The beloved Theodore Tugboat has returned to Halifax harbour to officially welcome visitors to the province just in time for the 2016 tourist season.
During the winter months, Theodore was notably absent from his home on the Halifax waterfront. He went south for the winter to Dayspring, Nova Scotia to receive some maintenance and a fresh coat of paint.
Theodore Too first arrived on the waterfront in May 2000. He is a life-sized replica of Theodore Tugboat, the lead character from the famed TV series.
Jeff Farwell, president and co-owner of Ambassatours and Murphy’s, says the international success of the TV series and Theodore’s signature smile are a big draw for tourists.
“The show that was developed by Andy Cochrane was themed here in Halifax. It was played in over 88 countries worldwide, so the marketing behind Theodore is quite extensive and people do know it on a global basis,” he said.
“So having a boat that actually smiles at you as it is going along in the water is unique to anywhere else in the world.”
Now that Theodore has returned to the waterfront, he is about to take on a new role as the official harbour welcome ambassador at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
He will also serve as the mascot for the new Welcome Aboard program, which will provide newcomers with access to various cultural and heritage sites in Halifax.
Theodore Too sporting his new badge of honour – #halifax welcome ambassador @globalhalifax pic.twitter老域名购买/rwjiTmLH23
— Alexa MacLean (@AlexaMacLean902) May 26, 2016
Terri McCulloch, communications and charter manager for Ambassatours and Murphy’s, says Theodore is finally receiving official recognition for a role he has performed in the community for years.
“It’s kind of a job that he has been doing all along, but it’s official now. He’s a welcome ambassador and he has a big button on the side of his hull to prove it,” she said.
“He’s a waterfront celebrity. He’s like Halifamous.”
Theodore’s Captain, Matt Conlin, says the ship’s presence on the waterfront attracts thousands of tourists every summer who hope to see the harbour’s beauty.
“We have generally about 10,000 people who come on board every single summer. So I would say pretty easily he is helping out the tourism here in Halifax . . . he’s definitely helping to get everyone on the waterfront to realize just how beautiful this harbour really is,” he said.
Darlene Grant Fiander, President of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia, says tourism is important to the province’s economy because it is a $2 billion industry.
“Over forty thousand Nova Scotians are employed in the industry and it generates a $225 million tax revenue for the governments, and that money is used to fund social services like health care and education ” she said.
“Tourism is an export industry so it’s new dollars, for the most part, coming into the communities. So it’s incredibly important for the economy of Nova Scotia.”
Grant Fiander says a record number of cruise ships will arrive in Halifax over the summer and recent pre-booking reports indicate an increase in the number of visitors to the province for the 2016 tourism season. She attributes these numbers to the low Canadian dollar and the new Yarmouth-Maine ferry.
When tourists arrive in Halifax this summer, Theodore will be waiting to welcome them with a smile.
“He’s one of the first things you notice when you come to Halifax. He’s got a pretty big smile which basically lends a hand to everyone else smiling around him . . . He pretty much makes everyone happy,” Conlin said.
Visitors can check Theodore out at his new location beside the CSS Acadia in front of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.