Le Boat, a leading supplier of river and canal holidays, received 16 new Horizon boats last week at its new North American base in Smiths Falls, Ont.
Built in Olecko, Poland, these premier vessels have already taken their first voyage – as cargo – travelling across the Atlantic to Canada.
“This is an emotional moment for me,” says Cheryl Brown, global managing director for Le Boat. “We have prepared our expansion into Canada for close to three years. To finally see it all come together with the arrival of 16 newly built canal boats actually arriving at our new base in Canada is really something amazing.”
The boats arrival is the next step of Le Boat’s North American $16 million investment to offer canal cruises along the Rideau Canal beginning in May. The Rideau is 202 km in length and connects Ottawa to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River at Kingston, Ont.
“We are delighted to welcome the arrival of Le Boat’s new canal fleet to Smiths Falls. These state-of-the-art boats, designed specifically for Ontario’s waterways, will offer visitors a new way to discover the scenic surroundings and history of the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Le Boat is not only enriching the tourist experience but also boosting local businesses, as many visitors discover the charming communities that line this great waterway,” said Daiene Vernile, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
The boats were first loaded on to the Margaretha cargo ship in Gdynia, Poland on Jan. 7 when they embarked on a 6,000 km ocean voyage. Travelling at 11 knots in Gale Force 8 winds, the journey took just over three weeks before arriving on Jan. 26 in Port of Becancour – north of Trois-Rivieres, Que.
The Horizon boats were unloaded from the ship and secured on to a convoy of heavy trucks operated by Express Mondor. The trucks carried them an additional 400 km to Smiths Falls.