Gangways Open on Toronto’s Waterfront
Encounter Swashbuckling Pirates
Fun for the entire family, Gangways Open on Toronto’s Waterfront presented by The Waterfront BIA, is part of the 16th annual Doors Open Toronto presented by Great Gulf, on Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24 from 12:00 until 5:00 pm.
NEW this year, enjoy rides with Harbourfront Centre Sailing & Powerboating and kids can hop aboard a 40 foot inflatable bouncy pirate ship. Have your picture taken with pirates as they invade the Waterfront. See the William Lyon Mackenzie Fire Boat in action and tour the Toronto Fire and Marine Station 334 and the Toronto Police Marine Unit. A wide variety of vessels from Empress of Canada, Great Lakes Schooner Company, Mariposa Cruises, Nautical Adventures, and Toronto Brigantine will be open to the public for guided deck tours. Visit www.waterfrontbia.com for more information.
"Through Gangways Open on Toronto’s Waterfront, visitors can see and experience the excitement of the Waterfront," states Carol Jolly, Executive Director, The Waterfront BIA. “Tour the numerous ships docked along the water’s edge. Encounter swashbuckling pirates as they make their way along Toronto’s Waterfront sharing their loot and hop aboard a 40 foot inflatable bouncy pirate ship."
NEW IN 2015 – OPEN HOUSE AT HARBOURFRONT CENTRE SAILING AND POWERBOATING
As part of Gangways Open on Toronto’s Waterfront, Harbourfront Centre Sailing & Powerboating (HCSP) are offering free boat rides (weather permitting) and course discounts, with friendly staff on hand to answer any questions.
HCSP provides affordable and accessible boating for all, from beginner to off-shore, and are open to the public through their various courses, boat rentals, memberships, junior sail camps, and corporate and Caribbean programs.
NEW IN 2015 – 2-FOR-1 CANOE & PADDLEBOAT RIDES ON THE NATREL POND
Take a break from the action and enjoy a fun float on the Natrel Pond in a canoe or paddleboat. Rental for a 15-minute ride includes life jackets. Canoes are $4/person and paddleboats are $5/person, buy one, get one FREE. All activities on the Natrel Pond are weather permitting; please contact the Info Desk at 416-973-4000 for up-to-the-minute information.
NEW IN 2015 – BRING THE KIDS DOWN TO ENJOY THE 40 FOOT INFLATABLE BOUNCY PIRATE SHIP
Get your adrenaline going aboard a 40-foot inflatable bouncy pirate ship, located in HTO Park East (beside the Fire Hall). Slide into the belly of the pirate ship and bounce the day away.
ARRRGH YOU COMING? SWORD-FIGHTING PIRATES INVADE TORONTO’S WATERFRONT!
Avast ye mateys and hold on to your booty - there are pirates on the loose! These swashbuckling and sword fighting freebooters will be busy looting and plundering along the Waterfront on Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24 from 12:00 to 5:00 pm daily.
For all landlubbers brave enough to approach, these pirates have a special giveaway to add to your treasure chest! Find them dockside and take a photo, brush up on your pirate facts, and learn about all the exciting features of Gangways Open on Toronto’s Waterfront. Bring your camera and your eye patch!
TOUR THE TORONTO POLICE MARINE UNIT
Gangways Open on Toronto’s Waterfront offers the public a unique opportunity to tour the Toronto Police Marine Unit (259 Queens Quay West) and see the fleet that is used in various rescue and response calls on Toronto’s many waterways.
The Toronto Police Marine Unit is the former site of the Toronto Harbour Police, and includes a nine slip boat house securing the Toronto Police Marine Fleet. Their fleet includes a circa 1939 Taylorcraft mahogany vessel designed especially for use in Lake Ontario. This "VIP" boat, the last remaining of its kind once used by the old Toronto Harbour Police, is still used to transport dignitaries on the lake for special occasions.
Visitors will be greeted by Marine Unit Officers who will guide them through the boat house to view various Marine Unit vessels. They will receive a short history of the Toronto Police Marine Unit and see different types of police vessels while learning what their functions are. The Marine Unit is responsible for 460 square miles of Lake Ontario as well as all rivers, creeks, and waterways in Toronto.
TOUR TORONTO FIRE & MARINE STATION 334 AND SEE THE WILLIAM LYON MACKENZIE FIREBOAT
Meet firefighters and tour Toronto Fire & Marine Station 344 (339 Queen’s Quay West). There will be activities for children and rescue demonstrations throughout the day.
Named for Toronto’s first mayor, the William Lyon Mackenzie Fireboat was built in 1964 by Russel Brothers Shipyard in Owen Sound, Ontario to provide marine fire protection, search and rescue on Lake Ontario, as well as ice breaking capabilities for Toronto’s ferries and the Islands. The Fireboat is docked at Toronto Fire & Marine Station 334 and operates 12 months a year. Due to safety reasons, the vessel is not open for boarding.
The Fireboat is 24 metres long and weighs approximately 150 tonnes with a Caterpillar Diesel engine producing 3,000 horsepower to achieve a top speed of 22 kilometres per hour. The vessel has a modified Tugboat hull and five tonne crane as well as five water nozzles that can pump 50,000 litres of water a minute. The vessel is also equipped with radar, echo sounder, radio, and daytime accommodation for the off-duty shift. In 2004, the vessel completed a $1 million refurbishment that will extend the in-service life by approximately 30 years.
GUIDED TOURS OF 12 OF THE WATERFRONT’S MOST DISTINCTIVE SHIPS
The charter boat business is one of the main tourism attractions at the Toronto Waterfront and has a rich history. Participating ships will open their doors (and their gangways!) for FREE public dockside tours. The ships along the dock walls will be open for viewing from 12:00 to 5:00 pm, subject to availability.
Visit ships from the Great Lakes Schooner Company (Challenge and Obsession III), Empress of Canada, Mariposa Cruises (Captain Matthew Flinders, Klancy II, Northern Spirit, Oriole, Rosemary and Showboat), Nautical Adventures (Empire Sandy), and Toronto Brigantine Tall Ships (Pathfinder and Playfair).
About Doors Open Toronto:
Since its inception in 2000, Doors Open Toronto has attracted more than two million visits to nearly 600 unique locations across the city. It is Canada's largest Doors Open event and one of the three largest Doors Open events in the world. Doors Open Toronto is dedicated to built heritage, architecture and design. It is sponsored by Great Gulf and produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the broader community. Doors Open Toronto features more than 155 architecturally, historically, culturally, and socially significant buildings across the city. This year’s theme is Sports, Leisure, and Recreation. A complete list of venues for 2015 will be released in late April. Updates will be available at www.toronto.ca/doorsopen, or by calling 311.
About The Waterfront BIA:
The Waterfront Business Improvement Area (WBIA) is the voice of the business community. Toronto’s WBIA is a community-driven organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing the economic and cultural vitality of the Waterfront area. The WBIA welcomes 17 million visitors annually with a service area population of 57,121 and growing rapidly. 68% are under the age of 45 and average household income is $118,924. Unlike most Toronto BIAs, the Waterfront is both a destination and a tourist attraction. It is committed to improving and promoting the Waterfront area through investment and advocacy to maintain its position as one of Toronto’s premier shopping, business, entertainment, and tourist destinations. Annual programs include Family Day, Doors/Gangways Open, Redpath Waterfront Festival, Singing Ambassadors, and Winterfest on Toronto's Waterfront. The Waterfront BIA has been the proud recipient of the TABIA Marketing Award 2011, 2013, and 2014. For more information, visit www.waterfrontbia.com.