Toronto

Crew of 33 sails across North Atlantic ocean in reconstructed Viking ship

A floating museum is awaiting visitors to Toronto's harbour this weekend — an enormous replica of a Viking ship that sailed across the North Atlantic following the same route the Vikings took more than a thousand years ago.

Crew on board of replica Viking ship had no showers, slept in a tent

The Draken Harald Hårfagre, set sail from Haugesund, Norway, on April 23. (CBC News/Jonathan Castell)

A floating museum is awaiting visitors to Toronto's harbour this weekend — an enormous replica of a Viking ship that sailed across the North Atlantic following the same route the Vikings took more than a thousand years ago.

The ship, christened the Draken Harald Hårfagre, is visiting the city along with a fleet of international tall ships, as part of the Redpath Waterfront Festival taking place from Friday to Sunday at HTO Park on Queens Quay West.

The Draken looks much like the Viking ships that terrorized Europe and explored the northeast coast of North America a millennium ago. But the similarities go well beyond how the ship looks. According to its crew of 33, the two-month trip was very much like those Viking voyages of centuries ago.

"It was quite tough and rough," said Charlie Gicquel, one of the sailors. "It was cold, wet, icy and windy, but we also got good weather sometimes." 

The crew had no showers and no shelter other than a tent where no more than 24 people could sleep at a time.

The sailors rotated between four hours of sleep and four hours of work during their journey.

The crew on the Draken had no showers and no shelter other than a tent where no more than 24 people could sleep at a time. (CBC News/Jonathan Castell)

The ship set sail from Haugesund, Norway, on April 23. It made stops along the way including in the Faroe Islands, as well as Reykjavik, Iceland and Qaqortoq, Greenland, before arriving in L'Anse aux Meadows, N.L.

The Draken crew includes sailors from Canada, Norway, Sweden, the U.S., Estonia, Russia, Spain, France and the U.K. The crew was chosen from more than 4,000 applicants worldwide. 

The ship made several stops in Quebec, including Quebec City and Montreal, before arriving in Toronto.

It will set sail once again in a few days to make more stops in the Great Lakes region throughout July and August. 

The Draken joins a fleet of international tall ships that are on display this weekend at the Redpath Waterfront Festival. (CBC News/Jonathan Castell)