The Bluenose II is setting a course for Sarnia Bay.
The famous schooner depicted on the Canadian dime is one of at least six tall ships confirmed to attend the 2019 Sarnia Tall Ships Challenge.
The fleet of majestic sailing vessels will tie up in Centennial Park from Aug. 9-11, and crowds of up to 100,000 people could be on hand to see them and meet the crews.
The Picton Castle, a three-masted training vessel based in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and currently on its seventh voyage around the world, is also coming.
Other confirmed participants include the Empire Sandy, Denis Sullivan, Fair Jeanne and Appledore IV.
The city has agreed to underwrite the festival and contribute $30,000 US and Tourism Sarnia-Lambton has agreed to cover one-third of that.
Tickets to view the ships will be available in coming week. They will include general admission, deck tour tickets and exclusive sail-away tickets aboard the Empire Sandy, a 200-foot schooner that can carry up to 275 passengers.
With a budget of about $500,000 the festival could generate $3 million in economic activity for the community, City Hall estimates.
The event will be a great opportunity to “put the welcome mat out,” said Dave Brown, who co-chaired the 2000 Tall Ships Festival.
“Whether you’re young or slightly senior, everyone enjoys it. I think it’s going to be a home run for the community,” he said.
The tall ships coming from Canada, the U.S. and around the world are crewed by cadets and civilian enthusiasts under the command of professional captains and sailors.
Toronto, Midland, Kingsville and Brockville are the other anticipated Canadian ports of call, along with several U.S. cities.