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Setting sail for Steveston's annual ship festival

World's 'greenest' tall ship and Canadian Navy's longest serving vessel docking for holiday weekend

From the majestic, century-old schooner Adventuress, the world's "greenest" tall ship, to the crowd-favourite mini-brigs with their pop gun cannons, a flotilla of classic ships is making sail for Ships to Shore Steveston on the Canada Day weekend.

From Saturday, June 29 to Monday, July 1, visitors can relive the days when Richmond's Steveston Village was a major port-of-call for fleets of sailing ships from around the world with free boarding and viewing of more than 16 unique and historic ships.

This year's Ships to Shore event will again be held in historic Steveston Village.

The ships will be docked at Imperial Landing, just a few paces along the wooden boardwalk from the village centre and at the Britannia Shipyards, National Historic Site, a short walk along the picturesque Steveston boardwalk.

"Steveston first welcomed tall ships more than 125 years ago and it is always an exciting moment when they return," said Mayor Malcolm Brodie.

"Anyone who's ever dreamed of going to sea will want to take this opportunity to climb on board these historic and interesting vessels."

Leading the Ships to Shore fleet this year is the 41-metre (133-foot) Adventuress, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year with a continuing campaign for sustainability.

A truly "green" tall ship, focused on providing environmental education opportunities for youth, the Adventuress is also committed to applying sustainable practices as she sails around the Pacific Northwest, minimizing her environmental footprint on the ocean, buying locally and championing groups promoting sustainability.

Another favourite returning for Ships to Shore 2013 is the Canadian Navy's colourful HMCS Oriole.

A 31-metre (102-foot) ketch first launched in 1921, the Oriole is the Canadian Navy's longest serving ship.

Among the other historic ships on view will be the SS Master steam tug.

Visitors will also get the chance to explore some working, commercial fishing boats such as the Western Star, a heritage gillnetter and will get to climb aboard some vital, locally-based search and rescue vessels.

Last, but not least, the popular mini-brigs of the Shady Isle Pirates will again entertain the crowds.

Ships to Shore Steveston 2013 runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 29 and 30, and from 12: 30 to 5 p.m. on July 1.

Ship boarding is free, but space is limited and scheduled activities vary so check out www.richmond.ca/shipstoshore for boarding details and an event schedule.

Steveston's two national historic sites, the Britannia Shipyards and the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, will also be open throughout the Canada Day weekend.

Drop by both to view great exhibits on the history of Canada's west coast fishing industry and much more.

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