Tall Ships will sail despite construction around harbour

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Tall Ships will sail despite construction around harbour

Organizers of a regatta that will bring 30 tall ships to Halifax this summer are taking steps to make things easier for pedestrians near a construction zone on the waterfront.

Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta is working with Halifax Transit to provide shuttles to bypass the construction. There will also be a "road train," or vehicle-powered open carriage, along Lower Water Street.

A floating boardwalk will allow pedestrians to cross the water from the Cable Wharf to the wharf in front of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Ferries will run to McNabs Island and Georges Island, where concerts and picnics will take place.

Detours are "just another way to keep the experience positive," said Jennifer Angel, acting president and CEO of the Waterfront Development Corporation, at a news conference Wednesday.

Major construction project underway

Work has already begun on a massive development on a five-acre site next to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. The Queen's Marque project will include a hotel, luxury condos, office, commercial and public space. The $200-million development is expected to be completed in 2019.

The Tall Ships Regatta is a race organized by Sail Training International. About 30 wooden ships from all over the world will visit Halifax and 10 other ports in Nova Scotia from July 29 to Aug. 1.

The CBC will be presenting free concerts, including appearances by Natalie MacMaster and Symphony Nova Scotia. Cannons and fireworks on July 29 will commemorate Canada's 150th anniversary. 

More visitors expected this year

"This summer the world is coming to Nova Scotia and we will showcase our province," said provincial Tourism Minister Mark Furey. "Our artists, our musicians, our boat builders, our seafood producers and many others will join forces to celebrate our maritime culture and show the world what makes our province so special." 

The last time the regatta came to Halifax, said Angel, "in the neighbourhood of 300,000 to 600,000" people came to see it. She said because of events celebrating Canada's sesquicentennial and the number of ships at the regatta, "we can fully expect more people this year."

Angel said the construction, though inconvenient, will be good for Halifax in the long term, boosting tourism and the economy.

"It's yet another reason, in a few years, to come to Halifax."