Tall Ships gets funding boost

Mayor Mike Savage and city council approve $540,000 contribution to international nautical festival.

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The Bounty and Pride of Baltimore sail past the Halifax waterfront with a cannon salute during the parade of sail marking the end of the Tall Ships festival in 2012. - VIA ISTOCK
  • VIA iSTOCK
  • The Bounty and Pride of Baltimore sail past the Halifax waterfront with a cannon salute during the parade of sail marking the end of the Tall Ships festival in 2012.

Tall Ships will raise its sales with over half a million dollars in municipal funding.

Regional council voted Tuesday to increase Halifax’s contribution to the nautical festival—to a total of $540,000—at the request of mayor Mike Savage.

“It’s going to be spectacular for the city,” Savage told council. “This is one of the most significant events that’s going to happen to Canada this year, and it’s going to happen in Halifax.”

The municipality will play host to the final leg of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships sailing race later this summer. Some 30 ships from all over the world will pull into port from July 28 until August 1. Other events planned for the festival include a Georges Island dinner series, outdoor film screenings, Symphony Nova Scotia performances and four nights of fireworks.

“Bars will be jammed, restaurants will be jammed, people will be spending money and staying in town and we’re the one that are going to reap the benefits of it,” said councillor Lisa Blackburn.

The increased funding amount is $140,000 above staff’s recommendation, and just shy of the $600,000 originally asked for by the Waterfront Development Corporation.

The festival is already receiving $1.5 million in funding from the province and $1.5 million from the federal department of Canadian Heritage. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is also chipping in another $500,000.

At $4.7 million, this year’s Tall Ships has twice the budget of past festivals. But it’s also half the size of previous events; running for only five days with an anticipated attendance of 275,000 people.

“So we’re at the same level, or I guess more now with the $540,000, for a shorter event that’s going to have fewer people,” said Stephen Adams, who was the only councillor to vote against the motion.

Money HRM spends on the event will come out of the municipality’s hotel marketing levy. According to staff, it won’t have an impact on funding for any other festivals or events this year.

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