FREE on Sunday Mornings in the Harbour, come on down and enjoy watching the harbour ferries do their little water dance!
The Victoria Harbour Ferry is in its 22nd year of performing The Harbour Ferry Ballet on the waters of Victoria’s inner harbour. The ballet that began in 1993 as a 10 minute performance to entertain guests and locals and to showcase the agility of the sweet little pickle boats and has become an icon of the City’s harbour, alongside the Empress Hotel, the Parliament buildings and the hub of tourist activity, the Causeway.
Every Sunday morning from May to September, and every Saturday morning in July and August, the little boats line up at 10:45 AM, in front of the Victoria Causeway in front of the Empress Hotel and begin their dance. You will never see a ballet like this one anywhere else in the world, as the proud little ships and a proud team of Harbour Ferry Captains seek to entertain everyone who looks on.
When the charming little green boats were originally brought to Victoria in 1990, the Skippers were amazed at their manoeuvrability, so pulling together the first “ballet” harnessed the fascination of pushing the adorable and functional boats to their limits, while not having any passengers on board.
Thanks Ross for the awesome footage!
The original manoeuvres of the dancing boats were new and complex and certainly not anything that anyone had ever seen performed on the water. The Harbour Ferry Captains who volunteered to become ‘ballerinas’ back in 1993 had no idea just how big their little performance would become. However, what they quickly became aware of was that they needed practice and lots of it and that they needed to start learning on shore.
Back in 1993 if you walked by the Westbay Marina parking lot you would often see five men, all over 50, in Harbour Ferry uniforms, walking around the parking lot, practicing their ballet moves. These were brave men indeed since they were subject then and still are now, to a little teasing from their fellow Captains.
Today the ballet performance is still 10 minutes in length. There are now five boats in the performance and the ‘dance steps’ have become much more complex are based on a combinations of military marching manoeuvres, a few RCMP Musical Ride manoeuvres and a touch of choreography from the minds of the Ballet Leader and even a professional ballet choreographer.
The Victoria Harbour Ferry Water Ballet has always been performed to the music of the Blue Danube Waltz and with over 300 performances to date, it has been the subject of tens of thousands holiday photos and featured in news articles, magazine stories, and TV shows from as far away as Australia.
Ballet Captains can be spotted in their new red jackets and shirts that proudly display the Harbour Ferry Ballet crest.
In 2010 the Ballet was performed at the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy, celebrated by the members of CFB Esquimalt and the City of Victoria on May 4th, 2010.
This year the last harbour ferry ballet will be on Sunday, September 28th.