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Ships gathering for Fleet Review

International ships are starting to arrive in Halifax Harbour for the International Fleet Review.

International ships are starting to arrive in Halifax Harbour for the International Fleet Review.

More than 5,000 sailors representing eight countries — Canada, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands and the United States — will salute Canada’s navy over the week-long event starting tomorrow.

The official review will take place Tuesday as ships take formation in the Halifax Harbour and Bedford Basin in recognition and respect for Canada's 100-year-old navy.

On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh will inspect the ships on board the HMCS St. John’s.

Navy Capt. John Newton said having the Queen on hand for the event is incredibility significant.

“It is an incredible honour to have this bestowed upon us,” said Newton. “We all will benefit from this great moment in Canadian history.”

Newton said small security patrol boats have been practising their trade in the harbour over the past few weeks in preparation for the international gathering.

“We had to up our game to enforce protection,” said Newton.

Small spectator boats will be permitted to watch the ceremony from the basin and the harbour, but will be required to stay in designated areas and keep at least 300 yards from the vessels, Newton said.

The controlled-access zone will be in affect through the week’s events, he added.

On days that require the most activity, there will be up to 23 patrol boats in the water.

Newton said the event has a price tag of around $1 million, half of which is invested in the official event venue, the Naval Centennial Village, paid for entirely by sponsors.

The festivities start Friday with a Department of National Defence family appreciation day, and ship tours start Saturday on the Halifax Harbour.

The last major fleet assembly in Halifax took place in 1985.

What to look forward to

• Tomorrow, 9 a.m.: A mini-World Cup will be played by the visiting sailors at the St. Mary’s University Fieldhouse.
• Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Ships are open to the public for tours.
• Saturday-Thursday, noon-6 p.m.: The Naval Centennial Village will be open and offer exhibits, ship models and the Alexander Keith’s International Pub.
• Monday: The ships will proceed to International Fleet Review Anchorage in the Bedford Basin.
• Tuesday, 2-4p.m.: The International Fleet Review
• Wednesday-Thursday, 10a.m.-4p.m: Ships are open to the public for tours.
• Friday, July 2: Ships depart.

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