Hamilton’s War of 1812 commemorations will take on a maritime flair this weekend, as six tall ships from around the world will come into port on Friday will be open for tours on Saturday and Sunday.

The festivities kick off on Friday afternoon, as the fleet of seafaring vessels arrive in the Hamilton Harbour amid big fanfare.

The procession, running from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m, will culminate with cannon fire salutes and speech by Mayor Bob Bratina, greeting the ships as they come into dock at Pier 8, their home base for the rest of the weekend.

According to event organizers, the best vantage point for viewing the Parade of Sail will be: La Salle and Bayshore parks in Burlington; the Burlington Canal; and the Bayfront and Pier 4 parks and Pier 8, all in Hamilton.


The Brig Niagara is one of the tall ships that will be docked at Pier 8 this weekend. (Supplied)

Seadogs and landlubbers alike will have the opportunity board the ships on Saturday and Sunday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Deck tours cost $10 per person, and children under five get in for free.

The Liana’s Ransom, a three-masted schooner that operates out of the British Virgin Islands, will be taking guests on 1.5-hour cruises around the harbour, with departures throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for children under five.

Tickets for the deck tours are available online at 1812hamilton.com, at the Tourism Hamilton visitor’s centre in the Lister Block (28 James St. N), at Hamilton-area Scotiabank locations, and will also be available dockside. Tickets for the cruise on Liana’s Ransom are also available on event’s website.

History and arts

Pier 8 will be transformed into a festival of arts, culture and historical interpretation this weekend to coincide with the naval displays.

An eclectic mix of musical acts, including Hamilton indie rockers Young Rival, South African-Canadian R&B singer Zaki Ibrahim and bluesman Harrison Kennedy will play the Waterfront Stage at the pier’s southwest end. While the Dockside stage, located at the pier’s north end, will feature folkier fare.

The pier will also boast an arts and craft fair, an Amazing 1812 Race Game on giant map by led by historical interpreters, as well numerous vendors serving food and drink.

For a full schedule of events, go to 1812hamilton.com

Transportation and parking

The city has outlined several options for getting to and from the event.

A limited amount of paid parking ($5 per car) will be available near Pier 8, at Dock Service Road and Catharine Street North.

More parking (also $5 per car) is available nearby at Eastwood Park, on Burlington Street East at Ferguson Avenue North. A free shuttle will run between the park and Pier 8.