The Port of Québec at its Very Best to Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation!

The Port of Québec at its Very Best to Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation!

Québec, July 24, 2017 – It has been a long time since we have seen so many people at the Port of Québec. In a picture-perfect setting, cheering crowds and enthusiastic crews made RDV2017 an unprecedented success.

A resounding success!

Tuesday, July 18, even before the event was launched and the visits began, curious crowds squeezed onto the wharves to watch the tall ships arrive, providing a glimpse of the days to come. In fact, the crowds never waned; people started lining up early in the morning to make sure they got to board the tall ship of their dreams.

According to Rendez-vous naval de Québec (RVNQ) and RDV 2017 Canada chairman François Moreau, “The residents of Québec and many tourists appreciated this prestigious visit. Once again, they clearly showed they love boats, and tall ships in particular.”

Numerous activities punctuated the event, and visitors were treated to an entertaining and chock-full experience that included colourful entertainment on the wharves by Commando Guimauve, the West Trainz street performers, Mâts et cordages by the École de cirque de Québec, the explosive Veles e vente by Xarxa Teatre and spectacular fireworks in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River, orchestrated by 3E and produced by the Grands Feux Loto-Québec team.

“We wanted to create a festive environment with high-calibre street performers and entertainment, and we achieved our goal. Laughter, astonishment and surprise won out, conquering delighted audiences,” said 3E general manager Daniel Gélinas.

On The Lévis side, crowds also enjoyed the entertainment and shows on offer.

“Rendez-vous 2017 was a unique opportunity for residents to celebrate the splendour of the Saint Lawrence River. Many locals took part in this large gathering of tall ships, especially on Quai Paquet, which welcomed Guayas, a magnificent tall ship from Ecuador, and where a variety of entertainment was provided. Congratulations to the whole team behind this spectacular event!” said Gilles Lehouillier, Mayor of Lévis.

The crewmembers’ parade along the streets of Old Québec and the departure of the tall ships were the event’s highlights. The magic of the tall ships, cruising full sail past Québec and Lévis, enthralled the many spectators who came out despite the early departure time. It was a rare and special moment for Québec.

“The past five days have been magical, and people will remember them for years to come. We are proud that residents of Québec came out to the Port in such large numbers. Congratulations to the many contributors who worked so hard to make RDV2017 such a success,” said Port of Québec president and chief executive officer Mario Girard.

Electrified crews!

All the crew members who were here over the past several days reported having a fantastic experience. They were touched by the city’s festive spirit. Trainee crew members from many different countries got a taste of Quebec hospitality. They will long remember their stop in Quebec’s capital city, which celebrates summer like nowhere else! Upon leaving Québec, numerous captains sent along final messages:

“Thank you very much, this is probably the best organized event we have ever been to.” Empire Sandy – Canada

“Thank you for your hospitality. We take all Canadians in our hearts.” Guayas – Ecuador

“Congratulations for Canada 150. We were honoured to be invited, and it would be our pleasure to return.” TS Esmeralda – Chile

Flawlessly organized

RVNQ and its agent 3E événements-expérience-émotions in collaboration with the Ville de Québec, its police department and the Ville de Lévis, helped residents admire the tall ships and circulate peacefully in the streets around the port and the wharves.

The RTC need also be recognized for having put formidably efficient shuttles in place. As they do during the FEQ, residents of Québec used remote parking areas to get to the event site, significantly reducing vehicle traffic near the site.

“Residents chose RTC shuttles in very, very large numbers to attend this unique event. As of Wednesday morning, we had to double the number of buses and departures in order to meet the demand. As of Friday, we offered a large part of the service in articulated buses. In total, our shuttles made 43,000 trips over the five days, a success which surpassed our expectations and which shows the RTC’s importance to the success of events in Québec,” said RTC president Rémy Normand.

Indispensable partners

Through Canadian Heritage, the Government of Canada was the main funder of this project. In addition to providing financial support, it was also a full-time partner, supporting the RDV2017 team and providing answers to questions about Canadian regulations.

Through Tourisme Québec and the Secrétariat à la Capitale-Nationale, the Quebec government contributed to this project and thereby to the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

The Ville de Québec believed in this ambitious project from the very beginning and provided unparalleled logistical support.

The Port of Québec was a very welcoming host, whose technical support was appreciated throughout this adventure.

Sail Training International was a partner from the very beginning, and made the arrival of the majority of the tall ships from Europe and the Great Lakes possible.

Several superb military tall ships responded to an invitation from the RVNQ and the Canadian government, including Guayas from Ecuador, TS Esmeralda from Chile and USCGC Eagle from the United States.

Mr. Moreau thanked the members of the board of directors “for their involvement over the past five years, as well as the volunteers who contributed to the success of this unique gathering.”

Finally, an event of this scope could not be produced without the participation of numerous partners, including event presenter Desjardins, and media partner Radio-Canada.

Large economic benefits expected

RDV 2017 was certainly an unexpected boon for Québec businesses and restaurants, which were full to the brim with visitors from near and far over the past few days. Data on the number and provenance of visitors will be available in the fall, but it is realistic to expect that the event contributed to making the summer of 2017 an exceptional summer for the Québec area.

“The past weeks were unbelievable, a barrage of successful events. I am most proud of the participation and collaboration of the people of Québec,” said Mayor Régis Labeaume. “It’s promising for the rest of the summer, which is sure to be equally as festive, particularly with the Grands Feux Loto-Québec, Passages Insolites, Crépuscule – Vents & marées, the New France Festival, Festibière de Québec, Bordeaux fête le vin à Québec, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, the Québec City Film Festival, and many other cultural and sporting events.”

And it keeps on sailing…

The festivities will continue in several other cities up until August 20. Some of the tall ships will gather in Halifax to head back out to sea on August 1 for the last part of the transatlantic race they started on April 13 in Greenwich, England. They are expected to arrive in Le Havre, France between August 31 and September 3.

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