Cape Cod Canal Centennial Canaliversary Celebration Continues

Happy Birthday To Old Man River! Fireworks Tonight!

The Cape Cod Canal was opened for business 100 years ago today, with the removal of a last dam finally connecting Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay. Since then, it has been a flurry of boats and bridges, commuters and currents, fishermen and freighters, bike paths and clam shacks.

Bourne is identified by the Canal. A lot of people who go to Chatham or Barnstable never see any other part of Bourne than the Canal. Bourne actually isn't known for much- the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the rotaries, a few restaurants- but everyone puts the Canal into the top 3, usually at #1 or #2.

It saves us costs on shipping, makes a nice ride with the sailboat, owns two terrific walking/bike paths, can claim some of the better fishing on Cape Cod, is a fine place to eat fried clams at a picnic table by, and even saves a life or two in the process. What's not to like?

Bourne has been and will be celebrating the centennial of the canal all week, and today just may be the peak. It may just be another Tuesday in whatever town you live in, but Bourne is preparing for a big hoedown. Bourne is sort of the southeast corner of the Irish Riviera, and the Irish can stretch Saturday night into Tuesday now and then.

To live like that, you need a good excuse. Bourne is providing several today.

Among them are:

Bourne is having yet another tall ship visit. We hosted the Charles W. Morgan (foreground) and the Eagle last weekend, as you can see above. People were literally lined up around the block to get into these two ships, which is why you'll notice there are no interior shots.

Today, we get the Kalmar Nyckel II. Kalmar Nyckel I was a Dutch merchant ship famous for carrying Swedes to New Sweden, a Swede/Finn colony in Delaware that predates Sandwich and Duxbury and hung on until 1655. The Dutch and then the English eventually took New Sweden, and it became Current America after the Revolution.

It was a full-rigged pinnace (ship made from pine, popular in the 1600s), armed, and named for the Swedish city of Kalmar. It's fate is unknown, it sank in either the Atlantic or the North Sea, opinions vary.

The Deuce was built in Delaware, and launched in 1997. It is 131 feet long, and displaces 300 tons.

She pulled into the MMA yesterday, and will be open for tours today (July 29th) until 4 PM.

Also appearing will be the schooner Mystic

The Mystic is from Mystic, Connecticut, just like Mystic Pizza is and Julia Roberts isn't. 

A schooner features a fore-aft mast alignment where the front mast is the same size as the other one. The word comes from Gloucester, as a play on the Scot word for "skips." The schooner was immediately popular in the colonies, and many varieties were developed.

The arrival of the Mystic also is Connecticut's contribution to the party. A lot of Connecticuts summer here, and they generally hold up their end of the bargain.

The Mystic is here for just today, I think.

The training ship for the MMA, the TS Kennedy, will also be open for tours today. All tours are free.

Sidebar: The MMA campus and part of Taylor's Point are the only parts of Buzzards Bay that actually are on Buzzards Bay... and, to be honest, that just might be Onset Bay. I sense a column on this in the next week or so coming up, this is like "Utah Jazz.."

I'm not going to get into that right now, because today is about celebrating. It also gets me thinking about trading names with some town that actually is on Buzzards Bay, but that would be too much trouble.


We start off the official stuff with a Commemoration at 1 PM.

100 years from now, canals will be dug by giant canal-digging robots who slay kaiju in their down time. 100 years ago, they were dug by hardcore worker bees who often died or got maimed in the process. We all owe them a moment of silence and a debt of thanks, as they did the proverbial Heavy Lifting.

They get some love today, as there is a Dignitary Ceremony at 1 PM. It's in Buzzards Bay Park. Dress is casual, the workers would have wanted it that way.

At 1:45 PM, we get a concert by The Canal Festival Youth Orchestra.

This is an 80 kid band, with Joan Landry on the baton.

Added bonus: an appearance by American Idol songbird Siobhan Magnus!

Magnus was a runner-up on the karaoke show, and is now Cape Cod's go-to girl when you have an event you need something sung at. She graces Buzzards Bay Park today, and it should be a lot of fun.

Afternoon Music Schedule:

4:00 Adam Ezra,
featuring emerging artist
Emily Hodges

5:00 Brother Joscephus and
The Love Revolution

6:00 Ryan Montbleau

7:00 GQ and the Lady,
featuring Linda Calise
and the Joe Casano Big Band 

On top of that, we have:

Old Fashioned Fun All Day!
1914 Lawn Games
Children’s Engineering Activities
Antique Cars
Food & Drink
Strolling Entertainers
Historic Characters

And…One Giant Fish Puppet! 

Don't forget to visit the National Marine Life Center on Main Street in Buzzards Bay, they have all sort of fun stuff planned to entertain and inform the kids.

We also have a Tugboat Race at 4 PM. I think it is technically a Tug Boat parade, but you know those old salts get.

You can catch the Tug Boat Parade anywhere along the Canal, give them a wave, maybe they'll toot the little tugboat horn.

All of this leads up to the Fireworks at 9 PM.

The fireworks will be launched from the Railroad Bridge, as well as from barges in Buzzards Bay (body of water, not village). This is the first time to my knowledge that they have tried to use the railroad bridge as a pyrotechnics platform, but maybe the WWII era guys did something, they were pretty hardcore.

Big ups to David Mugar, who donated $75k to put on the show. Mugar, of Star Market fame, has funded the Boston July 4th fireworks for some time. $75K is a lot, I think my old town used to run her show on $10-20K.

You can catch this show from a variety of places.

These are the only fireworks around tonight, short of the collections of private citizens. The traffic and crowds should be intense, as Buzzards Bay is really just a small village and not built for such activity. Arrive early, and perhaps often.

Parking is available at:


- Electric Avenue (and then we'll take it higher)

- Bourne Town Hall

- Veteran's Memorial Community Center

- Main Street, Buzzards Bay

- Bourne Public Library

- Bourne Historical Society

- Peebles Elementary School

- Bourne High School

- Bourne Middle School

- Gallo Ice Rink

- Gray Gables Beach

- Scenic Highway Rest Areas

- Monument Beach Marina

- Sandwich Road Rest Areas

- Anyone's lawn who has a PARKING sign up, prepare to pay.

The Bourne Bridge Will Be Closed To Pedestrian Traffic During The Fireworks.


Cape Cod Canal, Parade Of Lights, Last Saturday Night:


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