1812: The Celebration Continues with Tall Ships

Posted April 3, 2013  by Brock Press

The celebration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 is far from over. This summer you can experience the Bicentennial anniversary of the historic war in a number of ways.

In Port Dalhousie, at the north end of St. Catharines, the Tall Ships event is set to take place from June 29 to July 1. If you are staying in the Niagara area for the summer, this is a must-see event.

The sailing vessels “Pride of Baltimore II”, “Lynx” and “Unicorn” will be sailing down from Toronto and into Port Dalhousie Harbour on June 28 for the event the following day. The “Pride of Baltimore” and “Lynx” are replicas of War of 1812 naval vessels and the “Unicorn” has an all-female crew that is composed from active military personnel.

The “Pride of Baltimore II” is a replica of an 1812-era topsail schooner privateer. It is an American vessel that is a symbol for Maryland’s great natural resources and the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay region. The ship serves as a reminder of the war as well as a reminder of America’s rich maritime heritage. The non-profit maritime institution that runs the ship remains dedicated to the living history of that era and honouring Maryland seafarers. The original “Pride of Baltimore” was sunk by a white squall off the coast of Puerto Rico in 1986. The replica was commissioned just two years later in 1988 and has since visited 200 ports in 40 countries around the World.

The “Lynx” is an interpretation of another privateer named “Lynx” that was built by Thomas Kemp in 1812 in Fell’s Point, Maryland. At the start of the War of 1812, the American Navy only consisted of about 17 ships. Private vessels like the “Lynx” were granted special permission to prey upon enemy ships and were therefore called “privateers”. Almost a legal kind of pirate. So, the men aboard these vessels harassed the English merchants and hampered the English war efforts and took pressure off the small American Navy. The original ‘Lynx” was captured early in the war, but the ship served as a model for those who followed.

Now the “Unicorn” may remind you of The Adventures of Tintin and the Secret of the Unicorn. However, you won’t find Tintin or Captain Haddock on this vessel. The “Unicorn” is renowned as the World’s only all-female crewed tall ship. The ship was built in Holland in 1947 from German U-boat scrap metal and now serves as an on-board leadership program for teenage girls and women. Originally, it was built as a fishing vessel, but it has been re-mastered into a beautiful schooner. She was once briefly named “True North” when under the ownership of a Canadian couple, the ship has had plenty of different names and a rich history.

Come out and see the tall ships in all their glory this summer, and be sure to look out for more events to commemorate the War of 1812.