Tall ships invade Victoria for weekend festival

VICTORIA — The names sound like gentle, lilting seas: Grail Dancer, Rejoice, Maple Leaf, Pacific Grace.

But the sight of the tall ships is big drama, rising on the horizon like a row of trumpets, transporting the crowd into a fantasy of taking one of these vessels to some far continent.

The Tall Ships Festival arrived, punctuated by cannon blasts, in North America at noon Thursday with the 25-ship Parade of Sail into Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

Despite a stiff, cold wind off the waves, a procession of people lined up on the breakwater at Ogden Point to see the ships come in.

From today will be three days of tall revelry: topsail schooners, ketches, brigs and the U.S. Coast Guard Eagle, a 295-foot barque in a port filled with live music from all hemispheres, nautical children’s activities, an art market and “History Bites,” historical food samples from early Jewish treats to Gold Rush fare.

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