Windsorites are in for a blast from the past as historic tall ships have docked throughout the region for The Tall Ships 1812 Tour.
The tour, which sees tall ships sailing to fifteen Ontario ports throughout the summer, commemorates the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and local events include ship tours, entertainment, food and other activities.
“It’s been four years [of planning],” explained Kyra Knapp, the War of 1812 Project Facilitator and Committee Chair for Costal Trails Festival. “We’ve been organizing with fifteen ports throughout Ontario … We have a collaborative festival, it’s four communities in one region and we represent twenty-five per cent of the ports in the entire festival.”
Knapp’s interest in Tall Ships is rooted in her background in history and her time spent at the University of Windsor studying history as both an undergraduate and master’s student.
“I have a keen interest in history,” said Knapp. “I’m also really passionate about our region and this is a huge economic driver … tall ships are actually the number one [War of 1812] event that people want to see.”
Bruce Iler owns the bar Whiskey River in the downtown core and he was attending the event with his family.
“It’s pretty interesting,” said Iler in reference to both the tall ships and the overall event itself. “It brings in a good crowd to the city and it helps the local businesses as well.”
Iler had never been on a tall ship before and he commented that they’re “quite spectacular to see.”
“Anything that brings in a crowd is going to help Windsor [and] the local businesses,” said Iler who added that the event has helped his business.
Jason Bolt is the First Officer of the tall ship Sorlandet, which is a Norwegian sail training ship built in 1927 which is based out of Norway.
The Sorlandet is currently being chartered by Class Afloat, a Canadian organization which teaches high school grade eleven and twelve and first year university classes for forty-five students.
The students are taught how to sail in addition to courses mandated by the curriculum
“They split their time between working on deck, sail handing, working below doing school work and working in the galley making and preparing meals,” Bolt said.
The students have been enjoying the classes, and Bolt explained that the students are having fun, excited and getting used to the different routines on the ship