It’s an understatement to say that I’m tired after the four-day-long event that is Port Colborne Canal Days. There is so much to see and do that it’s a challenge to see everything.
The fact that we live in Port Colborne is quite helpful during a multi-day festival such as this. You’d think that an event that brings in more than 300,000 people to our 19,000 resident city that I would’ve heard more noise. But I didn’t. When I opened my front door, living just a handful of blocks away from the actual event, I could pick up some live music and maybe the toot of a boat horn but altogether it was quite peaceful.
For Canal Days, Dan and I tried to use our bicycles as much as possible. All of the events are pretty close together, but when you are walking around so much it’s nice to have a bicycle to carry you in between areas. An added bonus was that we could pop back home quickly for small breaks.
Speaking of the events, I can say for certain that we didn’t get to see everything we wanted. There was SO much going on and even writing out a schedule (I get an ‘A’ for organization), it was impossible to be everywhere. The variety was terrific as well.
Canal Days is a Marine Heritage Festival and although it definitely had a marine theme, it wasn’t the only thing you’d find. It lasts for four days (Friday through Monday) and most events are free (including shuttles).
Can I just say how impressed I am with the music selection at Canal Days?! Of course I can, this is written and you can’t really stop me (na-na na-na boo-boo). The Trews, The Stanfields, Poor Young Things, Sloan, David Wilcox, Rikers and many others made their way to the main stage and performed for screaming crowds. And if getting your groove on was important, there was an all-ages Much Music Video Dance Party set up at Seaway Park.
And if getting your groove on was important, there was an all-ages Much Music Video Dance Party set up at Seaway Park.
A small tent towards the very end of the row hosted Jay Cochrane. He’s here in Niagara performing in Skywalk 2012. Our very own Port Colborne mayor, Vance Badawey, showed off his wirewalk skills by completing the entire cable.
One of the key features are the tall ships tours. You can walk onto the ships and see for yourself how magnificent these boats are. I felt kind of like a pirate when I was on board. Don’t worry, I didn’t make Dan walk the plank.
During our biking around, we managed to grab the War of 1812 re-enactment show that happened at HH Knoll Park. After the cannon fire I lost partial use of my left ear for about an hour. My fault for taking pictures too close but it was worth it. The battle was between the 2nd Lincoln Regiment of Foot and the 104th New Brunswick Regiment of Foot.
This same park was host to a spectacular kite show the following day. To be honest, kites sound kind of dumb to most adults but these kites are a little different than the ones you so desperately tried to get off the ground as a kid. These kites are huge and unique. Some were choreographed and others battled. They even had kites flying the night before with built-in lights. It’s pretty cool.
We spent quite a bit of time at the Port Colborne Historical & Marine Museum this year. We missed it last year and made sure it was at the top of our list this time. It’s almost a festival within a festival. Remember the Antique Power festival we wrote about awhile back? They had a mini version at the museum along with many other features. We watched a remote control model boat show, toured the 1850 log home of John and Sally Sherk, watched a blacksmith at work, viewed historical garments of years long past and had afternoon tea with biscuits at Arabella’s Tea Room.
Sunday evening is probably the most crowded because no matter what you came for during the Canal Days, most people don’t want to miss the boat parade and fireworks. So the boat parade isn’t just a normal parade. It’s actually a floating parade of boats adorned with twinkle lights. Cool, huh?
I will go on record saying that Port Colborne puts on one of the finest fireworks shows I have ever seen. We have been to several of their shows but this was actually our first Canal Days fireworks show. It was a party for your eyes, that’s for sure. The whole show lasted around 15 minutes and featured some incredible displays, including a heart and a smiley face. The people behind this show, RedBoss Pyrotechnicians, really deserve some recognition. You need to see it in person to truly enjoy it.
At the end of this all, I am wiped. It’s been four long but great days. In fact, here is my artistic rendition of what I probably look like right now. It can also serve as proof of why Dan is the artist for our online comic Wumpyre.
So I could talk your ear off about Canal Days, but it’s really best if you go for yourself next year. Bring the whole family and make a weekend of it. I know you will enjoy it!