig Niagara, The E.M. Cotter, The Lettie G. Howard, Private Roberston V.C. and the HMCS Oriole crews made sure everything was ship-shape before noon on Friday and were ready to start greeting visitors.

The HMCS Oriole, parked at the end of the line on West Str. is the longest-serving commissioned vessel in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).

Susan Nosko and Margaret Taylor learn about the HMCS Oriole from Lt. (N) Przemek Zadlo.

Built in 1921, the vessel was donated to the RCN and commissioned in 1952. It is used for public outreach and for training junior sailors, the sailors who crew the ship are serving members in the Navy.

“We’re aware that it is a big event this year,” Lt. (N) Bill King, public affairs officer on assignment with the HMCS Oriole said Friday.

“This is part of our Great Lakes deployment and we were fortunate that the timing worked out well so we could participate in the festivities,” he said.

The vessel is a sail training vessel and is a very big part of a public outreach program.

“The idea is for us to reach out to Canadians and let them see a Royal Canadian Navy vessel,” King said. “Especially in places where we don’t normally bring in a frigate.”

“With this vessel, we can reach a lot of very small ports on the Great Lakes,” he said.

“It’s also important for the public to interact with the sailors,” King said. “The sailors on board can talk about their careers with the Royal Canadian Navy.”

Miguel Ramirez of Mike and Carol’s woodwork helps assemble their display at the craft show.

Before making your way downtown, stop by the Vale Health and Wellness Centre for the 12th Annual Canal Days Indoor Craft Show by the Port Colborne Optimist Club.

It’s a favourite stop when people come to Port Colborne this weekend. In one stop people can do all their shopping and leave it in their cars before taking a shuttle bus from the centre to West. St.

This year there’s 52 hand-picked crafters with a focus on the marine theme.

“All money raised here goes directly to supporting the children of Port Colborne,” Optimist Club past president Susan Wells Brown said. “We sponsor local sports teams, award scholarships, promote children’s programming in the city.”

“We’ve kind of hand-picked our crafters, we have really good ones,” she said. “We also have something different this year, The Shaker Showcase collection of salt and pepper shakers.”

Recently, the owner of The Shaker Showcase went for a Guinness World Record attempt for the largest collection of salt and pepper shakers.

Museum volunteer Frank Habjan cleans up the boat Friday.

If you are coming from out-of-town, there is parking at the Vale Health and Wellness Centre on the east side and at the Port Marine Storage Lot on West Side Rd. Shuttle buses can take you from these parking locations to the festival and return. Otherwise there is parking within the city as well as some paid parking lots, but, make sure to follow the parking bylaws.

See the festival web page “Getting Here” for more info. http://portcolborne.ca/page/gettinghere .

As you travel down West Street and Clarence St. to check out the attractions, there are local charities looking for your support. The Port Colborne Lions Club is raffling off a new vehicle, the Port Colborne and District Conservation Club Duck Race, The Fenwick Lions Club motorcycle raffle, Air Cadets Raffle, and the POCOMAR 50/50 draw.

Festival staff would like to remind visitors to leave their pets at home this weekend, pets are not allowed at festival locations. Service animals are allowed.

Check out the Canal Days website for all festival attractions and information: http://portcolborne.ca/page/canal_days

Laura Slat of the Port Colborne Lions Club was selling raffle tickets for a brand new vehicle, draw will be held Monday.

 


 

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