There's nothing better than visiting Canalside when a big ship has arrived. We all love the concerts, and the Saturday Artisan Market and the kayak rentals, but there's something about seeing a giant tall ship tied up to the Central Wharf that puts it all into perspective. From August 6-8, The Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation are rolling out the welcome matt for Empire Sandy, Canada's largest sailing tall ship. Up until this point, we've seen some good sized schooners such as the Edith M. Becker
land in Buffalo, which is great. At the same time, there's nothing quite like a tall ship to get your nautical senses reeling.
It won't be long before the 200 foot authentic replica of a 19th-century three-masted schooner, with 11,000 square feet of sail, weighing 740 tons, with double cannons on deck will arrive to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812 and Star Spangled Banner. "The Naval & Military Park received a grant to bring Canada's Empire Sandy to Buffalo as part of our War of 1812 Bicentennial celebration," said Park Executive Director Patrick Cunningham. "Having a ship of this size and illustrious history will draw thousands of people and excitement to Buffalo's waterfront."
Empire Sandy's history is described as follows:
The Empire Sandy is the last of 1,464 "Empire" ships built or acquired for war service during WWII that is still serving with her original name. Originally a British deep sea tug, the Empire Sandy was tasked with Royal Navy work and salvaging merchant ships damaged in the Battle of the Atlantic and other naval engagements in the North Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. Three days before the Empire Sandy was to be broken up for scrap, Norm Rogers, founder of Nautical Adventures, borrowed the money to recreate the ship into an authentic 1800s-style tall ship. Today the Empire Sandy is a charter vessel out of Toronto, catering to public cruises, parties and appearances at many festivals along the Great Lakes.
*Dockside tours will be available on Tuesday, August 7 from noon-9pm and on Wednesday, August 8 from noon-5pm. Tickets are $5 per person. Children age 12 and under are free. A VIP party with food, drink and music will be held onboard August 8 from 6-8:30pm. Tickets are $30 per person and $50 per couple. To purchase tickets for the dockside tours and VIP party, stop by the Naval & Military Park Gift Shop, call 716-847-1773 x10 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
. (The Empire Sandy has a 275-person capacity.)
More information about the Empire Sandy can be found at empiresandy.com. More information about the Naval & Military Park's Bicentennial celebration can be found at buffalonavalpark.org. For a complete list of 2012 Canalside summer programming visit www.eriecanalharbor.com