Vessels and Cruises

Cruise through history at Canal Days!

In 2009, the St. Lawrence Seaway celebrated it's 50th anniversary. The Welland Canal is an intrinsic part of the Seaway system and is still a very active trade and commerce route so it's business as usual as giant freighters, barges, and lakers glide past the festival all weekend long.

Highway H2o logoOnly in Port Colborne does the current Welland Canal pass directly through the downtown business district, and only during Canal Days will visitors find an impressive array of special guests: Tall Ships, Coast Guard vessels, a working Fire Boat, and many other ships along the wall at historic West Street.

Many of these ships are open for public viewing, and many of the ships' crew interact with festival guests, or compete in marine challenges. Lake Erie Tall Ship Cruises are available and guests can also book a sunset dinner cruise, or view the spectacular Canal Days Fireworks from the deck of the Empire Sandy.

What better way to celebrate the height of summer than to bring all the elements together - the feel of the wind and the deck beneath your feet, the spray of the water, the warmth of the air, and the fires of celebration in the sky overhead.


Empire Sandy

For advance tickets call: 905-834-7572. Starting Friday, August 4, 2017, tickets for the Tall Ship Cruises will be sold at City Hall. 905-835-2900. For cruise ticket prices and menu selection please visit the Tall Ship Cruises page.

For more information about the Empire Sandy, click here


2017 Lake Erie Tall Ship Cruises on the Empire Sandy are sponsored by: 

  chamber marine


Fireboat Edward M Cotter


Photo Courtesy of: Gina Murdoch


On October 7, 1960, an unprecedented event occured in American History.  On that night, at the age of 60, the Edward M. Cotter's extraodinary firefighting abilities were called upon to help Buffalo's fellow firefighters in another country.

A blaze erupted in the eight-story Maple Leaf Milling Company, a grain and milling company in Port Colborne. Despite their efforts, with no fireboat protection of their own, the fire was soon out-of-control.  The Port Colborne Fire Dept. desperately needed help and the call went out requesting the Cotter.


At approximately 8:30pm, with no radar of her own to help her navigate, the Cotter began her dangerous trek across the often trecherous waters of Lake Erie, escorted by a Coast Guard cutter. Two hours after receiving the call, the Cotter arrived.  With all her guns brought to bear, she fought for more than four hours until the blaze was finally extinguished. On that day, the Edward M. Cotter became the first fireboat in the United States to cross the international line to fight a fire.


us brig niagara


USS Niagara, commonly called the US Brig Niagara or the Flagship Niagara, is a wooden-hulled snow-brig that served as the relief flagship for Oliver Hazard Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812