Sunday, July 24, 2005

"And a ship with eight sails could come 'round the bend..."

The Gloria

Five years ago, I was living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was between my first and second years of grad school. It was an exciting summer - it started with having my gall bladder removed, winning a scholarship to go to the CLA conference in Edmonton, and having my family come visit me. It was also the summer the Tall Ships 2000 came to Halifax.

Tall Ships 2000 was a type of race, featuring tall ships from around the world. They started from London, England or Barcelona, Spain, sailed to Bermuda, then Boston, MA, Halifax, NS, and then to Amsterdam. They were in Halifax between July 19-July 24, and the city swelled to twice its size to accommodate the tourists. There was not a hotel room to be had in the city or surrounding area - I heard of people staying as far away as Moncton, which is about 5 hours from Halifax. It was a big party - wandering the streets, you would encounter sailors from exotic climes, wearing colourful and, in some cases, elaborate uniforms. One such encounter involved a group of sailors from the Captain Miranda, with their long daggers. (The CM became known for having the biggest parties - they sailed into harbor blasting South American music.)

I lived about three blocks from the harbor, and was able to walk down whenever I felt like it. I happened to run into my aunt and uncle down there on the Saturday, and spent the day and most of the evening doing the tourist thing with them. On Sunday, my grandparents and several aunts, uncles, and cousins went out on my cousin's boat to see the ships from the water. It was an absolute zoo - everyone with any type of watercraft was out there, from fishing boats, kayaks, and yachts, to jetskis and houseboats. On Monday, the day the ships were leaving, pretty much everyone in the city was given the day off* to go down and watch the Parade of Sails. I was lucky enough to get a spot near the CBC broadcast booth, and heard about the ships as they sailed past.

Well, that was five years ago today. To commemorate the event, I scanned some of the pictures I took that weekend (grand total: five rolls of film). The rest are available here.

*Technically, I didn't get the day off. I had a meeting at 9am which took about an hour. After that, I ran home, changed, and ran down to the harbor. After it was over, I ran home again, got changed back into work clothes, and ran back to work. Since I worked in an office by myself, no one was the wiser.