One-Tank Trip for May 9/15
By Jim Fox
Shiver me timbers – pirates are going invade Toronto’s waterfront later this month.
As well, the circus performers are coming to Harbourfront and puppets will perform in Stratford.
Arrr, landlubbers needn’t worry but head out with the kids to have their picture taken with the motley crew.
|Swashbuckling pirates are preparing to invade Toronto’s waterfront.
Kids can hop aboard an inflatable bouncy pirate ship for a day of fun during Gangways Open presented by the Waterfront Business Improvement Area (BIA) on May 23 and 24 from noon until 5 p.m.
It’s part of Doors Open Toronto that includes free boat rides, guided deck tours of ships and a chance to see the William Lyon Mackenzie fire boat in action.
Visitors can “see and experience the excitement of the waterfront,” said Carol Jolly, BIA executive director.
They can tour the numerous ships docked along the water’s edge and “encounter swashbuckling pirates as they make their way along Toronto’s waterfront sharing their loot,” she added.
The huge pirate ship is lots of bouncy fun with a slide into the belly of the vessel.
Harbourfront Centre Sailing & Powerboating will offer free boat rides along with discount rentals of canoes and paddleboats on the Natrel Pond.
|Visitors can tour ships including the Great Lakes Schooner Company’s Obsession III at Gangways Open.
Twelve of the waterfront’s most distinctive ships will be open for free tours showing the rich history of the popular charter boat business.
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), said publicist Peter Ashworth.
Visitors can meet firefighters and tour the Toronto Fire & Marine Station where there will be activities for children and rescue demonstrations.
That’s where the William Lyon Mackenzie fireboat, built in 1964 by Russel Brothers Shipyard in Owen Sound, is stationed.
|The William Lyon Mackenzie fire boat will put on a show in Toronto.
It provides marine fire protection, search and rescue on Lake Ontario, as well as ice-breaking capabilities for Toronto’s ferries and the islands.
At the Toronto Police Marine Unit, visitors can see the fleet used in rescue and response calls on the waterways.
Inside the nine-slip boathouse is a 1939 Taylorcraft mahogany vessel, once used by the Toronto Harbour Police, that now transports dignitaries during special occasions.
For more information: waterfrontbia.com; (416) 596-9821
Doors Open Toronto offers “free and rare access” to 155 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings, and walking tours. toronto.ca/doorsopen
In conjuction with the weekend activities, the Westin Harbour Castle hotel has a family-getaway package.
The waterfront hotel package includes overnight accommodations for family of four (two double beds), breakfasts, valet parking and a Westin Kids Club amenity.
Rates are from $214 a room for arrivals from May 21 to 23. westinharbourcastletoronto.com; 1-866-716-8101
Step right up
Hurry, hurry, Harbourfront Centre presents the free “fascinating, freaky” Toronto International Circus Festival from May 16 to 18.
Co-produced with Zero Gravity Circus, it “promises the fascinating spectacle of the circus for those curious enough to venture through,” said Allison Cummings, festival programmer.
|The circus is coming to town at Harbourfront in Toronto.
“This year we really wanted to celebrate all aspects of circus culture and inspire kids to really feel they’ve run away with us to the circus,” she added.
From the traditional to the strange sideshows, there’s the Petless Petting Zoo, Sweet Variety of Circus on the Stage in the Round and Corpus Dance Projects Camping Royale.
Zero Gravity features “daring and mesmerizing” circus professionals in aerial acrobatics, comical antics and high-powered acrobatic dance.
Sideshow Alley has five contemporary artists while Wow Hoop Vau Vanne Baby Circus from Finland is for infants 18 months and younger. harbourfrontcentre.com; (416) 973-4600
A puppet festival for families is part of this year’s SpringWorks 2015, Stratford’s indie theatre and arts festival.
In its fifth season now through May 17, there are more than 100 events.
|Mike Petersen will put on the Punch and Judy puppet show in Stratford.
Puppet Festival Family Weekend on May 16 and 17 has shows, workshops and events at five venues around town.
Included are the Good Old-Fashioned Punch and Judy Show by Mike Petersen, highlighting more than 350 years of puppet history.
Others are Squirrel Stole My Underpants; Pandora’s Box; Sleeping Prince; Arbre and Inukshuk; Mask Messenger; Loki’s Big Dream; and the Great Red Ball Rescue. springworksfestival.ca
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com
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