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A familiar sight around Halifax Harbour and extremely popular with young children is Theodore Too the Tugboat, who stars in a series of popular children`s books - no doubt Canada`s nautical equivalent of Thomas the Tank Engine! Theodore Too not only takes families on tours of Halifax Harbour but will often greet visiting cruise liners and guide them into port. Theo`s colour scheme closely resembles the old livery worn by the Serco Marine fleet. It`s a pity that the UK operator didn`t convert a couple of their Clyde-based tugs in a similar fashion! It would certainly cause a sensation with visiting warship or submarine crews when they were met in the Firth to be escorted to Faslane!
The best way to see the Halifax waterfront is from the river and although various vessels are utilised the most unusual tour is on the Harbour Hopper, a converted Vietnam War era Lark V amphibious craft. Before taking to the water, sightseers are driven past Halifax's downtown attractions, such as Citadel Hill, the Public Gardens and the Museum of the Atlantic. The second part of the tour consists of a cruise past the waterfront and Naval Dockyards.
Around 900 Lark Vs were built for the US Military between 1963-1970 to transport cargo and soldiers from supply ships onto the beaches and into the jungles of Vietnam. Lark Vs are reputed to be the most stable amphibious vehicles ever built. In addition to two crew members they could carry 40 fully equipped troops. Around 400 examples still survive with the US Military retaining and refurbishing 200 for future use. Approximately 100 vehicles are in the hands of private owners worldwide.
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A total of 267 Flower-class Corvettes were built either in Canada or the UK, most serving in the Battle of the Atlantic throughout World War II. HMCS Sackville (K181) is the last of the 123 Canadian-built vessels and is Canada’s oldest fighting warship. Sackville, now preserved as a floating museum in Halifax, was dedicated as the nation`s official Naval Memorial in 1985. The location has added significance as the Nova Scotia capital was an important assembly point and destination for convoys making the perilous journey between Great Britain and North America. Service on these small workhorses in the North Atlantic was typically cold, wet, monotonous and uncomfortable. They were prone to rolling and pitching and every dip of the forecastle into an oncoming wave was followed by a cascade of water over the decks. Men at action stations were drenched with spray, and water entered living spaces through hatches opened to access ammunition magazines.
This memorial on the waterfront honours the members of the Norwegian Merchant Navy and Royal Norwegian Navy who were lost at sea or were buried in Nova Scotia during the Second World War.