Category Archives: About Tall Ships

Christian Radich and movie Windjammer was the inspiration for TBI

It was the sail training vessel Christian Radich featured in the movie Windjammer that inspired the Lorriman’s to create a tall ship sail training program for Toronto … and the founding of Toronto Brigantine Inc.

Here is the trailer for the movie Windjammer.

From Paul Clarke’s “Toronto Brigantine Incorporated, May 1962 to May 1980” written in 1980,

The specific event that caused Toronto Brigantine to come into being occured during the Christmas Holidays of 1960. It was during that time, that a Toronto businessman, Mr J. G. Lorriman, and his family went to see a film then playing in the Toronto area theatres which vividly depicted the life aboard the great Norwegian training ship, the square-rigged CHRISTIAN RADICH” It was that film which sparked the idea, and according to Mr Lorriman, at that time he though “it was too bad there wasn’t a similar type of training available in Canada”.

It was the inspiration from this movie that started the almost two year process that lead to the Laying of the Pathfinder Keel on November 10, 1962.

Christian Radich came to Toronto in the summer of 1964 and the crews of Pathfinder and Christian Radich were able to exchange experiences.  That was TBI’s first official Summer Program.

Later in 1970, when John Clinton, Toronto Brigantine’s first Deep Sea Award winner went to the UK on his tall ship crew exchange, he also had the opportunity to sail on the CHRISTIAN RADICH.

The crew of Pathfinder and Playfair were able to meet up with the Christian Radich again when they were all in New York for OpSail ’76.

For more information about Toronto Brigantine’s youth sail training program, check out our website.

Whats in store for you on Toronto Brigantine’s tall ship sail training program

 Building Character through Adventure

For all the other young future tall ship sailors that missed out this year’s Summer Program, there is always next year … and you can sign up now for the Winter Program which starts in October.

Participants in the Winter program work on the vessels and get a head start on training for the Summer season.  Participation in the winter program is required for promotion to one of the youth officer positions aboard our brigantines. Both the Summer and Winter Programs are eligible for Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards program and may also be eligible for high school credits.  

Check out this video about all that is in store for all you teenagers age 13 to 18 at Toronto Brigantine.

[the video was posted on youtube by nbt3020 April 30, 2010 –  The video was made by TBI parent and long time supporter Barb Murck. The music in the video is used by the permission of Great Big Sea.]

Toronto Brigantine offers Winter Program, Summer Program, and during the shoulder season School Programs and Group Charters for the young at heart. 

The 2011 Summer Program schedule has been announced, and we are now accepting registrations.

Call us, to get information about Toronto Brigatine’s youth sail training program or to have us and some recent trainee alumni come to your social club, youth group or school to tell you more about the program. 

Toronto Brigantine Inc

413-215 Spadina Ave, Toronto ON M5T 2C7

tel: 416-596-7117 OR OR

Registered Canadian Charity 11926 5924 RR0001

A poem – Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again,
To the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship
And a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song
And a grey mist on the sea’s face,
And a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again,
For the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call
That may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day
With the white clouds flying,
And sea flung spray and the blown spume
And the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again,
To a vagrant gypsy life
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way,
Where the wind’s like a whetted knife,
All I ask is a merry yarn from
A laughing fellow rover,
And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream
When the long trick’s over.

– John Masefield –

And a version sent to song by Andy Vine

Parade Of Sails – Toronto Waterfront Festival Canada Day Long Weekend 2010

Toronto Brigantine’s Playfair and Pathfinder were both participants in the Redpath Toronto Waterfront Festival this Canada Day long weekend (July 2010).  The Toronto Waterfront Festival was the first port stop of the The Festival concluded with the traditional Parade of Sail which was recorded in this video.

 Jim Orgill, Toronto Brigantine’s friend and neighbourhood, took these excellent pictures of the boats on the Parade of Sail.  The Harbour was so crowded that day, the island ferries seemed to be adjusting course through the congestion.

Jim Orgill, Toronto Brigantine’s friend and neighbourhood, took these excellent pictures of the boats on the Parade of Sail.  The Harbour was so crowded that day, the island ferries seemed to be adjusting course through the congestion.


Here are the Toronto Brigantine’s Playfair and Pathfinder – the “little” Tall Ships compared to many of the others at the event –  looked mighty fine.

  Toronto Brigantine offered afternoon and evening sails throughout the Toronto Waterfront Festival. James Swartz participated in one of the sails. Here is a picture that he took of the Pathfinder between two of the “big guys”. We looked pretty.


We had prime location during the Toronto Waterfront Festival, berthed on either side of the Europa at H2O Park. My cousin Maryse, took this picture of the Pathfinder berthed next to the Europa.  The Europa is just a big bigger than the Pathfinder.

The Europa  seemed like the tallest ship at the Festival (although she technically wasn’t the longest). She was built in Hamburg in 1911. The Europa was the location for the Launch event for the Festival.  Several TBI crew and friends were fortunate to share the excitement of Netherland’s soccer win on Saturday evening!


Vessel Type Home Date built Sparred Length A link to their homepage
Europa Bark Amsterdam, The Netherlands 1911 185 feet link


Other neighbors in HTO Park included Appledore V, Denis Sullivan, Roald Amundsen and Roseway. Here one of the many pictures taken by Erin Short and posted on Flickr. Check them out.

We were lucky to have the Appledore V at the Toronto Waterfront Festival.

Many of the tall ships from Toronto will be meeting at her home port, along with the Appledore IV  in Bay City – the third port in the Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge 2010.   Perhaps we will see you in Bay City.

Trainees joining the Toronto Brigantine Summer Sail Course #2 will sail in Leg 1 of the Tall Ship Challenge 2010 from Toronto into Bay City. Course #3 of the Summer Sail Program will depart from Bay City sailing back up to Parry Sound through the North Channel and Georgian Bay.  


Vessel Type Home Date built Sparred Length A link to their homepage
Appledore V Gaff Topsail Schooner Bay City, MI 1992 65 feet Link


The Denis Sullivan is a replica of an 19th century Great Lakes Schooner.


Vessel Type Home Date built Sparred Length A link to their homepage
Denis Sullivan 3-masted Schooner Milwaukee, WI USA 2000 137 feet link


 The Brig Roald Amundsen was built in 1952 and services in the East Germany military until the early 1990s when she was converted to a training vessel, used to train about 400 people per year.


Vessel Type Home Date built Sparred Length A link to their homepage
Roald Amundsen Brig Eckernforde, Germany 1953 165 feet link


The Roseway was quite distinctive with their red sails.


Vessel Type Home Date built Sparred Length A link to their homepage
Roseway Schooner St. Croix, US Virgin Islands 1925 137 feet link


Then there was the  Unicorn. She  sails out of  New Jersey.  In addtion to corporate sail training, the Unicorn also has a Sisters Under Sail program which is a female only crew.  If I understand it correctly, both Toronto Brigantine captains Rhys Weed and Julian Schroer both sailed on the Unicorn before coming  after being trainees on TBI’s program and before joining up with Toronto Brigantine’s as our Captains.   


Here is another of the many pictures taken by Erin Short that shows the Playfair (Captain Rhsy Weed) with Unicorn and Empire Sandy sailing together in the Parade of Sail. The picture is one of a series of pictures that Erin Short posted on Flickr. Check them out.

Vessel Type Home Date built Sparred Length A link to their homepage
STV Unicorn(Sisters under Sail) Topsail Schooner Clinton, NJ USA 1947 188 feet link


The Bounty was way at the other end of the Queen’s Quay.  The Bounty is the star of many movies including “Pirates of the Carribean” and  “Mutiny of the Bounty” for which the ship was originally commissioned.


Vessel Type Home Date built Sparred Length A link to their homepage
HMS Bounty Full rigged Ship Long Island NY USA 1962 180 feet link


The Flagship Niagara was at the Toronto Waterfront Festival too. Their home port is Erie PA.

Both the Pathfinder and Playfair, along with numerous other tall ships, will be meeting in Erie, PA at the end of the summer for a Tall Ship festival there. Maybe we will see you there.

 The Tall Ship Erie 2010 event is to help with fundraising for the Niagara.   With the loss of some government funding for their program, fundraising is very important to the Niagara, hence the “Don’t Give Up the Ship” flag.


Vessel Type Home Date built Sparred Length A link to their homepage
Flagship Niagara Brig Erie, PAUSA 1911 198 feet link



Vessel Type Home Date built Sparred Length A link to their homepage
Pride of Baltimore Square Topsail Schooner Baltimore, MD USA 1988 170 feet link


Happy Canada Day! Here is a picture of the Fireworks taken by James Swartz while on the Toronto Brigantine Donor Recognition Sail. For more photos and art by James Swartz, check out his website.


We still have spots available in our summer sail program, so call today, to book a spot.

Happy Sailing and we look forward to seeing you around the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay this summer.

NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all photos shown on this posting were taken by Jim Orgill, a TBI friend and neighbour on the Toronto Waterfront.

Pathfinder enjoys a lovely June Weekend Sail



This weekend was a busy one – Toronto Brigantine celebrated the Blessing of the Fleet with many of this summers crew and their parents. We also announced the new promotions for the season and the winners of the Deep Sea Award, the Seamanship Award .  Mattheus Fackelmann won the Seamanship Award.  There were two Deep Sea Award winners  this year, Riley King and Theo Tsagaris. Celine Moore won the scholarship Award of $2,500 per year for up to four years, donated by Naval Officers Association of Canada.

All this while work continues on the Playfair to get the Seaman’s Mess rework completed in time for the Toronto Waterfront Festival on Canada Day long weekend and the start of the Summer sailing schedule.  

You will see a lot of the Pathfinder this next week or so … as the crew take the Pathfinder out for training runs – and special group sails like the Parents sails this weekend, some donor recognition sails next weekend, and several other group sails that have been booked between now and the Toronto Waterfront Festival!

 Toronto Brigantine friend and Toronto Harborfront neighbor, Jim Orgill, took the following pictures of the Pathfinder out for an evening sail.From Jim Orgill, Jun 20, 2010: I see your kids were out sailing on Pathfinder this evening [this was in the Toronto Harbour on Jun 20, 2010]…..






….. but they could not beat a little sail boat in a race …..








Contact the TBI office is you are interested in volunteering, want to sail this summer – or want to book a group sail during the Toronto Waterfront Festival this summer!

See you at the Toronto Waterfront Festival this Canada Day weekend – and around the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay this summer!   

Tall Ships are Coming! A great volunteer opportunity

Canada Day weekend brings the Tall Ships to Toronto.  Over 800,000 visitors are expected – including you!

The Toronto Brigantine’s  will be needing volunteers to help host guests on our two vessels as well as host a booth to provide information about our Summer Program. If you are interested in volunteering with Toronto Brigantine’s please call the office at 416-596-7117 or e-mail

Lea Parrell is organizing the  overall Redpath Toronto Waterfront Festival and is looking for VOLUNTEERS to work on the event.  Lea is the principal at Harmony Marketing and does a lot of work in the Events and Sponsorship area.   She says if you would like to volunteer for this years’ Festival, please visiting: http/ and chose option: “I am interested as” and chose “volunteer” from the drop down menu. Please also mention Lea Parrell in the “comment area.

This is a copy of the latest e-mail sent flier for the Toronto Waterfront Festival.

Old forts of the War of 1812 era

In my research of my Sinotte/Loiselle genealogy, the old forts of of early Canada are coming up, and and it overlaps in my learning about tall ships.  

  • Fort George
  • Historical Fort York – some pictures from Toronto Brigantine’s participation in a naval reenactment a few years back
  • Old Fort Niagara
  • Old Fort Erie – the site of Canada’s Bloodiest Battlefield
  • The Naval Establishment in Penetanguishene Bay – Discovery Harbor – [I didn’t realize all the early settlement activities in the Georgian Bay – or that my early ancesters would have gone through the Georgian Bay on way to Michigan and Illinois as engageur ouest.]

Toronto Brigantine has visited many of these forts and naval spots over our 50 years of program.

With the the 1812 Bi-Centennial celebrations coming up in 2012 I am sure that we will have the opportunity to visit these spots again in the coming months and years.  

The theme for the Bi-Centennial is all around Celebrating 200 Years of Peace.  See Visit 1812 for more information about upcoming events.

See you at Tall Ships Erie 2010

The Playfair and Pathfinder will be two of seven tall ships there that weekend. See details at Tall Ships Erie 2010 – its a fundraier for the Flagship Niagara. They expect to have betwen 30 and 50,000 visitors there that weekend.

This will be one stop in an Alumni sail at the end of the this years summer sail season. This Course #8 is starting from Goderich on Sep 7 – going doing to the Tall Ships Erie 2010 for Sep 9th through 11th, in time to be back up to Port Colborne for a group school sail Sep 14 to 15 and back to Toronto by Sept 17 or 18th.  See  Summer Program schedule. 

It is not the first time that Toronto Brigintine has sailed to Erie, PA.

In August 1999, both TS Playfair and STV Pathfinder were in Erie PA  along with the Pride of Baltimore II.  They were berthed at the Erie Maritime Museum – which is the home of Flagship Niagara (source: Erie Times-News).

The Playfair was in Erie in 1993 as well, with seven other ships taking part in Tall Ships Erie’93.

Fabulous Sailing Pictures

I thought that these pictures from the posting on Boston Globe’s online were fabulous – the contrast between the newer boats built for racing speed in contrast to the tall ships.

There are over 14 tall ships participating in the Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge 2010 and there are six scheduled port events throughout the summer.

The first event will be in Toronto on Canada Day long weekend (Jun 30 to Jul 4th). The Toronto Brigantine’s two tall ships – STV Pathfinder and TS Playfair will be participating at the Toronto Waterfront Festival with 14 tall ships in total participating. 

The vessels are avaialble for charter during the Toronto Waterfront Festival, get up to 25 people who want to learn to sail a tall ship – a four hour team building event that you won’t forget.  Click here for details about chartering the boat for the event.

To sign up for any of the Toronto Brigantine Summer Sail Program or to make arrangements for a group charter event at any of the port events during the Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge 2010, sign up today before all the spots are gone:

We look forward to seeing you around the Great Lakes – and in Toronto, Bay City and/or Chicago to join in the festivities for the Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge.

Steve Dennis did exchange on TS Royalist, 1992

Steve Dennis is a TBI Alumnus and was both a Seamanship Award Winner in 1991 and Deep Sea Award Winner in  1992. As part of the Deep Sea Award, he went on an international exchange and had the opportunity to sail aboard the TS Royalist from Gosport (Portsmouth) through the English Channel around Land’s End and into Cardiff.

[In writing this update, I just noticed that in 2012, Steve will be a 20 year alumnus of TBI – that is the year of TBI’s 50th anniversary.]   I asked Steve for a perspective of his Deep Sea Award exchange experience almost 20 years later (I hope that he doesn’t mind me “rounding up”).

He shared the following when asked how his exchange experience impacted his life and in fact, he was writing from an overseas assignment in the Middle East:

This exchange was my first overseas travel and introduction to different cultures.  I believe the experience was influential in opening my eyes to the world.  After finishing with TBI and my university degree, I started working overseas.  I continue to be humbled and in awe of the diversity of people across the world, and the similarities we share.  The Deep Sea award was a wonderful experience for me.

Steve provides the following favourite memory from tall ship sailing exchange experience:

I arrived in Portsmouth with some time to spare.  From the bus station, I walked down the hill reciting the poem in my head, “take me down to the sea.”  I wasn’t just breathing in salt air, I was breathing in the culture and traditions that walked down the same streets, duffle bag over shoulder, for hundreds of years before.  In the distance, I saw three masts, crossed with many yards, painted in the Royal Navy’s yellow and black.  I had to see it, I read so much about it, this vessel graced every book on British naval history, and there she was.  The HMS Victory was Lord Nelson’s flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar, and there her restored glory rested.  I toured the ship, and several others in the harbour, before grabbing a ferry across the sound to Gosport, where the T.S. Royalist awaited.  Walking through a naval dockyard, I could feel the sense of history staying alive.  Approaching the Royalist, I noticed she was alongside a modern naval submarine.  Walking across the deck of modern ship of war completed my visit to naval history past and in the making.  I came aboard and started my journey.

[One of the things that I have enjoy much how much about learning about TBI and tall ships is getting caught up on all the history and geography that I didn’t know! Every conversation that I have causes me to learn something new … and today I refreshed myself about The HMS Victory, Lord Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar.  My old highschool history teacher, Mr Kroh, would be proud.]

Steve Dennis is one of the more than 40 Deep Sea Award winners that have gone on an international exchange with another tall ship sail training program.