Seven’s a crowd for Fundy tourism

As Bernard Weber counted down from seven, the crowd lowered their umbrellas, threw their collective hands into the air and looked skyward.

Rain had been falling on and off for about an hour, but cheers still rang out from a crowd assembled in a number 7 formation when Weber got to “one.”

The Giant 7 event, held Wednesday evening on the Saint John Waterfront, was designed to promote the Bay of Fundy for the New7Wonders of the World.

Terri McCulloch, the executive director for Bay of Fundy tourism, said afterward that she was very pleased with how it went.

“We were aiming for 777 people and I think we got that,” she said.

The outline of the giant seven, which she estimates was about 200 feet wide and 300 feet long, was fitted for about that many people she said, and it was pretty full.

In the hour leading up to an official photo session, passersby were stopped on the boardwalk and recruited, offered free New7Wonders t-shirts. Three-year-old children ran around on the dock as the Black Eyed Peas blared from the speakers. Two teenagers, 13 and 15-years-old, stashed their bmx bikes against the lighthouse and walked through the gates.

Seven members of the Daley family were there too (an unplanned numeric coincidence). As Patti watched her four-year old son Sebastian dance to Kenny Loggins’ Footloose, with his t-shirt fluttering about his ankles, she said they were there to support the Bay of Fundy.

As frequent visitors to the bay, she said they would love to see the site instated as one of the new wonders of the world.

“It’s just a special place to be,” Daley said.

Weber, who founded the New7Wonders foundation and is now travelling around the world to encourage people to vote, said he hoped the event would spread that passion to the rest of Canada.

Fundy is Canada’s only entry in the event. And while he said he doesn’t like to dwell on this aspect of the contest, he acknowledged that being one of the seven could bring huge economic return for a country.

Weber said seven is the number that most people can remember. The seven sites that get the most votes will be in the global memory forever, he said.

Before the event started, Weber pulled from the inside pocket of his jacket five old photographs. They were from his first visit to the Bay of Fundy 20 years ago. As his fingers glazed the faded photographs he said he remembers the daily tidal phenomenon being incredible.

“It’s like the heartbeat of the world,” he said.

People can vote for the Bay of Fundy online for free at . They can also vote from their mobile phones by texting FUNDY to 77077 ($0.25 per text vote). Voting continues until New7Wonders of Nature declaration day on Nov. 11, 2011.

Previously published June 30, 2011; Telegraph-Journal