Victoria Harbour Ferry Water Ballet

October 6, 2019
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Victoria Harbour Ferry Water Ballet
Tiny boats dance to classical music in the harbour at Victoria, British Columbia

With lushly landscaped areas, historic buildings, and views of the scenic Inner Harbour, downtown Victoria, British Columbia, Canada is a beautiful area to wander through and spend time in. The Inner Harbour is full of activity with seaplanes, ferries, and whale-watching boats. Tiny bright yellow water taxis are one of the most distinctive vessels on the harbour. Operated by Victoria Harbour Ferry, these “happy boats” sail between 14 stops. Victoria Harbour Ferry offers tours of the harbour and beyond on similar boats. And, on select dates between May and September, the boats perform a dance on the water.

A green and a yellow Victoria Harbour Ferry boat

The Benford boats hold a maximum of 12 passengers and have been nicknamed “pickle boats” because of their shape. When the harbour ferries were first brought to Victoria in 1990, the skippers were amazed at their maneuverability. Taking inspiration from the world-famous RCMP Musical Ride (where members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police clad in their signature red serge perform equestrian skills accompanied to music), the skippers created a synchronized performance. The Water Ballet has been operating ever since. I had the opportunity to view the last performance of the 2019 season.

Five boats twirled through the water accompanied by classical music. At times the boats created a weaving pattern as they passed by each other. At other times, all five moved together as one boat.

You will notice a sixth boat in the background of this video – that is not part of the performance; it is a working water taxi
At then end of the performance, the boats sailed toward the dock where the audience was watching
Five Victoria Harbour Ferry boats lined up at the end of the water ballet performance
Boats lined up for their “bow” at the end of the water ballet performance

Watch the free performance from behind the Steamship Terminal Building on Belleville Street. The ballet runs for about fifteen minutes. We arrived fifteen minutes before the performance. The sound system was already set up and playing lively, contemporary music for the crowd. The crowd itself wasn’t very large, but it was a cool morning at the end of the season. I suspect it might be busier in the height of summer. Check the Water Ballet schedule for dates and times.

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Victoria Harbour Ferry tiny boats perform a water ballet in the Inner Harbour at Victoria, British Columbia, Canada #Victoria #BritishColumbia #Canada

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  • Reply
    Eva Dueck
    October 6, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    I have had the pleasure of seeing this in person and it is delightful!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      October 13, 2019 at 10:42 am

      Eva, it is delightful isn’t it? It put a smile on my face.

  • Reply
    Ken Dowell
    October 7, 2019 at 7:14 am

    Enjoyed the water ballet. Looks like a perfect place to spend the last days of summer.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      October 13, 2019 at 10:43 am

      Ken, Victoria is indeed a lovely place to spend the last days of summer (and many other parts of the year as well).

  • Reply
    travelgalcindy
    November 5, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    That is hysterical! Wish I had known about it when we were in Vancouver. I love these little ferries anyway, but it would be an blast to see them “dancing!”

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      November 9, 2019 at 11:43 am

      Cindy, the water ballet was delightful. I would certainly like to see it again.

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