2017 Miss World Canada Harbour Cruise

One of the most important things we do at Mariposa Cruises is share the Toronto harbour cruise experience with young people.  We traffic in shareable moments and set the stage for new friends to make foundational memories. Our staff aboard each of our unique ‘floating’ networking platforms strives to create the perfect place for young adults to start lifelong friendships.  Cruising the busy harbour opposite the biggest city in Canada is thrilling at any age, and watching the shoreline grow more distant while being ensconced in the excitement aboard ship impacts young minds and empowers them to visualize infinite possibilities on their own horizons.

2017 Miss World Canada, Mariposa Cruises

2017 Miss World Canada delegates boarding Mariposa Cruises

2017 Search for Miss World Canada Experienced a Classic Mariposa Cruise

It was an overcast Wednesday 19th of July when the fifty-seven delegates in the 2017 Search for Miss World Canada arrived at Pier 6  for their prearranged Toronto harbour cruise.  There was a lot of laughter and cheer as the young ladies, aged 19 – 25 came aboard to occupy the Oriole.The Delegates had already enjoyed a very busy day; they had just come from Ripley’s Aquarium and before that they were showcased on Breakfast Television, Weds 19 July 2017 show.  Although each young woman is, strictly speaking in direct competition with one another, they are also becoming best friends. Each delegate is vying for the 2017 Miss World Canada title, and the opportunity to represent the nation in The World competition later this year. The decision will be made by a panel of notable judges at the end of the week, in the Grande Finale on Saturday July 22nd in the 1,232-seat John W. H. Bassett Theatre in the Toronto Metro Convention Center.

2017 Miss World Canada

2017 Miss World Canada aboard Mariposa Cruises The Oriole

Because nothing on this day’s itinerary could help or hurt the delegates’ chances in any way, the assembly was programmed to simply relax and ride the waves. Except for perhaps winning Miss Congeniality, an award given to the friendliest most helpful contestant, and usually in response to a real life pageant-week story evidencing great sacrifice or personal friendship. The fifty-seven Region Delegates are sourced from all over the nation, and appeared wearing silver crowns and sashes marking their province-of-origin. When they arrived they were understandably excited at the prospect of spending time together in such a cute sailing vessel.  Many had never been to Toronto before, let alone out on the lake, and this excursion was set to be spellbinding

The Oriole was The Perfect Choice for the 2017 Search for Miss World Canada’s Toronto Harbour Cruise

The Oriole, a Victorian era steamship replica was built in Port Dover, Ontario and was the perfect choice for this happy excursion. This very Canadian vessel has a distinct old-world charm that has made her a favourite Toronto charter; her green and ivory exterior is easily visible as she cruises along with sailboats, salties, lakers, canoes, water taxis and ferries that sail along the city’s harbour. And we were especially visible this day, with most of the passengers wearing summer dresses with gem encrusted silver crowns atop their heads

2017 Miss World Canada Luncheon aboard Mariposa Cruises

2017 Miss World Canada Luncheon aboard Mariposa Cruises

One Hour Cruise Offers Fresh Perspectives

The schedule was straightforward; a one-hour cruise about the harbour with a light meal and lemonade.  But up the top deck of the Oriole, the delegates soon discovered there were some interactive attractions to be explored.

 Velago Furniture selfie couch on Mariposa Cruises

Velago Furniture selfie couch on Mariposa Cruises

Along the top rail at the back of the ship, the #VelagoSofaSelfie challenge on Instagram, sponsored by Velago Patio Furniture centered on a lightweight designer sofa listed in their online catalog as Outdoor Sofa Set – Lugano. This specimen was unique however with specially decorated seat cushions bearing the blue and white fabric logos from both Velago Patio Furniture and Miss World Canada. The winner of the challenge – the best selfie as judged by the patio furniture company CEO on Friday is set to receive a $600 voucher so they can buy the Marsala set (an even more luxurious outdoor sofa) or get the Lugano, the actual sofa on which they posed, delivered to their family home or cottage.

Samples of the exclusive t&k designer sunglasses collection – designed in Toronto and produced in Italy – were supplied by Spectacle.  Spectacle provided a pair of designer sunglasses to the delegate that took the best selfie.

Dahlia DeSouza, Lily from Streetchic Magazine, Mariposa Crew

Dahlia DeSouza, Lily from Streetchic Magazine, Mariposa Crew

Our Captains were very accommodating, except concerning the Oriole’s scheduled departure time; on that point they were inflexible. There was to be no deviating from the schedule, and Eric from Spectacle, lugging a trunk full of sunglasses was among the last passengers to make it up the ramp before the gangway was removed and the ship pulled away from the pier.The media ‘influencers’ and fashion merchandising entrepreneurs on board the ship included a very pregnant Dahlia DeSouza of  UptotheTime Watches and Lily from Street Chic magazine. Also present was Raymi the Minx who now also represents KPDI Digital Strategy Agency in Toronto, and Zack Bussy from Guy Maven magazine.

Raymi the Minx

Raymi the Minx

Here’s a classic Instagram where you can see Zach and Raymi beside Valerie Stachurski from Charming PR in Toronto. This trio of early adopters goes back ten years or more to the dawn of social media and they had a great talk about the future of their favorite digital tools at the bow of the Oriole.

A Delicious Lunch was Served Aboard The Oriole

A buffet lunch of sandwich pita wraps served alongside two types of salad and fresh cut veggies was followed by heaping fruit trays and silver platters tacked high with chocolate cookies.  People made up their plates and ate together all over the ship – nobody was too particular about where they ate, just so long as it was with friends. Below are writers and editors from Beyond Fashion magazine who chose to dine upstairs near the top deck dance floor. Trying to eat anything here would have been impossible in just a few minutes time.

Beyond Fashion Magazine

Beyond Fashion Magazine

The photo-taking frenzy died down a bit after lunch, and there was a gentle calm as the expedition cruised through some of the smaller channels of the Toronto Island.Then Justin Bieber songs started blaring through the cabin and suddenly a whole lot of dancing happened on deck. The party got white hot right around the forty-minute mark of the hour-long harbour cruise. Bieber’s pop classics got the party started! Delegates began dancing on the upper deck and every groovy tune kept the scrum shuffling to the beats. Many delegates sang the songs aloud and passing ships must have admired the sight and sounds of our afternoon sojourner.

2017 Miss World Canada delegates aboard Mariposa Cruises

2017 Miss World Canada delegates aboard Mariposa Cruises

Cognition Productions Toronto video company volunteered to come along and document the cruise in a ninety second sizzler that works to capture the mood and majesty of the ladies on the lake. The video showcases over a hundred magic moments and nicely encapsulates the entire expedition from boarding to disembarkation at 2:30 pm. Thanks Warren for your hard work on this.


On Celebrating 30 Years

If only our boats could talk, the stories they could tell of couples who met and fell in love, young students who came on a class trip, a corporate milestone celebrated onboard…they could boast about hosting dignitaries, sports legends, Stanley Cups, celebrities & movie shoots. There are stories of birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, company events, proposals and weddings. There are stories from so many who came to us from all around the world and visited our city of Toronto.  Over the last 30 years, our fleet has welcomed over 3 million guests and while our boats can’t speak, they do tell our story.

It all started with the Mariposa Belle…

The namesake of our company, the Mariposa Belle was then the largest passenger vessel in Toronto Harbour when Mariposa Cruises acquired the legendary paddle wheeler in 1987. This is when the company, Mariposa Cruise Line was first launched, along with the two other boats, The Rosemary and The Torontonian.

Toronto’s waterfront was just starting evolve with the newly renovated Queens Quay Terminal Building (1983), then a mecca for one of a kind artisan shops and food experiences.  There was a smattering of wharfs and marinas, and only a few condominium towers. Harbourfront Centre was operating as the Harbourfront Corporation and one could see The Royal York Hotel’s neon lettering from the dock. The LRT was yet to launch, and yet people came to the waterfront to beat the summer heat, spend a day shopping in Queens Quay, buy the kids an ice cream and hop on the Mariposa Belle for harbour cruise. The Mariposa Belle launched Mariposa Cruises and played host of many, many celebrations until her retirement from Mariposa’s fleet in 2013.

The Originals

The yacht Rosemary has been with Mariposa Cruises since our inception. A true southern belle, normally a lady doesn’t like to divulge her age, that being said, the Rosemary was built in Mobile, Alabama in 1960 as a private yacht, complete with overnight bunks. Operated for years as a private pleasure craft, The Rosemary was transformed into a passenger vessel, at one time Transport Canada approved for 75 guests. Fully refurbished in 2008, she is our smallest in the fleet, but loved by so many for her timeless interior and the ability to host smaller groups and intimate occasions.  But don’t judge her by her size, The Rosie boasts an impressive list of voyages for celebrities (whose privacy we respect) and notable events over the years.

Another Mariposa original was The Torontonian (175 pax), who, like The Rosemary, was part of our operation when the company acquired The Mariposa Belle. One of the original party boats in Toronto, and before boats were regulated by the ACGO, guests could bring their own alcohol onboard.  The Torontonian hosted hundreds of parties and later became the student cruise boat of choice. In 2006, a local graffiti artist was contracted to transform her exterior with a butterfly mural in reference to  ‘Mariposa’ (Spanish for Butterfly).  The Torontonian was retired from the Mariposa fleet in 2010.

Things got interesting….

The Captain Matthew Flinders made its way to Toronto in 1989 to join the Mariposa fleet. The ship continues to be the largest passenger vessel in Toronto and was welcomed by the Mayor at the time. This majestic ship was built in Port Adelaide (1986) and bears the name of the Australian explorer who was the first to circumnavigate and identify the Australian continent.  As an ocean going ship, The Flinders is sturdy but she’s not very fast, sailing at a speed of only 30km per hour. The voyage from Australia to Toronto took four months!  Cruising on the Flinders is a special experience.  With two interior decks, a massive split-level outer deck, stairwells and long promenade decks running from bow to stern, you get a true sense of being on a classic ocean liner. Among the thousands of Flinders’ notable voyages, it boasts a colorful stint as a casino boat off of West Palm Beach Florida; cruises to Niagara-on-the-Lake and Hamilton. The Captain Matthew Flinders has hosted G7, Mayors from Around the World, Arnold Palmer, the Baseball All Stars, and some of the most exclusive affairs hosted in Toronto.

The Additions 

In 1992, Mariposa Cruises completed the acquisition of two additional ships, The Oriole, (200 pax) and The Northern Spirit (600 pax), which increased the Mariposa fleet capacity by 60%. The Oriole, a Victorian era steamship replica built in Port Dover, Ontario, has hosted voyages for hundreds of thousands of passengers on private charters and daily Harbour Tours.  Her old-world charm has established her as a favourite in Toronto and her green and ivory exterior is easily visible as she cruises along with sailboats, salties, lakers, canoes, water taxis and ferries that sail along the city’s harbour. Passengers from all over the world have boarded The Oriole on the sightseeing harbour tours, to take in skyline and scenery along the harbour. The Oriole hosts the only multi-lingual Scenic Harbour tour in Toronto, offering narrations in English, French, Spanish, Mandarin, German and Japanese.  One of the Oriole’s most memorable voyages was in 1988, when she hosted Mila Mulroney, Nancy Reagan, and the wives of G7 attendees for a private afternoon charter.

The Northern Spirit came as the Spirit of Norfolk and was renamed The Pride of Toronto. When Mariposa Cruises purchased her, she underwent extensive renovations and was rebranded as The Northern Spirit. The Spirit has hosted some amazing corporate events, including a spectacular city wide conference special event for 1000 guests, co-hosted by the adjacent Flinders. The event featured an outdoor tent the length of the Northern Spirit, an ice-luge on the dock, a steady flow of hors d’ouevres, food stations named after the streets that represented the different cultural districts in Toronto, and performers from Cavalia Odysseo performing acrobatics on the dock. Along with The Captain Matthew Flinders, The Northern Spirit is one of the largest passenger vessels in the harbour and a favourite among our Captains to navigate because she handles so well. Perfectly designed for hosting large events, the Northern Spirit has twin engines, an open concept interior and lots of open deck space to enjoy the views of Toronto’s skyline.

And then there were seven!

The Showboat joined the Mariposa Fleet in 1993. Originally build as a dinner theatre venue, The Showboat featured a stage and large dining room. In 2013, The Showboat went under an extensive renovation, which included being cut in half with twelve feet added to the centre.  This increased the passenger capacity from 89 to 149 onboard.  The Showboat continues to be a popular wedding venue choice, with large dance floor and big picture windows in the dining salon, it is easy to understand why. As we celebrate our 30th Anniversary and Canada’s 150th, we share two of Showboat’s most memorable Canadian moments. On Canada Day in 2015 The Showboat hosted the Stanley Cup on a private event organized by NHL champion Brian Bickell of the Chicago Blackhawks.

One event that has remained with us is a reunion of Vietnamese who faced great hardship and personal loss to escape Vietnam in the 80’s. They all came from the same 8 block area of Hanoi, and dispersed across the globe, with many finally choosing to settle in Canada. Two decades later, with the help of the internet, they found each other again and planned a reunion on the Showboat.  The emotion of that cruise was overwhelming, a mix of sorrow for the horrors they remembered, and unspeakable joy at being reunited again after years.

Our Captain was humbled to be part of such a joyous occasion. “It was something to behold. And the fact that Canada opened its doors to many of them, and that they all did so well over the years in spite of all the hardship, with two or three generations on board sharing in the experience- it was such a wonderful celebration and a proud moment for all of us.”

Last, but not least …

The Klancy sailed to Toronto from St. Thomas and joined our fleet in 2011.  The name comes from incorporating the two names of the original owners. The Klancy has hosted a variety of weddings, VIP events and is the perfect size for sailing around the islands and lagoons. She is the vessel of choice for Mariposa Cruises’ annual company picnic. The cruise hospitality industry is hard work, particularly challenging because we run a seasonal operation.  Boats need care and maintenance. Our crew works tirelessly and in all weather conditions. During peak season, we can host up to 3000 passengers a day. With so many moving parts to our business,  and specialists in their field, Sales, Reservations, Hospitality, Events, Accounting, Operations to our Officers and Marine Engineers–we are really a team of teams working collectively to bring our guests the best cruise experience possible. Our cruising season continues until New Year’s Eve, but around Labour Day, the Mariposa crew boards the Klancy and heads to the islands for a BBQ. We celebrate our accomplishments and say farewell to some of our seasonal team members.

Today, the Mariposa Cruises fleet consists of six of the most beautiful boats in the harbour. We take pride in the events we have hosted, the people we have met, and the crew we have had the pleasure of working with. Thank you, Toronto. It’s been an honour to have hosted experiences for the millions who have come aboard our vessels and to share our view of this wonderful city.

A very special thanks to our team over the years. The Mariposa crew are a special lot and their dedication and amazing talent has contributed to Mariposa Cruise’s success over 30 years.

Happy 150th Canada!


Introducing 3D Virtual Tours! Take a tour of our fleet.

Romance on the Toronto Harbour

Mariposa Cruises’ guest Jessica Bassermann recaps her experience celebrating her 2 year anniversary aboard the Oriole on the Romance on the Harbour Cruise.

When a coworker mentioned a recent date night she and her fiancé had had out on the Toronto Harbour, it piqued my interest. A three hour tour, complete with dinner, drinks and dancing sounded like the perfect way for my boyfriend and me to celebrate our two year anniversary. (more…)

A Perfect Evening on the Toronto Harbour

Mariposa Cruises’ guest Jen Defreitas retells how she and her husband celebrated their 6 year wedding anniversary on the Toronto Harbour aboard the Oriole on one of our scenic dinner cruises.

OrioleAn evening we will cherish in our hearts for a while was our 6th anniversary on the Oriole. It began with a warm greeting at the dock, which by the way is an entertaining district all on its own. Having arrived a bit early, afforded us the luxury of wandering the area and taking in the full atmosphere of the waterfront – which is kind of a happening scene! The ship itself was a charming sight. It reminded me of a classic steam boat, with its rustic, nostalgic appearance. I adore anything historical, so my eyes darted all over the vessel imagining each corners story or past. (more…)

Toronto Harbour Tour App Review

We asked Graziella Fadel to come aboard our Scenic Harbour Tour to review our new and exclusive Harbour Tour app. Here’s what she had to say…


I was recently invited aboard Mariposa Cruises’ the Oriole to test out their new Toronto Harbour Tour app during a Scenic Harbour Tour. The free interactive app is the first of it’s kind in Toronto and provides an easy to follow narration as you tour all the wonderful sites the Toronto harbour has to offer.

I love this app for many reasons!



After work drinks on Toronto’s Harbour

Mariposa Cruises‘ guest Graziella Fadel recounts her experience aboard the Oriole for the very first Sip & Sail Cocktail Cruise of the season which cruises around the Toronto harbour and Islands.


After a long day at work, you can find me doing one of two things:

1. Snuggling up in my onesie watching The Bachelorette.
2. Catching up with girlfriends over a glass of wine.

With the official start of summer just around the corner, I figured it was time for a change and invited my best friend to Mariposa Cruises’ Sip and Sail Cocktail Cruise.