Kid +1 Review: Our Swabby (Pirate Life)

Our Swabby by Pirate Life was a fun afternoon for my son and his friend. The grown-ups had a great time too. After getting our pirate names, attire, and rugged tattoos we set sail for an adventure aboard a pirate ship on the high seas of Toronto harbour. The cast rotates and the production is loosely scripted with significant improvisation based on audience participation, so each adventure is a little bit different.

Pirate Life first set sail in 2015 and offers a new production each season. Pirate adventures are available from May to October with multiple departure times on Saturdays, Sundays and long weekends.

My 7-year-old and his 9-year-old friend were skeptical at first, but their silly pirate names, pirate dress-up, and tough looking Jolly Roger tattoos won them over and they were participating enthusiastically by the time we boarded the boat. The high seas caper included a treasure hunt, a mutiny, a sword fight, water cannons, and a daring rescue. Amidst the swashbuckling high jinks there was also a valuable lesson about treating people kindly and equally and not being a bully.

Not sure how much of a lesson my kid got. According to him, the best part is the water cannons and the sword play. There is pirate swag for sale too and he was very happy to take home a cool pirate sword. My favourite part was the fun and lively musical numbers with opportunities for audience participation.

The bits involve lots of well-executed slap stick, along with some clever punch lines for the grown-ups. The crew is comprised of animated young theatre grads who are clearly having a great time with the gig. Their enthusiasm is completely infectious.

In addition to the fun show and my parrot tattoo, I enjoyed the spectacular views of the Toronto harbourfront provided by the hour-long cruise. The excellent selection of “grog” from Collective Arts Brewing deliciously fueled the merriment.

I highly recommend Our Swabby if you are looking for a fun outing with the kids. Pirate Life can also be booked for school groups and birthday parties. A playful, rollicking good time for buccaneers of all ages.


  • Our Swabby is playing until October 7, 2019 at Toronto Harbour (333 Lakeshore Blvd East)
  • Shows start every hour and fifteen minutes from 9 AM to 4:30 PM, on weekends in May, June, September and October and daily in July and August. Group and School trips available weekdays in May and June.
  • Run time is 1.5 hours with 30 minutes on shore and an hour aboard.
  • Tickets are  $27.
  • Tickets are available online.

Photo provided by company