Swim the Kyle now a two-day event in Harbour Grace

Harbour Grace adds family activities and socials for 5th anniversary

Melissa Jenkins melissa.jenkins@tc.tc
Published on July 7, 2014
The S.S. Kyle
Photo by Melissa Jenkins

For the fifth year in a row, the Swim the Kyle event held near Riverhead, Harbour Grace will take place, but this year there are quite a few additions.

The event has traditionally consisted of Libby Earle, daughter of former S.S. Kyle captain Guy Earle, and a group of volunteers swimming in the Harbour Grace harbour to touch the hull of the grounded ship, and other live entertainment.

This year, the Town of Harbour Grace decided to make the event family-friendly and boost community spirit by adding some activities and celebrations for all ages.

Coun. Hayward Blake is a member of a committee who arranged the events that will take place July 12-13.

“The Kyle is synonymous with Harbour Grace,” Blake told The Compass. “So, we have decided to take this opportunity to make this a larger community event.”

The committee began making arrangements several months ago to host a series of events to bring the residents of the town together, and also give the 101-year-old ship some attention.

What to expect

The Swim the Kyle will still take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 12. But that will not be the only highlight of the weekend. The celebrations will kick off Saturday with an all-day breakfast at three restaurants in town — Kay’s, Breaktime and Hotel Harbour Grace.

“I believe there have been well over 100 tickets sold (to the breakfast),” Blake explained. “If that is any indication of the success, it should go quite well.”

Early afternoon is when the fun will begin. A family fun day with all sorts of activities will take place near the waterfront at 2 p.m. Face painting, balloon twisting, food and drinks and crafts will keep the family busy.

“We have been trying to find ways to hold events to bring the community together,” Blake said. “Create some community spirit.”

A boat flotilla will also take place during the family activities. Boats from the community will gather around the harbour close to the Kyle.

At 8 p.m. an adult social will take place at the Admiral’s Marina in South Side Harbour Grace, where snacks and drinks are being provided by the committee.

Sunday will see a unique ecumenical service take place.

The all-denomination event will take place at 2 p.m. to conclude the festivities.

As was customary when the Kyle was active, the service was held to see off the vessel on its voyage.

The committee consists of seven members, all dedicated to the event. They are Blake, Joy Sparkes, Jean Haire, Denise Blake, Bonnie Sheppard, Phil Sheppard and Lona Stone.

For information on the weekend’s events or for tickets, contact the town office at 596-3631.

Save the Kyle

Just this past March, the chart room located on the ship collapsed into the wheel house, causing a debate on whether or not the ship should be dismantled or fixed up.

The money was not available from the provincial government, but many in Harbour Grace, including town councillors, wanted to see it preserved in some way.

The Swim the Kyle event has helped raise awareness about the ship. Libby Earle has pledged her commitment to save the Kyle, but it’s unknown what the fate of the ship will be.

Others have also said they would do what they could to ensure it’s not forgotten, and this event may help keep that fight going.

For more information on he S.S. Kyle and the Swim the Kyle event, visit www.sskyle.org.