For Immediate Release

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Toronto, ON – FREE family fun at Gangways Open on Toronto’s Waterfront presented by The Waterfront BIA as part of the 15th annual Doors Open Toronto presented by Great Gulf,  this May 24 and 25 from 10am until 5pm. NEW this year, learn the rich history of Toronto’s oldest running ferry the Trillium (built 1910) from Toronto historian Mike Filey and experience the hidden musical talent of Firesound,ahigh energy 9-piece band comprised ofToronto firefighters! Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the William Lyon Mackenzie Fire Boat with a tourat the Toronto Fire and Marine Station 334. Have a picture taken with pirates as they invade the waterfront. Queen’s Quay Terminal will feature Toronto on the Water, an exhibit of archival photographs showcasing the history of Toronto’s waterfront.  Vessels from Great Lakes Schooner Company, City View Cruise Lines, Mariposa Cruises, Nautical Adventures and Toronto Brigantine will be open to the public for guided deck tours. Visit www.waterfrontbia.com for more information.

“Toronto’s Waterfront has played an important role in the city’s development,” states Carol Jolly, Executive Director, The Waterfront BIA.  “Through Doors Open on Toronto’s Waterfront, visitors can see and experience the excitement of the Waterfront. Tour the William Lyon MacKenzie Fireboat at the Toronto Fire and Marine Station and the 13 ships docked along the water’s edge. Take an historical journey of Toronto on the Water through a unique photo exhibit in Queen’s Quay Terminal featuring over 100 archival images. Be serenaded by Pirates as they make their way along Toronto’s waterfront sharing their loot.”

NEW IN 2014 – ENJOY THE ROCK SOUNDS OF FIRESOUND, FEATURING TORONTO FIREFIGHTERS PERFORMING ON THE WESTJET STAGE AT 4:30PM!

See award-winning band Firesound, a group of talented Toronto firefighters, performing at 4:30pm daily on the WestJet Stage to raise awareness for Camp Bucko, a burn camp for children.

The band features a three-piece horn section and plays high energy pop, rock and soul music. Debuting in 2005 with the award-winning CD Burning Love, more than 30 Toronto firefighters donated their time and performed 15 fire themed songs including Disco inferno, Ring of Fire, Burn Baby Burn and many more with all proceeds donated to Camp Bucko. A handful of Firesound members were chosen to be on season one of the reality TV show Canada Sings! They sang and danced their way to first place and a prize of $10,000 for Camp Bucko. Firesound entertains and raises money for charities in and around the GTA including Muscular Dystrophy Canada and Firefighter Cancer research, to name a few. Learn more about Firesound by visiting www.firesound.ca.

NEW IN 2014 – HEAR PRESENTING SPEAKER AND NOTED TORONTO HISTORIAN MIKE FILEY IN THE BRIGANTINE ROOM, HARBOURFRONT CENTRE AT 12PM AND 2:30PM

Catch Mike Filey in the Brigantine Room, Harbourfront Centre at 12pm and 2:30pm daily for “Trillium and Toronto Island” a one-hour presentation featuring the history of the Toronto Islands and the Island ferry service from the early 1800s up to and including the present ferry fleet.

Learn about the restoration of the 1910 steam-powered ferry Trillium; the ferry that Babe Ruth took to and from his history making baseball game where he hit his first professional homerun, at Hanlan’s Point in September 1914. Trillium was saved from the wreckers to be resurrected in the mid-1970s and is still in service with the City of Toronto’s ferry fleet. Historically, Trillium is the only steam, side-paddle, double-end ferry in the world.

Through the use of rare, old photographs, combined with contrasting modern day images from similar vantage points, he shows the incredible changes our city has undergone over the decades. Special emphasis is placed on the evolution of the city’s waterfront from a time when Toronto’s southernmost limit was just south of Front Street to the present expanse of soaring condominium and office towers and of course, to the iconic CN Tower and Rogers Centre.

Born in Toronto in 1941, Mike Filey has spent a good number of years researching and recording the fascinating history of Toronto. His more than two dozen books are filled with stories of Toronto’s past, featuring landmarks, neighbourhoods, streetscapes and defining moments of the City. For almost 40 years, he has contributed to the Toronto Sunday Sun in a popular column entitled “The Way We Were” and can is on AM 740 radio at 12:30 each Saturday and Sunday.

TOUR THE PS TRILLIUM SIDE WHEELER PADDLE STEAMER FROM 10AM TO 3PM

The PS Trillium was constructed in 1910 at Polson Iron Works in Toronto, was re-constructed in Port Colborne in 1975 and continues to operate in the same rebuilt condition today. The Trillium is the last remaining side wheeler paddle steamer operating in North America and is located at the foot of Harbour Square Park at the base of Bay Street (25 Queens Quay W.). Author/Journalist Mike Filey will be on board to answer questions when he is not speaking in the Brigantine Room.

Visitors will meet crew members and be able to discuss the operation of the vessel. Guests will be welcome to photograph and film features of the vessel and crew. The boat is essential as a back-up for weekend transportation and will be added into service if needed.

AARGH MATEY! SINGING PIRATES INVADE TORONTO’S WATERFRONT FROM 10AM TO 5PM!

Avast ye swabs and hold on to your booty – there are Pirates on the loose! These swashbuckling Freebooters will be busy looting and plundering along the waterfront on Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25 from 10am to 5pm daily.

For all landlubbers brave enough to approach, these Pirates have a special giveaway to add to your treasure chest! If you fancy a ditty, lend an ear as our Singing Pirates belt out old sea shanties in three part harmony. Find them dockside and take a photo, brush up on your pirate facts, and learn about all the exciting features of Gangways Open. Bring your camera and your eye patch!

CELEBRATE THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE WILLIAM LYON MACKENZIE FIREBOAT WITH A TOUR AT TORONTO FIRE & MARINE STATION 334 FROM 10AM TO 5PM

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the William Lyon Mackenzie Fireboat. Named for Toronto’s first mayor, the Fireboat was built in 1964 by Russel Brothers Shipyard in Owen Sound, Ontario to provide marine fire protection, search and rescue on Lake Ontario, as well as ice breaking capabilities for Toronto’s ferries and the Islands. The Fireboat is docked at Toronto Fire & Marine Station 334 (339 Queen’s Quay West) and operates 12 months a year.

The Fireboat is 24 metres long and weighs approximately 150 tonnes with a Caterpillar Diesel engine producing 3,000 horsepower to achieve a top speed of 22 kilometres per hour. The vessel has a modified Tugboat hull and five tonne crane as well as five water nozzles that can pump 50,000 litres of water a minute. The vessel is also equipped with radar, echo sounder, radio and daytime accommodation for the off-duty shift. In 2004, the vessel completed a $1 million refurbishment that will extend the in-service life by approximately 30 years.  

TORONTO ON THE WATER, THE EXHIBIT RETURNS TO QUEEN’S QUAY TERMINAL

Visitors to Queen’s Quay Terminal can trace the visually stunning waterfront history through Toronto on the Water, a photo exhibit that features over 100 archival images on loan courtesy of Toronto Star Archives, Toronto Port Authority, City of Toronto Archives and Queen’s Quay Terminal. The exhibit will launch at Gangways Open Toronto and will remain on display throughout the main level of Queen’s Quay Terminal from May 24 until July 31.  Admission is FREE.

Relive memories of Toronto’s vibrant waterfront at Toronto on the Water.  See images of: the Trillium (c. 1931, City of Toronto Archives); the start of the Marathon swim competition at the CNE (1932, Toronto Star Archives); Aerial view of the construction of the Gardiner Expressway (1963, Toronto Star Archives) and Taxicabs and a streetcar at Queen’s Quay Ferry Dock (1931, City of Toronto Archives) to name a few.

Toronto’s rich history comes alive before your eyes at Toronto on the Water!

GUIDED TOURS OF 13 OF THE WATERFRONT’S MOST DISTINCTIVE SHIPS FROM 10AM TO 5PM

NEW guided tours! The charter boat business is one of the main tourism attractions at the Toronto Waterfront and has a rich history. The 13 participating ships will open their doors (and their gangways!) for FREE public dockside tours. The ships along the dock walls will be open for viewing from 10am to 5pm, subject to availability.

Visit ships from the Great Lakes Schooner Company (Challenge, Kajama, and Obsession III), City View Cruise Lines (Ste. Marie), Mariposa Cruises (Captain Matthew Flinders, Klancy II, Northern Spirit, Oriole, Rosemary and Showboat), Nautical Adventures (Empire Sandy) and Toronto Brigantine Tall Ships (Pathfinder and Playfair).

About Doors Open Toronto:
Since its inception in 2000, Doors Open Toronto has attracted more than two million visits to nearly 600 unique locations across the city.  It is Canada’s largest Doors Open event and one of the three largest Doors Open events in the world. Doors Open Toronto is dedicated to built heritage, architecture and design. It is sponsored by Great Gulf and produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the broader community. Doors Open Toronto features more than 155 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city.  This year’s theme is Secrets & Spirits…Exploring the Mysteries Behind the Door.  A complete list of venues for 2014 will be released in late April. Updates will be available at toronto.ca/DoorsOpen, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DoorsOpenTO and on Twitter at Twitter.com/DoorsOpenTO or by calling 311.

About The Waterfront BIA:

A stone’s throw from Toronto’s downtown and financial core, The Waterfront BIA encompasses the exciting heart of the City’s central waterfront with Lake Ontario and the Toronto Islands forming a spectacular backdrop for the area’s countless attractions. Stay in one of our relaxing hotels, The Westin Harbour Castle or Radisson Admiral Hotel, take in a dynamic theatrical performance, wander through our galleries and studios or attend one of the vibrant cultural festivals year-round. Stroll Queen’s Quay Terminal and visit our many unique shops, then enjoy a delicious dinner at one of our fabulous restaurants. Looking for recreation? Play in the parks, stroll the revitalized promenades, skate on the outdoor rink, rent a bicycle, canoe, kayak, sailboat or power boat. Indulge in a cruise on one of our fine charter vessels and enjoy Toronto’s spectacular city skyline from the water. There is no end to the activity on the Waterfront!

 

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