Saturday 18 August 2012


As long as I've been going to Canal Days in Port Colborne, the tall ship EMPIRE SANDY has been there. The former 200' deep sea tug was built in 1943 and served in WWII for the British Admiralty. Now based in Toronto, the converted schooner has been providing chartered tours for the public on Lakes Ontario and Erie since 1982. My wife and I took an excursion around the bay on the SANDY in 2009 during Canal Days. Last time I was on that side of the Welland Canal entrance breakwall, was back in the 60's on the RCSCC sailing cutter VALIANT. The VALIANT was a converted lifeboat that had a drop keel, a cabin and a main and a jib for sails. It wasn't the fastest boat afloat but it was a lot fun.
Meanwhile, some may consider the SANDY as a glorified 'party boat', but she was a huge prop in the 1999 made for HBO movie 'VENDETTA'. Based on actual events, the historic city of Kingston ON, the Royal Military College located there, and the SANDY were made up to look like the 1891 port of New Orleans. In the one opening scene, the EMPIRE SANDY is arriving at the late 19th century looking RMC jetty with a boatload of immigrants from Italy. In that scene, you'll see my son, Andrew who as an extra, played a very young Don Corleone, eagerly making his way off the SANDY, and the wharf and onto the land of opportunity and free enterprise. 
To prevent myself from being 'wacked' anytime soon, I may have exaggerated slightly about my son playing the future 'Godfather', but here's Andrew in authentic looking attire (nice hat) next to Clancy Brown (Shawshank Redemption) and actress, Laura Snedden (other gigs unknown). Other unknowns in the flick, were Christopher Walken, Kenneth Walsh, and Joaquim de Almeida. I maybe prejudiced, but I believe it was my son's part and the EMPIRE SANDY that made the movie. Judge for yourself!! c);-b

UPDATE - 18.08.2023

Though no exclusion around the bay this time, I did catch EMPIRE SANDY meet the gone but not forgotten Algoma self unloader ALGOSTEEL while attending the 2013 Brockville Tall Ships Tour. She was tied off with the brigantine-rigged sail training vessel ST. LAWRENCE II at the Brockville Tall Ships Tour last year tour too. 

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