‘Charged right up’: Annapolis Royal ready to welcome tall ships

Published on August 3, 2017

The Town of Annapolis Royal’s Amphitheatre will be the venue for four events during the celebrations surrounding the tall ships sail past on Aug. 16, including a concert featuring the J.P. Cormier Trio.


ANNAPOLIS ROYAL, NS - The Town of Annapolis Royal is already in celebration mode, ready to welcome the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta sail-past on Aug. 16.

“We are really excited,” said Mayor Bill MacDonald. “The town is charged right up. There will be music all day, costumer re-enactors at Fort Anne, the cadets will be doing a sunset ceremony and we will end the whole night with a colossal fireworks display to send the ships off on their historic journey.”

Seven tall ships are confirmed to be taking part in the sail past, including Bluenose II, Bowdoin, Lord Nelson, Picton Castle, St. Lawrence II, When and If and Wylde Swan. There is some speculation an eighth ship may also take part but that has not been confirmed.

MacDonald said the plan is for the tall ships to depart from Digby mid-afternoon, with their sails set for Saint John, N.B.

“They should begin arriving around 5 p.m.,” he said, entering the Annapolis Basin between Goat Island and the Habitation, making their way to the town’s waterfront. Two tug boats will be on hand to help them manoeuvre into the harbour, said MacDonald, noting there are some weather based conditions to the visit.

“We are hoping and anticipating flat waters and clear skies. It should be something to see coming into the Annapolis waterfront,” he said.

On land, a full day of activities are planned, starting with the Farmers' and Traders' Market in Market Square at 10 a.m. A Select Nova Scotia Food Demonstration at the Amphitheatre at 11 a.m. is the first of four events in that venue - three concerts will also be held at the site. At 3 p.m., the Kevin Roach Duo will take to the stage, followed by the Kevin Davison Band at 4 p.m. Headliners, the J. P. Cormier Trio, are scheduled to begin performing at 6:30 p.m.

The music moves to the waterfront at 5:30 p.m., with the Annapolis Royal Community Band playing during the sail past.

The Festival of Dance opening performance at King’s Theatre (2 p.m.) is another event the town is “really excited about,” said Amber Conrad, the town’s Canada 150 events co-ordinator .

Also on tap for 2 p.m. is the Annapolis Royal Historical Association’s Canada 150/National Historic District Tour, leaving from the town lighthouse. The Pirates of Halifax will also be in town, pillaging and plundering their way along the boardwalk for most of the day.

In the evening at Fort Anne, the HMCS Acadia Sea Cadets will conduct Sunset Ceremonies beginning at 8:30 p.m., followed by a Candlelight Graveyard Tour scheduled to start at 9:15 p.m. The fireworks will also begin at 9:15 p.m. at the wharf, Conrad said, and there are lots of places along the waterfront for viewing both the tall ships and the fireworks.

With a history that dates to 1605, Annapolis Royal “has a very storied past” when it comes to tall ships and ship building, said  MacDonald, with ships sailing to Europe and Jamaica for hundreds of years from what is Canada’s oldest continuously inhabited settlement of European immigrants. It’s been about 10 years since a tall ship has visited the town, he added.