He wears a beaming smile and a red cap, beneath which his eyes turn to meet those of the happy children who pass his way. He is 65 feet tall. He is a boat.
The fleet at Murphy's The Cable Wharf also includes seven other vessels, but the most recognizable is surely Theodore Too: an enormous, custom-built life-size replica of the friendly Theodore Tugboat, star of the CBC children's television show of the same name. He was originally commissioned to sail up and down the Eastern Seaboard, giving kids a chance to take harbor cruises that were previously only possible in their daydreams, until eventually the staff of Murphy's stepped in to give him a permanent home.
Theodore Too wasn't the first remarkable vessel in the Murphy's fleet. In the early 1980s, Captain Gerald Murphy purchased the Mar, a seasoned tall ship that had sailed around the world twice and been the subject of a documentary. He used this storied vessel to establish Murphy's The Cable Wharf, a sailing and tour company based in Halifax Harbour. With ships in the water, Murphy also planned a restaurant—repurposing
the old Cable Ship Terminal, which was built in 1913 and had long been dormant.
Decades later, Murphy's nautical vision lives on. The Mar still glides across
harbour waters for themed sailing tours and pirate cruises. The spacious Haligonian III embarks on whale-watching excursions that bring passengers face-to-face with minke whales and dolphins, and the Harbour Queen I—an old-fashioned Mississippi-style sternwheeler—embarks on narrated history tours.
The wharf restaurant, meanwhile, continues the nautical theme on dry land, showing off unobstructed views of the waterfront. It even brings a bit of the sea indoors: a lobster tank filled with more than 300 live crustaceans lets guests net their own meals, while a touch tank brings them face-to-face with native marine life. Coastal dishes, from a buttery lobster roll to pan-fried haddock, fuel more maritime adventures.