Canalside Welcomes the Pride of Baltimore II

June 29, 2011 Updated Jun 29, 2011 at 6:38 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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June 29, 2011 Updated Jun 29, 2011 at 6:38 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- The Pride of Baltimore II, the world’s most traveled tall ship, arrived at Canalside on Wednesday and was greeted by Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Chairman Jordan Levy, Congressman Brian Higgins, County Executive Chris Collins and Mayor Byron Brown.

The Pride II arrived in Buffalo Harbor and was met by a flotilla that included the Spirit of Buffalo and the Edward M. Cotter. Following a dramatic cannon fire salute, the ships made their way into Erie Canal Harbor. Canalside will be hosting the Pride II, an authentic reproduction of a 19th Century 157’ topsail schooner, during the Independence Day weekend, June 29 to July 4. The Pride II is on its “2011 Star Spangled Tour” and will be available for dockside tours and daysails.

“What a terrific day for Buffalo,” said Levy. “The Pride of Baltimore II is a beautiful vessel that has visited over 200 ports in 40 countries and she will spend Independence Day here with us. This is exactly the sort of authentic experience that the public has been asking for. The combination of this ship with the historic Central Wharf and Commercial Slip make for an experience without equal in Western New York. I welcome the Pride II, her captain and crew and encourage everyone to come to Canalside to experience this remarkable ship.”

"The work we are doing here on the waterfront is drawing new people and opportunities to the water's edge and continuing to build Buffalo as an attractive destination," said Congressman Higgins. "The Pride of Baltimore II is another great feature adding to the public excitement at Canalside this summer."

“All of Erie County welcomes the Pride of Baltimore II to Buffalo’s beautiful shoreline,” said Erie County Executive Chris Collins. “A ship of this kind speaks to the history that is at the heart of Canalside, and we are grateful to have her docked in the Inner Harbor as part of our Independence Day weekend activities on the waterfront.”

The Pride of Baltimore II is traveling throughout the Great Lakes region this summer, working with the Maryland Office of Tourism and Visit Baltimore to promote Star-Spangled 200, the celebration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. Visitors to Pride of Baltimore II will be greeted with banners and pennants that highlight Maryland’s pivotal role in the War of 1812 and the events and programs taking place during Star-Spangled 200, including Star-Spangled Spectacular events in 2012 and 2014 featuring tall ships and naval vessels from around the world.

The arrival of the Pride II kicks off the summer programming season at Canalside. Beginning today and continuing through September 5, there will be at least one activity per day, in some cases as many as five, offered at Canalside. Based on public input, the Cultural advisory committee, led by Maureen Hurley, placed an emphasis on telling “The Story of Buffalo.”

In addition to the Pride II, other authentic experiences will include historic re-enactors, puppets, a play about the building of the Erie Canal and a series of free concerts that detail the history of Buffalo and the Erie Canal through story and song. These cultural offerings join Buffalo Place Rocks the Harbor, a six week series of Thursdays at the Square relocated to Canalside, health and wellness classes, water activities and children’s programs for a season of over 300 events.

Pride of Baltimore II was commissioned in 1988 as a sailing memorial to her immediate predecessor, the original Pride of Baltimore, which was tragically sunk by a white squall off Puerto Rico in 1986, taking her captain and three crew members down with her.

Both ships were built in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore as reproductions of 1812-era topsail schooners, the sleek sailing vessels used as privateers during the War of 1812. Pride II’s slim, sleek hull shape and sharp, rakish silhouette echo the spirit of initiative and enterprise of the citizens of our fledgling nation.

Since her commissioning, Pride II has sailed over 250,000 nautical miles, and visited more than 200 ports in 40 countries in North, South, and Central America; Europe; and Asia, including China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. She represents a unique period in America’s history – the “second fight for independence” from Great Britain and the growth of self-sufficiency, highlighting the defense of Baltimore during the Battle of Fort McHenry and Francis Scott Key’s writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Pride II last visited Buffalo in 1993. This 2011 appearance marks Pride of Baltimore II’s eighth visit to the Great Lakes region. She travels with a crew of 12 professionals. All are well versed in U.S. Maritime history, privateers and life at sea and come from all over the country for an opportunity to sail on a traditional vessel.

Information on the Pride II, including information on dockside tours, and prices for daysails can be found at www.2.org.