The Ferry Connection

Travelling by ferry offers that special opportunity to explore isolated villages and less frequented spots where one can catch a glimmer of the past linked together with the current attractions of today.  Ontario ferries are also an exciting way to visit Quebec and our neighbour to the south.

Through photographs and words, we hope to share with others our love of history and the unique essence of this magnificent province, Ontario.  To understand the harshness of earlier times, yet appreciate the beauty of a simpler existence, is a meaningful part of our learning experience.  From an Indian Pow Wow on Christian Island, a tour of Uncle Tom's Cabin in Dresden, a visit to the Loyalist Cultural Centre and Museum in Adolphustown to the pomp and pageantry of British soldiers in War of 1812 regalia at Fort Henry, Kingston, we can discover so much about our historical background. Whether your interest lies in touring lighthouses, canoeing, sharing a meal in an age-old cotton mill or searching your family roots, every chapter offers a variety of great things to do. Viewing the migration of the birds, walking the trails fertile in rare plant growth or cycling down a rural pathway are just some of the ways to enrich our knowledge of this wonderfully diverse landscape.

Modern ferries often take you to places that are normally only accessible by private boat.  This was also true in former years when public transportation by water allowed passengers to visit isolated regions. Commuters seen here are embarking on the steamer, Algonquin, at the Town Wharf in Huntsville, Ontario, 1940. Our book is a compilation of history and information intended to make your excursion on present day Ontario ferries more enjoyable.

In the information, we have included ferry schedules for all locations, fares where applicable, area maps, hotel, camping and restaurant suggestions and telephone numbers for making inquiries. At each ferry location we have offered a selection of excursions for your enjoyment. There is also a list of excursion ferries and their destinations. We hope your journey to such places as Sombra, Manitoulin Island, Pelee Island and Cape Vincent, to name a few, will be a pleasant and memorable one. To read a sample chapter from our book "The Ferry Connection: Around Ontario by Ferry" please click on the NEXT button below.
Information on ports of departure and arrival for Ontario's ferries, as well as schedules, prices, excursions and travel tips have been updated for the 2004 season. However, try as we might, we are not perfect, so if you notice any errors in the book, please e-mail us and we will make the corrections.

On 18 June 2004, the Fast Ferry "The Breeze" completed her maiden journey across Lake Ontario from Rochester, New York to Toronto, Ontario. On 8 September 2004, less than 3 months after its inaugural trip, the Breeze was out of commission. The reasons cited were many, both financial and bureaucratic: a combination of breakdowns, an accident, poor summer weather, the denial of a gambling permit and the refusal of United States Customs  to allow the transport of large commercial vehicles. These were all contributing factors.

On 28 February 2005, the long awaited auction of the fast ferry "The Breeze" or as it is also referred "The Spirit of Ontario" took place at an United States federal courthouse. The City of Rochester backed by a 40 million dollar line of credit from Australia's Export Finance and Insurance Corporation entered the winning bid of 32 million. Most of the issues such as trucks not being allowed and other regulatory problems have for the most part been resolved. The ferry is expected to resume service in May 2005, by which time the interior of the Toronto terminal should be finished. The exterior is already complete. All this is great news for passengers and crew of the problem plagued vessel, as well as the cities of Rochester and Toronto. Let us hope that from now on the high speed ferry enjoys nothing but smooth sailing.

Pictured at top of page, the Canadiana, launched in 1910, carried commuters who worked in Buffalo and patrons of the amusement park, Crystal Beach, Ontario across the Niagara River for a charge of 25 cents, round trip.  Crystal Beach began as a religious compound.  To help raise money, side shows and other similar entertainments were introduced to draw the crowds.  Investors formed the Crystal Beach Company in 1890, and a ferry service was initiated.  In its heyday, the summer resort was nicknamed The Atlantic City of the Great Lakes.