The History of Long and Brier Islands

Petit and Grand Passage Ferry

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The History of the Long and Brier Island Ferries

We will start our history of Long and Brier Island Ferries by first looking at the first licensed ferryman, and the first licensed ferryman was at Petite Passage. There was two families primarily involved in providing a ferry on the two passages. They were the Blackford family at Petite Passage and the Morrell family at Grand Passage. We will start with looking at the Petite Passage with the granting of the first licensed in 1804 to operate a ferry. We will follow this family ferry operation till it was sold to the Department of Highways in September 17, 1947. After that we will follow the Morrell family ferry till the Department of highways took over the Grand Passage Ferry and that was also September 17, 1947.

Petite Passage

A Little History of the Blackford Family before Starting the First Licensed Ferry at Petite Passage

Martin Blackford was a Scotchman who fought for Prince Charlie and was taken prisoner. He, however, escaped and made his way to New Jersey, USA, where he married and prospered.  Martin Blackford, with members of his family migrated to Canada.

History tells us that Martin Blackford, a United Empire Loyalist was living in Digby prior to February 20, 1784, in 1801 a grant of confirmation from George III, King of England, granted to Loyalist living in Digby County “lands and waterways of which they were in possession”. He later received a large grant of land at Sandy Cove on Digby Neck and live there for a while.

1803

On October 10, 1803 Martin Blackford bought 100 acres of land at East ferry, and moved his family there to pursue in the fishing trade.

1804

In 1804, The General Session of the Peace granted Martin Blackford a license to run a ferry across Petite Passage, on payment of the clerk’s fee, also a tavern license in gratis for subsidy for attending the ferry. He was allowed to charge each passenger one shilling silver, equal to $.25.

Petite Passage although only 2000 feet in width, was a barrier to transport livestock of the early settlers. The ferryman soon realize as they watched the currents that had a force of six to eight knot and that at high and at low tide, for periods of fifteen to twenty minutes the rush of water slackened. These comparatively quiet minutes allowed them to ferry the passage in their clumsy boats with cattle and horses, as they swam, they were led by rowboats across the Passages. This method of ferrying farm stock across the passages continued until the Steam Ferries (horse or cattle boat ferries) were first used in April 1889 at Petite Passage.

1847

Lemuel Morehouse the contractor that carries mail from the Digby to Brier Island has applied for a grant of Ten Pounds, to reimburse an expense to that amount which he has been obliged unavoidably to occur in procuring a conveyance of the mails, which, as a Courier, he conveys between Digby and Brier Island, across Petite Passage and Grand Passage, he being obliged to make private bargains with individuals to carry the Mails across those Ferries-there being no licensed Ferryman upon whom it is obligatory to perform that service for him; as there are circumstances in this case which distinguish it from the general rule, and as similar grants for similar purposes have been made to Morehouse in former years, the Committee recommended a grant of Ten Pounds to enable him to pay his Ferriages for the last year( Looks as if Mr. Morehouse had applied for this grant previous years and he had received this Grant to pay the ferries).

1851

In the 1851 General Session of the Province of Nova Scotia a grant was given to the ferrymen of Petite and Grand Passage. Two pounds ten shillings, each, to two ferrymen, one on each side of the Petite Passage,(=each $3.96 Can), and 5 pounds(=$9.43) to the Ferryman at the Grand Passage, in the County of Digby .

The dollar has been the currency of Canada since 1858

1852

In November 1852, Anthony Blackford was appointed East Ferry side, William McKay appointed Tiverton side. The following rates were also established for the ferriages: for a single foot passenger, one shilling (about $.20); for a single horse, one shilling and three pence(about $.25); for a single horse and carriage, two shillings (about $.40 ); for an ox, cow or other cattle, one shilling(about $.20 ); for sheep and swine, three pence( about $.05) each.

1854

General Sessions of the Peace, November Term 1854

At Petite Passage, Joseph Blackford was appointed ferryman on the East Ferry side, while Samuel Outhouse was appointed ferryman on the Long Island side. It was also ordered that the regulations of the ferries at Grand Passage and Petite Passage be continued.

1858

General Sessions of the Peace, November Term 1858

It was ordered by the court that Israel Blackford be appointed ferryman at Petite Passage.

1873

In 1873 the Court of General Session appointed David Scott for both sides, taking away the Blackford ferry at East ferry side.

1875

A petition for Digby Neck and Long Island dated November 1875 asking to have Israel Blackford to be ferry man East Ferry side.

Petite Passage Petition;

To the Court Of General Sessions to be held in Digby, November Term 1885.

May It Please Your Honorable Court, we the undersigned inhabitants of Digby Neck and Long Island, beg humbly to represent that Israel Blackford for a number years perform the duties of Ferryman on the East Side of Petite Passage and that some two years ago a ferryman was appointed on the West Side to our great inconvenience as we have frequently had to wait for an hour on the shore for the Ferryman to come from the West Side, therefore we humbly pray that your Honorable Court will please appoint a Ferryman for each side of the Passage, a privilege we have always enjoyed till the past two years. We also beg you will please appoint Israel Blackford, Ferryman on the East Side of the Passage as he performed the duties for a number of years when the travel was so small that it paid almost nothing and as soon as the Ferry paid anything Mr. Blackford was deprived of it, and as he has had a long experience and is well fitted for the duties of Ferryman we humbly pray your Honorable Court to give our Petition a favorable consideration and as in duty your Petitioners will even pray.

The General Session November Term 1875 appointed David Scott Tiverton side, Israel Blackford East Ferry side.

1876

In the General Session of the Peace 1876 David Scott was appointed both sides.

1877

Again in 1877 David Scott was appointed both sides.

Sometime before 1881 Henry A. Blackford moved from East ferry to Tiverton as he and his family was on the 1871-1881 Census Tiverton.

1880

General Session of the Peace May Term 1880

That David Scott of Tiverton, be and he is hereby appointed ferryman for both sides of Petite Passage, the present year, the party who was appointed for the Eastern side, in January last, having refused to act.

1886

General Session of the Peace January Term 1886

 In 1886, Henry Alline Blackford was appointed both sides.

1888

In 1888 of the Court of General Session, Byron Blackford was appointed Ferryman both sides Petite Passage. And that the following be the rates to be charged as ferriage, for a single passenger $.25; for a horse $.45; for a carriage $.40; for a horse and carriage $.75; for horned cattle per he head $.30; for sheep per head five cents; for cattle under two years per head $.20; for goods under 100 pounds five cents; over 100 pounds to 200 pounds $.10; over 200 pounds, for every 200 pounds, $.20.

That all ferryman regularly appointed by the Council be, has they are hereby respectively required to take out a license for running such ferry, for which a fee of one dollar be paid in addition to the fee for placing the Seal of the Corporation on said License.

In 1888 a petition was presented to the Government asking for a Steam Ferry for Petite Passage.

House of Assembly

Monday, March 5, – Mr. McNeil presented a petition from William Cumming and 150 other inhabitants, of Brier and Long Island’s, Digby, in reference to a steam ferry service. He asked to have the petition referred to the government.

1889

In April 1889 Byron Blackford had the first Steam Ferry to cross Petite Passage and it was to convey horse carriages and cattle.

The Digby Courier dated April 12, 1889 “The horse boat at Tiverton under the direction of Byron Blackford, ferryman, will be in readiness for the convenience of horses and cattle across Petite Passage, on or about April 25.”

1891

General Session of the Peace January Term 1891. Ferryman both sides Petite Passage: Byron Blackford.

Nova Scotia House of Assembly Halifax April 1891. Byron Blackford received a $60.00 grant as ferryman and he would collect fares for taking passengers, animals and freight across the Petite Passage. Byron Blackford received $100.00 grant for his cattle ferry and collected fees for passengers, carriages and animals.

1899

Digby Weekly Courier March 24, 1899:   “Herbert Thurber has lately finished a boat to be used in the ferry service.” This was the second Steam Ferry Boat for Tiverton.

Digby Weekly Courier June 2, 1899;

Notice

The horse and cattle ferry boat at Tiverton will be laid up for repairs from May 27th until June 6

                               Byron Blackford Tiverton, Digby County, May 23rd, 1899

1902

Mail Service 1902

The mail service at Westport had changed some time ago that Westport would have a winter season for mail hours and a summer season for mail. The Islanders were annoyed over the daily Mail arriving at Westport after 12 o’clock midnight during the four months of summer, keeping people out of their beds to get their mail and answer all business letters. It also makes it very dangerous crossing the passage at night in thick fog, windy nights and as a consequence the mail drivers have no passengers as well as the ferryman. A great financial loss to both ferryman and mail drivers.

In June 1902 a petition was circulated about this for summer month mail service that would start at the beginning of June and running till October in hopes of having it changed, sorry to say there was no notice of a change to the situation. W. R. Eldridge of Sandy Cove and his staff of drivers on the Digby Neck; Byron Blackford, ferryman at Petite Passage; Edward Blackford proprietor of the Long Island Mail route; Ralph Morrell ferryman, at Grand Passage, and the postmasters deserve great credit for the regularity of the mails, considering that the greater portion of the work during the summer months, has been performed while other people were sleeping.

1903

In 1903 the first Government wharf at Tiverton was completed with the help of Byron Blackford, designing the inclined slip that was included in the contract. The Slip was 100 ft. x 10 ft. on the southern side to unload his Steam Ferry. Before that it landed on the beach at Max Point.

1905

 June 1905 we see in the Digby Weekly Courier that Westport was to have daily Mail arriving in the morning.

July 1905: The morning mail made a big difference at the Post Office in Westport with having to make the Post Office larger and with better facilities with the increase in mail.   

The mail regulations required Byron Blackford to use sail and oars as means of propulsion of his boat as he transferred the mail. Word was passed on to him by a friend, that an Official was making a routine check of postal matters on Digby Neck and the Islands. So knowing when the official was to arrive on the mail carriage, Byron arrived on the East Ferry side with the boat equipped with oars and sail. The mail and the official were stowed in the small boat and the hard pull for Tiverton was started. The tide was running strong in the whirlpool at the end of Max point and at its worst for the tide.

Conversation was limited, but it was sufficient to convince the official, with the back-eddies swirling around the boat, that grave danger was imminent for himself and the ferryman. He inquired as to the extent of the danger and was assured by Mr. Blackford that they were fortunate, they would safely reach the other shore. It was pointed out to him that the back eddies at Max point where their worst hazard. There was little comfort when “By” explained that no one had been lost in the Passage during the previous fortnight. Although the ferryman gave plenty of leeway for the depth, they were surely being swept to the maelstrom off Max point. The point which now spelled disaster in large letters to the official.” Are we not getting rather close to that point?” queried the Official. ”By” assured him they were. Then the official wanted to know if there wasn’t some way in which they could pull away from the back eddies. There was a way he was informed, but not with the strength of the ferryman’s arms. The gasoline boats cruising nearby could tow them to safety. But that would not be according to regulations. A discussion ensued and after the Official solemnly declared that in no way he’d be blamed did “By” hail the boat for a tow. When the official reached the Tiverton side of the Passage he informed Mr. Blackford that he would press for an addition in the regulations. He would make strong recommendations that gasoline boats would be recognized as the mode of propulsion along with oars and sail.

In the October 6th 1905 the Digby Weekly Courier paper informed us that “His Majesty’s mails was now being carried by gasoline boats.”

1906

In April 1906 Petite Passage had a new gasoline ferry boat, build at Freeport by Gilbert Bates and an engine installed by Mr. Frank Ruggles of Tiverton.

1909

In April 1909 a new bell was erected on French Beach, East Ferry for the purpose of calling the Tiverton ferryman when passengers or freight is ready to be taken across. Mr. Dickson representing the Imperial Oil Company, who sells thousands of barrels of gasoline in that locality has presented the public with the new bell. This will make a big improvement over the old alarm and will be greatly appreciated by the traveling public.

December 20, 1909;   Dr. Bradford Stanley Bishop our Island Doctor brought the first car on Long Island with the Petite Ferry. The car was a 1909 McKay Penn 30 built at Kentville.

1915

In April 1915 Byron Blackford had a new ferry boat built by Mr. Burrell Outhouse. “By” sold the boat before it was used as a ferry boat. It was used as a Fishery Patrol Boat. Sometime later “By” had another boat built and he called it “O-You-Kicker”.

1926

In December 1926 Byron Blackford lost his ferry boat “Oh- You- Kicker”in a storm, when the boat sank at the moorings.

1932
        By” had another boat built at the boat shop of J. Burrell Outhouse in September 1932. It was put in service between “Long Island and Nova Scotia” as “By” puts it. This new boat is 36 feet in length and is one of the finest ever built on the Islands. It is equipped with three Acadian Gas Engines; one 5 h.p. on each bilge and a 15 – 25 4 cycle engine in the center. Up forward is a roomy and comfortable cabin. This boat now completed, and ready for launching, but will not be put into service until the new wharf at East Ferry is completed. The name of this new boat is “I – Think – So”.

1934

November 1934 The Tiny Tattler; “An engine has been installed at the head of the slip at Tiverton to tow up the cars.”

1935

In August 1935 George Delaney of Central Grove while driving down the hill at East ferry barely escaped death when he, failing to turn the turn at the foot of the hill, plunged over the banking and into the water. The truck, which was loaded with logs, was a complete wreck. The driver, however, only received a deep cut on the leg, which required 15 stitches.

1936

An article in the Digby Courier dated November 13, 1936, Long And Brier Island residents were complaining that the ferry boats could not take trucks across the passages during all times of the tides. They claim “The present ferry service between Long Island and East Ferry on the mainland has been vastly improved in the past few years, but apparently does not come up to the requirements of the shippers and buyers of fish on the islands. Who claim, that with a ferry service by which they could take trucks across at any time of the tide, fish trucks would run between the Islands and Digby almost daily. The problem being that the ferry slips do not go to the low watermark. They contend that an improved ferry service would not only be of advantage to themselves and the fishermen but to all concerned. During the past few years automobile traffic on the Islands has been greatly increased, and more motor tourists are visiting the Islands each year.

Breakwater Improvements on the Neck and Islands.

 With the completion of Breakwater improvements at both Freeport and Westport, now well underway, the problem of crossing Grand Passage with the car or truck will be simplified. The improvements being made to both slips will make it possible to have vehicles put on the scow at Freeport on Long Island, or Westport, On Brier Island, on the opposite side of Grand Passage, at any time of the tide. At the present time cars can only be ferried across the passage at high water. Extensive repairs to the Tiverton Breakwater are to be expected to begin shortly. Digby Municipal Council asked the Provincial Government to take over management and operation of the Long and Brier and Island ferries and make them part of the Highway system of Nova Scotia.

1940

And in January 1940 Digby Municipal Council was asked to make a resolution to have the ferries made a continuation of the highways. The Council’s resolution further states that although rates of ferries only provide reasonable return to ferryman they’d nevertheless, constitute a burden to the community. Claim is further made that the better facilities would materially affect that economic well-being of the inhabitants of Long and Briar Islands, about 1500 in number, by providing an alternate route for shipment of fish, thus making other markets assessable. In conclusion the resolution stated: such ferries are links in the main highway along Digby Neck and Islands, being the sole means of communication by land with the mainland, the Municipal Council sent in their reguest to the Nova Scotia Government : “Be it therefore resolved that this Council concurs in the petition of the Fundy Board of Trade and request the Department of Highways of the Province of Nova Scotia to take over the management and operation of said ferries as part of the Highway system of Nova Scotia”.

1941

August 1941 a new ferry boat to replace the present “Think- So” which has in operation for the past six years, is under construction in the boat shop of J. Burwell Outhouse, Tiverton. The boat will be considerably larger than the previous one and will be propelled by three powerful motors as an insurance against breakdowns in the passage, fame for its swift tide and dangerous rips. Name of this new ferry boat is “She-Oughta-Go”

1941 the rate for ferrying car and driver across the passages will be reduced from one dollar to $.50.

1942

Digby Courier July 26, 1942 a larger scow capable of handling heavy transport trucks will soon be in operation between East Ferry and Tiverton. The scow at present is capable of carrying only two passenger cars. The scow is being built by the government and will be in operation in the near future.

1946

Digby Courier August 29, 1946; Supplementary estimates tabled in the House of Commons last week revealed $300,000 as earmarked for the improvement of ferry landings at East ferry and Tiverton and at Freeport and Westport.

A long and interesting history was brought to a close Tuesday, September 17, 1946 when the Provincial Government took over the “Blackford” Ferry operating across Petite Passage, connecting East Ferry on the mainland with Tiverton on Long Island.

Grand Passage

Briar Island has been inhabited as early as 1769 and with the arrival of the loyalists in 1783 Westport has since grown. The separation of Long and Brier Islands with the Grand Passage there has always been the need for some sort of ferry to transport the people back and forth. There must of been several people that have held this position from the early years to the time that a ferryman was licensed to do the job.

Long and Brier Islands was called the Township of Westport as mentioned in the General Session of December Term 1839. The Township of Westport was founded that year. With the establishment of the ferry.

1822

No written record of a ferry at Grand Passage till 1822. Tradition tells us that George Morrell started a ferry in 1817. In 1822 James Peters of Briar Island Was Licensed by the General Assembly. He probably crossed at the southerly end of Grand Passage and landed at Dartmouth Point. In 1825 James Titus became ferryman at Grand Passage. This ferry became abandoned.

1826

In 1826 George Morrell moved to Freeport from Westport and was licensed to operate a ferry from Fish Point to the Dyke (“Schofield’s Dyke”) on the Western side of Grand Passage.

1839

George Morrell died in 1839 and his oldest son operated the Grand Passage Ferry.

Edward Morrell was the licensed Ferryman at Grand Passage in 1839

1847

Money to take mail across Petite and Grand Passage 1847

House of Assembly Province of Nova Scotia 1847

Lemuel Morehouse the contractor that carries mail from the Digby to Brier Island has applied for a grant of Ten Pounds, to reimburse at expense to that amount which he has been obliged unavoidably to occur in procuring a conveyance of the mails, which, as a Courier, he conveys between Digby and Brier Island, across Petite Passage and Grand Passage, he being obliged to make private bargains with individuals to carry the Mails across those Ferries-there being no licensed Ferryman upon whom it is obligatory to perform that service for him; as there are circumstances in this case which distinguish it from the general rule, and as similar grants for similar purposes have been made to Morehouse in former years, the Committee recommended a grant of Ten Pounds to enable him to pay his Ferriages for the last year.

1850

Edward Morrell gave the Ferry at Grand Passage up in 1850

His brother William Morrell was the next Licensed Ferryman for Grand Passage in 1850

1851

General Session of the Province of Nova Scotia 1851;  Granting –  5 pounds to the ferryman at Grand Passage = $9.43 (Canadian 2015 money).

General Session of the Province of Nova Scotia 1851

Five Pounds to the Ferryman at the Grand Passage, in the County of Digby – to be paid on the Certificate of three Justices of the Peace for the County, that suitable Boats have been provided – that the perspective Ferries have been constructed under the regulations of the General Sessions, and that the public have been properly accommodated. (This was a subsidy for a boat)

1852

General Sessions of the Peace 1852

The following rates were established for the ferriages: for a single foot passenger, one shilling (about $.20); for a single horse, one shilling and three pence(about $.25); for a single horse and carriage, two shillings (about $.40 ); for an ox, cow or other cattle, one shilling(about $.20 ); for sheep and swine, three pence( about $.05) each.

1853

General Session of the Peace, November Term, 1853

After reading the petition of E. A. Jones and others, for a ferry at Brier Island it was ordered by the court that John Peters be kept as ferryman at that place. The following rates were set for Grand Passage: for a single foot passenger, one shilling and three pence: for a horse and carriage, two shillings: for an ox, cow or other cattle, one shilling: for sheep and swine, three pence each.  

These early Ferrymen transported their passengers by rowing and sometimes by sail. The animals they learned they could cross these passages at slack tide.

Petite Passage although only 2000 feet in width, was a barrier to transport livestock of the early settlers. The ferryman soon realize as they watched the currents that had a force of six to eight knot and that at high and at low tide, for periods of fifteen to twenty minutes the rush of water slackened. These comparatively quiet minutes allowed them to ferry the passage in their clumsy boats. Cattle and horses as they swam, were led by rowboats across the Passages.

This method of ferrying farm stock across the passages continued until the Steam Ferries (horse or cattle boat ferries) were first used in April 1889 at Petite Passage.

1854

General Sessions of the Peace, November Term, 1854

In 1854 General Sessions of the Peace it was ordered that John Peters be ferryman for Brier Island side and George Morrell for the Long Island side.

The dollar has been the currency of Canada since 1858

1886

General a Sessions of the Peace, January Term 1886: Ferryman for Grand Passage William Morrell

1888

General Sessions of the Peace, January Term 1888: Ferryman for Grand Passage William Morrell.

April 6, 1888, a letter that was sent to the Digby Weekly Courier about the ferryman at Grand Passage Ferry.

Our Grand Passage Ferry

This ferry, as many of your readers know, has been for some thirty – three or four years, in charge of one who everybody is going to praise very highly when he dies, as your correspondent thinks it well to speak a good word of him now. His important public service, and his manner of performing it, when know, insufficient praise. He is one of a few who can furnish the level head, the strength of arm, and steady courage this service demands. This passage is one of the liveliest pieces of water found in the far famed Bay of Fundy. In the time of high winds it is alarmingly turbulent; yet this Mr. Morrell has crossed every day, with few exceptions, for the third of a century, without accident. The winter service is especially laborious, as well as dangerous. It demands much exposure to cold and wet, long heavy pulls at that oar, the launching and hauling up of the boat from the tides way, but with few of the necessary conveniences which should be provided for such an important service. Of this, I speak of what I know from having crossed this passage when it is required the strength and skill of three men to launch and Man the boat for the time. We were literally covered with ice when we landed because of the heavy sea breaking over us, and the cold. As might reasonably be expected, the health of this valuable public servant is being impaired by this hard service. This indicates that some improvements are demanded. Your correspondent would respectfully suggest that for the winter service a sufficient sum be granted to command the services of two good man, at least then this is not sufficient. Then, that a small sum be expended for a breakwater and boat slip on the Freeport shore. This would very much lessen the danger and labor of landing and launching, that are now unavoidable.

Westport, April 2nd, 1888

1889

A Petition was also sent in to the Government by Mr. Robichaud. He presented a petition from William Morrell and 110 inhabitants of Long and Brier Island asking for a grant for a Cattle Ferry or Steam Ferry for Grand Passage  in March 1889.

Petite Passage had their horse boat or steam ferry in operation April 1889 in

1891

Nova Scotia House of Assembly Halifax, April 1891;

William Morrell received $60.00 Grant as a Ferryman from Nova Scotia, he would also collect fares for taking people and animals across the Grand Passage. .25cents per person

1893

A clipping from the Digby Weekly Courier dated June 2, 1893

“We have had a call from Mr. Tobin, of Digby, who is employed in the new Drug Store. He drove his own horse down to Grand Passage but could get him no further as there was no horse boat here”. The horse boat or steam ferry was in place at Petite Passage in April 1889.

1895

Obituary: William Morrell

May 21st, 1895

We Regret to Chronicle this week the death of William Morrell, of Freeport, which occurred Tuesday the 21st inst. after an illness of about nine weeks. Mr. Morrell was the son of the late George Morrell who removed from Brier Island to Freeport and received a license as ferryman of Grand Passage in 1826, which position he held until his death in 1839. The ferry was then cared for by his older son until 1850 when the subject of this sketch to charge of it at the age of 15. For forty – five years almost without a break he crossed this often rough and treacherous passage without a single accident. The traveling public will very much regret his death and it will be hard to realize that the familiar form and kind have of always obliging ferryman at Fish Point has in turn been ferried “over the silent River to that country from whose home no traveler returns”. His pleasant home, which has always open and where he delighted to entertain strangers and friends assisted by his more than hospitable wife, will always be kindly remember by their many friends throughout the province. Mr. Morrell was a man of more than average abilities and a man that took a prominent part in every movement and best welfare of the community. For a number of years he has been the most prominent and active official member of the Freeport Baptist Church and in Church work he will be quite a much missed as at the ferry. The deceased was aged 60 years. He leaves a widow and adopted daughter and niece to mourn a repairable loss to whom the courier extends its heartfelt sympathy.

General Session of the Peace, February Term 1895: Ferryman Grand Passage William Morrell.

1896

General Session of the Peace, January Term 1896: Grand Passage ferry license issued to Mrs. Fanny Morrell wife of William Morrell. (James Fairfield Morrell, brother of William Morrell ran the ferry for Mrs. Fanny Morrell.)

Grand Passage Ferry was having a new Steam Launch or horse ferry being built in Westport in January 1896. A clipping from the Digby Weekly Courier dated January 17, 1896; “A Fine Specimen of workmanship is the steam launch which Mr. Strickland has under construction; it is about 30 feet keel and will be named the Queen City. It will no doubt be well adapted for the ferry service on the harbor to Freeport.”

Digby Weekly Courier dated April 17 1896; “Mr. Strickland’s steam launch is finely painted bearing the name in guilt letters (Gem){Change in the Name of Ferry}. The boiler an engine are placed in the steamer preparatory to launching.” So the new name for this steam ferry is “Gem.”

The new steam ferry “Gem” went in service between Freeport and Westport of this 28th day of August 1896. The travelers driving Digby Neck with their own teams, as is often the case, are now able to go straight to Westport in their own carriage.

1901

General Session of the Peace February Term 1901; Ferryman for Grand Passage Ralph Morrell.

1902

Mail Service 1902

The mail service at Westport had changed some time ago that Westport would have a winter season for mail hours and a summer season for mail. The Islanders were annoyed over the daily Mail arriving at Westport after 12 o’clock midnight during the four months of summer, keeping people out of their beds to get their mail and answer all business letters. It also makes it very dangerous crossing the passage at night in thick fog, windy nights and as a consequence the mail drivers have no passengers as well as the ferryman. A great financial loss to both ferryman and mail drivers.

In June 1902 a petition was circulated about this for summer month mail service that would start at the beginning of June and running till October in hopes of having it changed, sorry to say there was no notice of a change to the situation. W. R. Eldridge of Sandy Cove and his staff of drivers on the Digby Neck; Byron Blackford, ferryman at Petite Passage; Edward Blackford proprietor of the Long Island Mail route; Ralph Morrell ferryman, at Grand Passage, and the postmasters deserve great credit for the regularity of the mails, considering that the greater portion of the work during the summer months, has been performed while other people were sleeping.

1905

June 1905 we see in the Digby Weekly Courier that Westport was to have daily Mail arriving in the morning.

July 1905: The morning mail made a big difference at the Post Office in Westport with having to make the Post Office larger and with better facilities with the increase in mail.  

Digby Weekly Courier June 30, 1905; “Ralph Morrell, the ferryman, has about completed the ferry landing at Ruggles wharf, and will soon have a new ferry.

Digby Weekly Courier August 4, 1905;   “The new gasoline ferry boat made her first appearance on Sunday evening. This is very convenient for the traveling public, and the builder, Mr. Charles Coggins, deserve great praise for the neat structure. We wish Mr. Morrell success with these new boat.” He called this boat “Kingsley” ( Grand Passage had the first Gasoline ferry)

Digby Weekly Courier September 29, 1905;  The government has build a new breakwater at Freeport. The wharf will be 330 feet long, 30 feet wide with 13 feet of water at the end at low tides. It will have a stone approach of 75 feet with a faced wall on the South – West side, an inclined slip on the opposite side for a ferry or a steamboat ferry landing at all times of the tide.

Digby Weekly Courier October 6, 1905;    His Majesty’s mails are also being carried by gasoline boats at various places along the coast. These boats are a great convenience to the travelers, few of whom would like to return to the old state or rowboat ferry of a few years ago.

1906

Digby Weekly Courier June 29, 1906;  

Accident at Freeport

“Mr. Ralph Morrell, of Freeport, the popular ferryman across Grand Passage, met with an accident on the Freeport breakwater Tuesday, which resulted in a bad cut on the arm. A physician was immediately summoned and we are pleased to state the wound is doing as well as can be expected.”

1908

The Digby Weekly Courier of February 14, 1908 tells us of the big storm that happened along our coast. This South – East gale done a lot of damage to Westport, to the wharfs and roads. The long wharf that was built 50 years ago by the late B. H. Ruggles went down on Saturday night’s gale. Ralph Morrell our ferryman built a slip on this wharf June 1905, for landing his ferry. When the mail boat came over to Westport, Ralph had to anchor and signal for a dory to come off and take the mail and passengers ashore. There was no place to land. There was a lot of inconvenience till a new wharf could be built.

1910

Digby Weekly Courier June 3, 1910;

“Word comes from Freeport that the motorboat “Kingsley”, owned by Ralph Morrell, and used as a ferry on Grand Passage between Westport and Freeport, has been greatly improved by the addition of a hunting cabin which gives her the appearance of a raised deck cruiser. She has been thoroughly overhauled and newly painted. Another improvement is a new silent muffler which is much appreciated by the passengers. Capt. Morrell is now ready for excursionist and special trips to any point in St. Mary’s Bay or Bay of Fundy. We understand the Kingsley will bring a crowd of excursionist to Digby Dominion Day who will be particularly interested in the Marine sports.”

Dominion Day Boat Race

“Ralph Morrell, of Freeport in his O. K. won first place for small pleasure boats with not more than 4 H.P. Motors.”

1911

1911 Westport gets new Wharf.

“The pier will be completed about September 20. The pier is 440 feet long.”

Grand Passage ferry “Kingsley” gets a thorough overhauling; “Mr. Ralph Morrell, the popular ferryman across Grand Passage, who carries the mail and passengers between Freeport and Westport, has given his ferry boat Kingsley a thorough overhauling and painting, it is better prepared than ever to serve the traveling public. Mr. Morrell also attends to all kinds of special trips, picnic parties and private excursions. He can be reached by telephone at all hours via the Westport and Digby line. His patrons are guaranteed satisfaction.”

1919

Digby Weekly Courier July 19, 1919;  “R. E. Morrell, our popular ferryman had the misfortune of having his speedy craft crushed by the S.S. Keith Cann docking on the eighth. The engine was saved.” (Ferry “Kingsley” Crushed”

1927

         Digby Courier Feb. 18th 1927 :

Accident on Grand Passage Ferry knocking 4 overboard

Narrow Escape of Four

“Passengers on the ferry operating between Freeport and Westport had a narrow escape on Monday when the steamer Keith Cann caught the ferry on her forward quarter, the impact knocked four of the ferries passengers overboard being rescued by the Keith Cann. The remaining two scrambled aboard the steamer and the ferry made port without further mishap.” ( Same steamer that had crushed Mr. Morrell’ ferry “Kingsley”in 1919)

1933

Grand Passage Ferryman Ralph Morrell Dies at 57

Ralph Morrell (1877-1933)

One of Digby counties best-known and most popular citizens, in the person of Ralph Morrell, of Freeport died on Sunday morning after an illness of but two weeks. He was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. George Morrell (Mistake in Digby Weekly Courier; Ralph Morrell’s father was James Fairfield Morrell. Ralph Morrell was the Grandson of George Morrell.), and was born in Freeport 57 years ago. His father for years was the ferryman between Freeport and Westport, and on his death his mantle fell upon Ralph, and it was in his capacity of ferryman that he made so many acquaintances and won so many friends. He was an earnest and active worker in their United Baptist Church at Freeport, and for years was superintendent of the Sunday school, and has for some years held the office of deacon in the church. Besides his widow, a daughter of the late W. Lewis of Freeport, he is survived by his son, Kingsley, at home; a sister, Annie Fader, in Lynn, Mass.; and two brothers, Fenwick and Arthur, in Massachusetts. The funeral was held on Wednesday and was conducted under the auspices of the local lodge of Oddfellows, of which he was an active member.

Junior editor of the Digby Courier, last trip with Ralph Morrell Grand Passage. “I was one of the passengers to be carried over Grand Passage on the last trip Ralph made. On that trip I was returning from Westport, where I had been to get the story of the Ena F. Parsons wreck, and he very obligingly steered his ferry boat around the wreck so, that I could take a few snapshots. That was just two weeks ago last Sunday morning.

                                                                     Ye Junior Ed.

1934

Grand Session of the Peace 1934; To run the ferry from landing pier, Freeport to landing pier at Westport-Mrs. R. E. Morrell.

Mrs. R. E. Morrell ( Elizabeth Morrell) held this Ferry license for Grand Passage, and had Arthur Sullivan of Freeport run this ferry for her till 1943, and at that time a license to operate the ferry at Grand Passage was transferred to Arthur Sullivan.

1936

The island residents in November of 1936 where asking for a better ferry service. They contend that the present ferry service where inadequate. Fish laden trucks cannot be ferried across Grand Passage from Briar Island to Long Island, and then across Petite Passage to Digby Neck mainland at all times of the tide. They contended that an improved ferry services would not only be of advantage to themselves and the fishermen, but to all concerned. During the past few years automobile traffic on the Islands has been greatly increased and more motor tourists are visiting the Islands each year. It is also claimed by them that tradesmen in Digby would realize a benefit from a ferry service that would permit more traffic between the Islands and the shiretown.

1939

Digby Courier October 1939; “With the completion of breakwater improvements at both Freeport and Westport, now well underway the problem of crossing Grand Passage with a car or truck will be simplified. The improvements being made to both slips will make it possible to have vehicles put on the scow at Freeport, Long Island, or Westport, on Brier Island, on the opposite side of Grand Passage, at any time of the tide. Up until a few years ago the same condition existed at East ferry on the Digby Neck mainland across Grand Passage to Tiverton on Long Island, but this situation was corrected when the new East Ferry breakwater was completed, a few years ago. Extensive repairs to the Tiverton breakwater are expected to begin shortly.

1940

Digby County Municipal Council endorses resolution to improve ferry services, January 1940.

“ A resolution from the Fundy Board of Trade dealing with Petite and Grand Passage ferries, was adopted by the Digby Municipal Council in its annual session here on Tuesday. The aim of the resolution is to have the ferries made a continuation of the highways. No action was taking to state in this matter of one collector for the municipality, although in discussion it was revealed collections under the present system cost the municipality $2600 in 1939. Another resolution supported the Fundy Board of Trade of Digby Neck and Islands in their effort for improved ferry service over Petit Passage from East Ferry to Tiverton and over Grand Passage from Freeport to Westport, and points out that by chapter 80 R.S.N.S., 1923, authority over ferries in the municipality is conferred to the municipality, and goes on to say that by reason of increased motor vehicle traffic, existent accommodations are inadequate. The Council’s resolution further states that although rates of ferriage only provide reasonable return to ferryman, they nevertheless, constitute a burden to the community. In conclusion the resolution stated: such ferries are links in the main Highway along Digby Neck and Islands, being the sole means of communication by land with the mainland; “Be it Therefore resolved that this Council concurs in the petition of the Fundy Board of Trade and request the Province of Nova Scotia to take over management and operation of said ferry as part of the Highway system of Nova Scotia.

1941

1941 the rate for ferrying car and driver across the passages will be reduced from one dollar to $.50.

1943

General Sessions of the Peace 1943; Ferrying from Freeport to Westport – Arthur Sullivan.

Arthur Sullivan of Freeport pulled the scow with an old boat with a make- and -break engine hauling the ramps in and out by hand or by brute strength. Many truckloads of salt fish from the firms traveled this ferry on their way to export, but this could only be accomplished at the time only by taking across half a load and returning for the other half.

1945

Arthur Sullivan dies from the result of a house fire February 14th, 1945

Arthur Sullivan’s home was midway down Fish Point Hill (He lived in the house that would later become Carl Sullivan’s home). He was starting a fire in the kitchen stove with gasoline, and caught the house on fire. The fire was extinguished and the house saved but Arthur died shortly after as a result of the fire.

Emerson Titus was the next ferryman at Grand Passage after Arthur Sullivan’s death.

1946

The Digby Courier May 16th 1946 addition tells of a heated discussion over Digby Neck ferries.

“A heated discussion arose at Friday afternoon session of Municipal Council when M. S. Leonard, local barrister, appeared with regard to certain remarks made at a previous meeting concerning the operation of the Digby Neck Ferries and the safety of these ferries.(At this meeting, Counselor Kenney had claimed that a repetition of the Robert Can threaten if immediate action was not taken.) Mr. Leonard represented Byron Blackford, owner of the Petite Passage operating between Tiverton and East Ferry. Mr. Leonard pointed out the ferry owned by Mr. Blackford is a new boat built in 1941. It’s engines were in good condition, a new one having been installed in 1944. He stated life belts were provided and the scow used for the transportation of cars was designed by John Wickwire, Engineer for the Department of Highways. Counselor Kenney claimed that his chief complaint was concerning the Grand Passage ferry operating between Westport and Freeport. Regarding the Blackford ferry he stated the planks at the bow of the scow were badly worn. He agreed present docking facilities were inadequate and claimed government ownership of the system was necessary. “The government is more to blame than the operators,” he said.

August 1946

Supplementary estimates tabled in the House of Commons last week revealed $300,000 as earmarked for the improvement of ferry landings and East Ferry and Tiverton and at Freeport and Westport. Improvements to the ferry landings, along with the paving of Digby Neck Highway, will be one of the greatest assets to Digby County. This year more than 8 miles of the Digby Neck Road are being tore up in preparation for paving operations.

September 17th 1946

The Petite and Grand Passage Ferries are taken over by the Department of Highways and from here on will be Owned and Operated by them and now are part of the Highways.

First Owners and Ferrymen

at

Petite Passage

Martin Blackford              1804-1852                                       Both Sides

Anthony Blackford           1852-1854                                       East Ferry Side

William McKay                 1852-1854                                        Tiverton Side

Joseph Blackford              1854-1858                                       East Ferry Side

Sameul Outhouse            1854-1858                                       Tiverton Side

Israel Blackford                1858-1873      1875                        East Ferry Side

David Scott                       1873-1886       Both Sides with exception 1875

Henry Alline Blackford   1886-1891                                         Both Sides

Byron Blackford              1891-1946                                         Both Sides

Grand Passage

George Morrell               1817-1822                                     Westport Side

James Peters                   1822-1825                                     Westport Side

James Titus                     1825-              Afterwards abandoned

George Morrell              1829-1839                                      Both Sides

Edward Morrell             1839-1850                                      Both Sides

William Morrell             1850-1895                                      Both Sides

Mrs. Fanny Morrell       1895-1901   Ferry operated by Brother-in-law

                                                     James Fairfield Morrell   Both Sides

Ralph E. Morrell             1901- 1933                                   Both Sides

Mrs. Ralph E. Morrell    1933-1943

                                    Ferry Operated by Arthur Sullivan Both Sides

Arthur Sullivan                1943-1945                                    Both Sides

Emerson Titus                 1945- 1946                                   Both Sides

Department of Highways of Nova Scotia

Bought the Ferries and Appointed Ferrymen

There was many factors that “By” used in his decision-making of whether to sell the ferry, in 1946. I think his main reasoning for selling was his health, he was 73 years old and for the last year or so his ill health had prevented him from working on the ferry. He had to hire help to run the ferry for him, and this had made for extra expenses.

This ferry had been passed down from father to son for nearly 150 years, and now at 73, “By” with no sons to leave this ferry with.

There was no promise of a grant for this year 1946 to operate this ferry service. The Digby Municipal Council as far back as 1940, they had asked the Provincial Government to take over the management and operation of these ferries as part of the Highway System of Nova Scotia. The Municipal Council had claimed it had cost the municipality $2,600 in 1939 as grants to operate the two ferries on the Islands.

These ferryman have left a legacy that few have accomplished. With their level head, the strength of arm, and the steady courage that this service demands they have left an amazing story of what this service was all about. These ferryman were well-liked, and having been left in their charge to cross these bodies of strong current under all conditions, whether rain, snow or wind they never had a serious accident in the nearly 150 years that they have been making these crossings.

I think of the years when they would cross these passages with the mail  being delivered to the Post Offices at midnight. The hard pull up and down the beach with their rowboats, as they were no long wharf’s to tie the boat to in those early years.

I know they must of had some helpers that would help at times, no names were mentioned in our research but they had to have had some help.

“By” sold the equipment and ferry to the Department of Highways and the transfer was made September 17th, 1946

Department of Highways takes over Petit and Grand Passage September 17th 1946

The ferry equipment was purchased by the Nova Scotia Department of Highways and the transfer made September 17. Baden Outhouse and Herbert Cossaboom, two returned men, have been appointed ferrymen at Petite Passage. The ferry for the time being is operated by Capt. Elmer Wyman until final details have been completed.

At Grand Passage Emerson Titus was appointed ferryman and Charles Weber was appointed assistant.

Board of Trade Asks for Bridge at Petite Passage; “The resolution passed by the Board read, “Whereas a system of ferries at Petite Passage, between East Ferry and Tiverton, cannot possibly provide proper and adequate service, and whereas the proposed spending of $300,000 to improve these ferries is but a waste of public funds on a project that cannot properly serve the purpose for which it is intended, and whereas the provision of adequate transportation facilities across Petite Passage is an absolute necessity to the economic life of this section of the province, therefore be it resolved that the Digby Board Of Trade petition Federal and Provincial authorities concerned, immediate steps to establish a toll bridge across Petite Passage.”

The cost of building the bridge it was stated, might be a heavy one but in the long run it would not cost any more than the almost continual repair and replacement work needed on the ferries. The distance across Petite Passage is somewhat over 2000 feet. Low tide distance is about 1100 feet. Submarine cables and telephone and Hydro cables across the passage are being continually put out of order by the chafing of the tides and currents. These cables could be attached to the bridge and remedy this, it was stated.

1947

Digby Courier March 13th 1947: The $300,000 that was appropriated for the repair work to the wharfs and four ferry slips at Westport, Freeport, Tiverton and East Ferry has never been started. It was decided to contact the federal government and the federal member for the constituency to find out when repairs to the approaches to both ferries would be started.

 May 1947 Municipal Council dealt with another ferry matter and that was a pension for veteran ferryman Byron Blackford who, prior to his retirement last year, operated the ferry between Tiverton and East Ferry for more than 50 years, starting on the run as a boy of 12. A resolution asking that the Provincial government grant Mr. Blackford and adequate retiring allowance was unanimously passed by the Council. It was pointed out in the resolution that Mr. Blackford had for more than 50 years served the traveling public faithfully, and well at all hours and in all weather and through no fault of his own was forced to abandon the operation of the ferry which was taken over by the government in 1946. Since that time he has been practically unable to carry on any other occupation or pursue any gainful employ and it was felt the government should recognize the long years of untiring devotion to duty to the public interest by granting him an adequate pension or retiring allowance.

In the closing session of their May meeting here Friday morning, The Municipal Council of the District of Digby passed a resolution calling on the Department of Highways of Nova Scotia to replace the present ferry boat running between Westport and Freeport on Digby Neck with an adequate and safe boat to carry on ferry service there. The resolution, moved by W. Woodman, stated, Whereas the Department of Highways of Nova Scotia Is Operating a Ferry between Westport and Freeport in Digby County, and whereas it appears the ferry plying between such points is in very poor condition and actually unsafe, and whereas in view of the traffic between such points and the numbers of passengers carried, it is considered that this dangerous condition should be remedied without delay. Be it therefore resolved that the Municipal Council of the district of Digby hereby requests the Department of Highways take immediate steps to provide a safe and adequate ferry boat to carry on this service.

The new ferry boat for Grand Passage arrives July 1947:  The new ferry boat that will be used at grand passage was towed to Westport by the Capelin. She will run between Westport and Freeport.

1948

Herbert Cossaboom injured on Petite Ferry:  “One Of the Petite Passage Ferryman, Herbert Cossaboom, who met with an accident while working at the engine recently, will be laid off for a few days.

1949

Tenders for the replacement wharf at East Ferry January 20th1949

While the work being done on this wharf at East Ferry, ferry traffic was then moved to French Beach, East ferry.

New Scow for Petite Passage March 10th 1949;. “A scow weighing approximately 45 tons was recently completed by Alfred Thimot at Little Brook. This scow is to be used to ferry automobiles and trucks across Tiverton – East Ferry route at Petite Passage. It is to replace a similar scow which has outlived its usefulness.

1950

Ferry rates, Protection from the sea on the ferry scow March 1950

Complaints are being heard from the residence of Long and Brier Islands concerning the rates on the ferries plying between the two islands and between Long Island and the mainland. Residence state: they feel these rates are not in line with those charged by government operated ferries in other districts and are creating a hardship for those who must make numerous trips to the mainland. It is understood the rates being charged are twenty-five cents each way for passengers on each of the two ferries and one dollar return for cars and trucks on each ferry. Residents state these rates mean it cost a car owner in Westport three dollars each time he brings his car from Brier Island and returns home. If he brings a number of passengers each of those must pay a dollar from Brier Island to the mainland and return.

Besides complaints concerning the ferry rates residence of the Islands are also complaining about the type of service being offered. It is claimed the scow’s on which cars and trucks are carried are not protected from the elements and that, on days when only, a mild sea is running, the cars and trucks are drenched with salt spray which does much damage to the finish. On really stormy days it is not possible to transport cars or trucks across the passage and this, it is claimed, is creating hardships for fish producers and businessmen of the Island.

Byron (“By”) Blackford dies at Seventy-Seven, September 5th 1950

“By” Blackford, for 60 years that genial ferryman between East Ferry and Tiverton has passed. He was our longest working ferryman that are two islands have had.

Truck goes over East Ferry wharf while being loaded on the ferry. November 1950.

George Kenney Junior of Westport had a narrow escape from death Friday evening when a heavy truck he was driving went out of control and plunged over a breakwater at East Ferry. The accident occurred as Kenny was backing the truck up a grade at the breakwater to get in to position to drive down the ramp onto the ferry for Tiverton.

As he tried to change gears he found that the truck would not shift into low and began rolling swiftly down the Hill on the breakwater.

Trying to bring the truck which was loaded with some 1000 feet of lumber to a stop he found the brakes would not work and as the big truck flipped over the breakwater to fall some thirty feet into the sea below, he jumped.

At low tide chains were secured on the truck and it was towed to shore. It was later hoisted back to the highway. Kenny was not injured in his escape.

December 21, 1950; Notice: The Tiverton ferry will operate on the following hours Christmas Day: 8 AM to 10 AM and 3 PM to 6 PM

                                    Tiverton Ferryman

                                              H. D. Cossaboom

                                                B. A. Outhouse

Personal Memory from the 1950s;

I remember as a young boy making trips away with my family then coming back to Petite Passage and seeing that a storm would have come in while we were gone. The wind and waves would make it impossible for the boat to travel with a scow, so the ferry boat, alone, would come to East Ferry to pick us up. Sometimes the swell on the ramp would make it impossible for the ferry boat to pick us up on the ferry slip so we would have to climb out over the side of the wharf and down a ladder, sometimes it would be low-water and a long climb. The mate on the ferry would be waiting for you and would tell you when to jump and would catch you. He would take you into the wheelhouse and go back out to catch the next person coming down the ladder.

As an adult I think back now as what a tremendous responsibility was put on that ferryman to catch the passengers under these harsh conditions. I had never heard of anyone falling into the water.

Upon arrival in Tiverton as a foot passenger you would have to hire a car to take you home and hire another car to take you back the next day to get your own car left in East Ferry for the night.

                                                        Rodney Stark

1953

Ferry Scow Incident: April 2, 1953

Truck Nearly Plunges Off Scow

Irving Everett, driver of an oil truck, had a narrow escape from drowning last Thursday afternoon when the front end of his truck plunged over the age of the ferry scow at Tiverton.

The accident occurred shortly after five o’clock as Everett was putting his truck aboard the scow after a day’s deliveries on Long Island. The truck, in some manner, leap ahead as he was maneuvering it into position on the scow and the front end jumped a heavy bumper along the front edge of the scow.

Everett managed to stop the truck before it went any further but considerable damage was done to the under gears of the truck by the impact with the bumper.

The tractor from the highway road grader, which was working near the head of the ferry wharf, attempted to pull the truck back on the scow but this was not possible. The scow was later reversed and the front end of the truck hoisted on the slip then the truck was backed onto the scow. The tractor made the trip across to East Ferry on the scow in order to pull the damaged truck off on the other side.

Ferry Adrift in Grand Passage May 28th 1953

Adrift in Grand Passage;

Traveling from Freeport to Westport may sound an eventful but not so for nine passengers on Friday.

The “Blitz” pulled out from Freeport slip with scow attached and a car, driven by Capt. William Sharp. After a five-minute crossing the engine suddenly stopped in Grand Passage and the Blitz, with scow, drifted toward the Bay.

When the engineer, Glendon Titus was unsuccessful in his work and fog closed in very thick, he anchored and awaited rescue. After some time the “Maple Leaf”, from Freeport, arrived and the passengers gratefully sang “The Maple leaf Forever”.

The “Blitz” was towed back to Freeport and from there a boat was called. Mr. Bernard McDormand, accompanied by Mr. Emerson Titus, arrived and assisted in getting boat and scow to Westport.

What should have been a ten minute trip proved to be nearly a two hour one.

“Life in Korea may be different than New Brunswick” said a passenger,”but it has nothing on Nova Scotia.”

Westport Ferry Changes Hands: August 6, 1953

The Westport ferry has again changed hands and will be operated by Gordon Dakin and Charles Weber, of Westport.

For the past few years Emerson Titus assisted by Mr. Weber and later by Glendon Titus, has made the crossing, summer and winter, often in the middle of the night, to carry late sojourners, or perhaps the doctor on an emergency call. Truck loads of fish, groceries and oil are carried by this ferry, which commercial travelers, the doctor the banker and many other have been wholly dependent since the discontinuance of the Meteghan-Westport Ferry Service some years ago.

The life of the ferryman is not an easy one and the new proprietors will need and deserve, as did Mr. Titus the whole hearted support of the public.

1954

New Scow for Grand Passage; June 1954

A new scow is now operating between Freeport and Westport and is a big improvement over past ones, as it has protection against splashing by high sides.

1959

Ferryman Has Narrow Escape: February 1959

Mr. Emerson Titus, Westport ferryman, nearly escaped death Friday evening when he fell into the icy waters at Westport Harbor.

Mr. Titus had just returned from Freeport with the passenger. The wind was blowing heavily in the northwesterly direction is prevented him from being readily heard when he fell and called for help. Mr. Richard Thompson, hearing a call for help, rushed to the new partly constructed government wharf and was able to throw a cable for Mr. Titus to grasp. Soon a Dory was launched and Mr. Thompson was able to reach Mr. Titus. After much difficulty Mr. Titus was brought to shore, extremely cold but luckily escaped any after effects.

August 1959; Tenders from the Department of Highways.

Buildings and Wharf at Freeport: For removal of all buildings and wharf presently on the former Crocker Brothers property at Freeport, Digby County, Nova Scotia.

The successful tender must remove all buildings from the property, including the wharf , cribwork, ballast rock, and draw or cut all piles to harbour bottom level to the satisfaction of the department. (Taking out Crocker Bros Plant for New Ferry Slip)

1960

Trailer Truck Loaded with Oil for Paving Roads in Westport Sinks at Ferry Slip; August 1960

Westport Ferry Sinks:

On Friday, August 19 the Car Ferry Service between Westport and Freeport was disrupted when the scow carrying a tank trailer loaded with oil and a car owned by Mr. Russell Swift , Westport, began to take water shortly after leaving Freeport wharf. As soon as the water was noticed the ferry tried to return to the Freeport wharf but, several feet short of the ramp, the scow sank. Although no one was injured damage to the car and trailer was extensive being completely immersed.

Bulldozers help the car to the highway and work on the scow continue through the night. Part of the oil which is being used on the paving project was salvaged.

Transportation of vehicles was held up until Saturday morning.

May 12th 1960; Tenders for New Freeport Ferry Slip:

Construction of a 200 ft. long Ferry Ramp, Consisting of rock filled, creosoted timber cribs with concrete deck, and immediate approach.

1962

Westport gets a new ferry slip November 1962; Guest at the home of Mr. and Mrs. I. Thompson recently have been Raymond Brittain, Jogging Bridge, George Dugas, Church Point, Mr. Bishop, of Sandy Cove, Mr. Keith Porter, Plympton, Mr. Gilbert Doucet and Mr. Albert Doucet, Church Point are staying and are working on the new passage slip at the government wharf.

1963

Ferries Provide Urgent Service; January 1963

Rev. Neil Burt pastor of Church of Christ, Disciples, Westport, was rushed to Digby General Hospital on New Years Eve, where he underwent an emergency appendicitis operation. The Westport, correspondent describes a trip from the Island as a hectic trip with rough crossing on both Grand and Petit Passages. At East Ferry, owing to the extreme weather, the boat had to land at one of the fish firm wharves and Mr. Burt had to be carried by stretcher up the long and steep hill. It is also understood that Mr. Burt had to be strapped to the boats engine box to protect him from being knocked about in that high seas. With power failure, navigation to the ferries and at the dock had to be done in complete darkness.

The Rev. Mr. Burt has now returned to his home none the worse for the adventure but we can imagine with an ardent wish for a causeway to eliminate some of the difficulties in stormy weather crossings.

At another time during the stormy holiday season the ferry from Westport to Freeport was turned into a delivery room. Unfortunately it was a stillbirth.

1964

Ferryman injured on Petite Ferry; October 1964

Trapped Between Boat and Scow:

Welton Ossinger, ferryman nearly escaped serious injury in an accident while crossing Petite Passage late Sunday afternoon.

With several vehicles loaded on the scow, the ferryman entered the attached ferry boat to transfer the vehicles to Tiverton from East Ferry.

Partly across the passage Mr. Ossinger notice that the choppy seas had caused one of the vehicles to work clear of its chocks. Taking hold of the cable on the scow he attempted to cross from the boat to the scow, to replace the blocks. His feet slipped and one leg was caught between the scow and boat.

Dr. Paul Mink of Freeport who was not available until the following morning, said that though Mr. Ossinger’s leg was badly crushed no bones appear to be broken.

Tiverton Ferry Sinks a Total Loss; December 1964

At Tiverton the Petite Passage Ferry boat, broke loose from the scow while tied to the ferry wharf and sank about 3:30 on Tuesday afternoon. Ferryman at Tiverton said it was the worst storm they had seen for many years, and had never known of the seas to be so high. The ferry was a complete loss, and no ferry operated across the passage from Tuesday until time of this press. Owners of the boats were away trying to find a replacement. It is understood that the boat was not insured.

Digby Courier December 10, 1964

Residents of the Islands have once more undergone the frightening experience of being isolated from the mainland. The passenger ferry boat “Petite Ferry 11,” the only connecting link with the mainland to East Ferry, was completely demolished during Last Tuesday’s storm, attempt to save the boat by operators, Capt. David Outhouse, Hilton Sollows, Welton Ossinger, Wilson Outhouse, Edwin Ossinger and Woodrow Outhouse, failed when the high seas wrenched the boat from its moorings at the ferry slip at Tiverton. It was completely demolished no Tiverton fishing boats were able to operate the scow. However, one was located at East Ferry the following day. Many residents said they breathed a sigh of relief when they learn the “temporary” ferry boat was in operation. The scow was undamaged in the storm

1965

Tug for Ferry: January 21, 1965

Tug In Temporary Ferry Service;

A steel tug from the Foundation Construction Company at Halifax, which arrived at Tiverton on Saturday, is replacing ferry boat “Petite Ferry 11” which was wrecked during a heavy gale in December.

Capt. David Outhouse of passenger vehicle service Petite Passage between Tiverton and East Ferry, says the tug has a good motor and is great for towing the scow. At that time they had not tried the tug alone in rough water.

Said Mr. Outhouse, the tug is a temporary replacement. We expect to have our new boat by the first of March.

The new one, under construction is being built of wood and will operate on to diesel engines. Mr. Outhouse says she is a bit larger than the original ferry boat and other favorable changes in the construction are expected.

Passenger vehicle service on Petite Passage has been carried on by a make shift operations within ordinary fishing boat which towed the scow alongside. Another fishing boat and operated by Grafton Outhouse and Murland Outhouse stood by with engine running in the event of an emergency.

Second Islands Ferry Grounds January 7, 1965;

Grand Passage Loses Ferry:  The islands at the tip of Digby Neck were hard hit for the second time in a month when on New Year’s Eve the ferry boat that plies between Westport and Freeport broke from its moorings at the government wharf and was blown ashore on Peters Island during a howling North East gale. This was a month from the time of the loss of the Tiverton ferry.

Attempts were made by fisherman of Westport to salvage the boat on Friday but due to the high winds and rough seas efforts were useless. On Saturday morning the winds lessened enough to allow the boat to be towed off the Island, so badly damage was the hull that the boat would not stay afloat. It was able to be towed to the government wharf where at a later time the engine was salvage.

Because the two passages have only partial service the people of the Islands are nearly isolated from the mainland. Many people found this out on the holiday weekend when they tried to get home for New Year’s. Some had to return to Digby, and wait until the next day. Due to the operation of fisherman they were not stranded at East Ferry at one end and at Westport on the other as seem possible.

Lack of proper docking facilities at Westport for protection of ferry and fishing boats is a complaint of the fisherman. Boats either lay at their moorings in the harbor and take a chance that they are still there in the morning or lay at the government wharf to be beaten up as some of the local fishermen have found out this winter. Most of the products used by the Islanders are brought by truck’s crossing the ferries and is due to gales or high seas they are not able to cross with the present boats, fresh food, etc. would soon be gone.

During these recent storms the local fishermen have risked their lives, their boats and equipment to help in rescue work. It more protection at the government wharf were provided, possibly some of this could have been saved, it is thought by the residence.

New Ferries Being Built; May 20, 1965

Two new ferries are presently under construction at the shipyards of the St. Mary’s Bay Company Limited in Meteghan.

A ferry for the Petite Passage East Ferry Tiverton crossing, is 39 feet long, 13 feet wide with the draft of approximately 5 feet. This ferry has a twin diesel motor and will push a scow for cars and trucks.

The second ferry of approximately the same dimensions is being completed for the Grand Passage Westport and Freeport crossing. This ferry has only one diesel motor.

Both ferries are to replace those destroyed in gales during the winter.

Digby Courier July 15, 1965;

The new ferry for Westport:

The ferry that plies between Brier Island and Long Island is the new 38 foot decked boat, 13 feet wide and powered by a G. M. Diesel engine. The “Westport Ferry”, as is named, build at Meteghan, N. S. by the St. Mary’s Bay Industries. The Boat went into service on 28 May, 1965, and is much more serviceable and faster means of transportation than has ever been in this area before. Since the new year new lights have been placed on the government wharf next to the car slip, which makes it easier for the ferry to dock when running at night.

1966

          Report on Petite Passage Crossing; A consultants report released today by Highways Minister Stephen T. Pyke says the original cost of the bridge, across Petite Passage would be approximately $3,882,000. He estimated that to recover the capital cost and necessary financing, the vehicle toll would have to be of the order of $18.50 per trip, which is obviously prohibitive.

There was no cost estimate on a causeway. In regard to the causeway the report says it would interfere with the fish movement, but better harbor facilities, permanent crossing would have an expansion industry facilities which are protected for the area. Living standards as well as social services would be improved and would have an effect on future population increase. It is reasonable to conclude that some of the population decline is a resolve of people moving from Long Island and Briar Island because of the transportation facilities between the Islands and the Mainland. Population in 1911 was 2000, in 1961 population was 1300. Despite decline in population ferry usage has been increasing each year. In 1950 they were 9500 vehicles crossing, 1961 they were 29,000 vehicles. The maximum annual capacity at petite passage is 50,000 vehicles with the existing ferry and that would be reached after 1970. A larger scow or second scow would be needed.

With regard to this proposed, Mr. Pyke said he felt certain that the province would be quite willing to consider the possibility of incorporating a highway crossing in any permanent structure which might be designed with a view of creating a useful harbor the creation of a harbor is not, as pointed out by Mr. Pyke, a responsibility of the province.

Digby Courier July 26, 1966;

Petite Ferry and Herring Carrier Collides In Dense Fog: Boats Collide at Tiverton

Capt. Outhouse said the carrier back into the heavy steel ramp of the scow, resulting into holes in the vessel, but no damage to the scow. Both vessels had men on watch and the ferry was blowing the fog whistle, but fog prevented from seeing one another and stopping.

1967

            Ferry Scow Grounded; Passengers and Vehicles Stranded

About 15 – 20 cars were stranded at East Ferry on Sunday as a result of a broken reverse gear in the main engine of the ferry boat during transportation of passengers and vehicles from Tiverton to East Ferry. A dragger at East Ferry was summoned to assist in removing the scow but failed in the attempt. The scow remained grounded until flood tide when it floated free between 7: 30 and 9 PM.

Passengers and drivers of the vehicles were forced to leave the vehicles at East Ferry and return to the islands.

1968

Ferry Stopped Because of Ice; Digby Courier February 29, 1968

Heavy ice – fields continue to block the passages between Digby Neck, Long Island and Brier Island, cutting off more than 1,000 residents from the Mainland of Nova Scotia. The islands have been ice block since last weekend. Several crossings were made on Tuesday as a path was made in the ice when the tide changed. Much depends on the winds and tide is to just when the ice fields will open. Older residents have called the condition, “the most ice we’ve ever seen”.

Digby Courier March 7, 1968;

Once more ice conditions in Petite Passage isolated Long Island and Westport from the mainland. Tremendous ice flows in both passages which halted traffic for as long as 11 hours at a stretch greatly alarmed residents of the Islands and mainlanders who were marooned on the Islands. Westport high school students who attended school at Islands Consolidated School in Freeport were unable to cross Grand Passage to write exams last Monday

Islanders cannot understand why, with so much cooperation from council members, members of affiliated Board of Trade and interested people of Nova Scotia and other provinces, it is so impossible to convince the powers at Ottawa of the dire necessity for the Islanders to have a permanent link with the mainland.

A permanent link with the mainland would induce a greater traffic. Someone has suggested a slight toll charge, similar to that at Cape Breton Causeway would soon repay the government the cost of constructing such a complex.

In urging the government to supply this vital link, R. Baden Powell,( P. C. Digby) said, “Traffic across Petite Passage is much greater than on the Digby – Saint John ferry and about equal to the Yarmouth – Bar Harbor ferry”.(Halifax Chronicle Herald, February 29)

Digby Courier March 21, 1968

The First Radar for Our Ferries;

            Radar is now being installed on one of the Digby Islands ferries, Highways Minister Pyke told the legislature.

            The radar was bought by the province in December, but both operators said they wanted to wait till their spring refit to install it.

1969

Not Happy with Ferry Situation;

            Digby Courier March 6, 1969: While most Canadians can enjoy freedom of travel, and a road, bridge, or causeway is the established to ensure that freedom. Residence of the Islands wonder why the needs and necessities of their villages are not receiving the attention and assistance that is so vital to them. A bridge, or causeway to link the Islands with the mainland is every bit as important as the Bear River bridge.

1970

         Petite Passage Gets 24 – Hour Ferry Service:

Digby Courier July 9, 1970:

Three new crewmembers have been added to the passenger – vehicle transportation system at Petite Passage. The three new crewmembers are Grafton Outhouse, former captain Of the Coastal Patrol Boat Lamanda, and local trawl fishermen, also Donald Sollows, local trawl fishermen and Roy Cossaboom Carpenter. All men are residents of Tiverton. The three new members together with the regular five-man crew of the Petite Ferry boat and scow will work in shifts to endeavor to maintain a 24-hour transportation service between the islands at Tiverton and the mainland at the East ferry, but however, the new system does not include crossing the scow after dark. People who wish to go to the island after six or 7 PM during winter months and nine or 9:30 PM during summer’s longer days well, as in the past, be forced to leave their vehicles at East Ferry and cross in the boat.

            The proposed bridge or causeway which would provide a permanent link with the mainland is the only possible solution to Petite Ferry transportation Islanders feel.

Digby Courier December 24, 1970

            Free Transportation for Students On Islands Ferries;

            Arrangements have been made to provide free transportation for all schoolchildren on Long and Brier Islands across the ferries at Petite Passage and Grand Passage.

            The new arrangements went into effect last week Mr. Casey stated. It is understood they are some twenty to thirty young people from Westport attending school at the Islands Consolidated School in Freeport each day.

            Tickets will be issued to the students to identify them for transportation.

1971

Digby Courier December 2, 1971

At the Fundy Board of Trade meeting held in Freeport, residents found out that the government was planning to make big changes to our ferry system. This new service would come in operation in ten days after it is approved by the highways department. There plans were to convert the existing steel scow at Petite Passage with two outboard motors of 125 hp each with a wheelhouse and passenger accommodation. There would also be 24-hour service.

1972

Digby Courier March 23, 1972

The Minister of Highways, Garnett Brown, stated that modification of the ferry service from the mainland to Long Island is at present underway to make the surface. In addition to the improvement of service between the mainland and Long Island, an extension to the operating hours of the Department of Highways ferry service between Long Island and Brier Island has been effected.

Twenty-four hour ferry service or both vehicles and passengers traveling between East Ferry and Tiverton is expected to commence April 1st, said Mr. Brown.

Refitting of the 51 x 23′ foot Petite Passage Ferry Will Convert It from an unpowered barge, propelled by a Cape Island boat, to a self-propelled unit complete with wheelhouse and passenger cabin.

Mr. Brown also announced improved service to commence April 1 on Grand Passage, connecting Freeport and Westport in Digby County. The ferry will now offer 24-hour service to passengers and dawn to dark service for vehicles. Upgrading of the Petite and Grand Passage Ferries service is created openings for the employment of six additional crewmembers, who will be drawn from the local area, said Mr. Brown.

Digby Courier April 13, 1972

Nine Men Working on Grand Passage Ferry

The Westport to Freeport ferry service have enlarged their crew with nine men working. The new crewmembers went to work on April 1. Men now working are Loran Swift, Herman Dakin, Harold Thompson, Leslie Barnaby, Gary Frost, Lloyd Frost and Wallie Comeau.

Digby Courier May 11, 1972

New Service at Petite

Sea Trials for the converted ferry scow Petite Passage 11 have now been successfully completed and the self-propelled craft erected to go into service early next week, Highways Minister Garnett Brown announced Tuesday. The ferry is presently undergoing final steamship inspection.

Digby Courier May 11, 1972

Submerging Ferry Returns to Safety

The Petite Passage Ferry all making an uncompleted trip to East Ferry on Saturday afternoon when the boat appeared to be submerging in the tide with more 20 passengers and six vehicles on board. David Outhouse, ferryman, decided it wise to return to the safety of the wharf and retain the newly equipped self-propelled craft there until condition of safety became more satisfactory.

Joseph Casey and Fulton Logan, said the ferry has too much list and will be returned to a shipyard in Meteghan for corrections, but felt the ferry had many fine features.

The two- motor operation with many other features is still in its experimental stage and will have further trials.

Digby Courier June 1, 1972

Island Residents Claim-Experiment Didn’t Work

            The leaning wheelhouse and motor seemed to be causing the new ferry to be unserviceable for the tidal waters of Petite Passage but Islanders in general claim that the ferry will be serviceable on the Passage even with the leaning rectified. They claim “It is just an experiment which didn’t work” and that in wind and tide it will be impossible.

A personal account of near sinking of the ferry “Petite Passage 11” by Roger Outhouse

The Powered vessel left the wharf at Tiverton. It was indeed a sunny calm day with little wind; perfect day to be working on deck. I was standing near the front of the vehicles as we started to sail out of the harbor by Max point. All was well until we hit the flood tide. It was quickly apparent that as we were powering into the tide is compared with the old system of working with the tug and scow which sort of angle its way across the tide. The scow began to have water flood over the front and as the water rose to halfway up the hubcaps on cars I can remember walking (and not too slowly) backward between the lines of traffic. I was concerned but there was little time to do anything but look calm and hope the situation would reverse quickly. I was greatly relieved when the power to the engines was cut and the water drained from the deck. My understanding was that one of the captains in the wheelhouse reacted by reducing power allowing us to level off and drift with the tide. Discussions with others indicated that the water had rushed into the passenger compartment and the surprised persons there had stood on the benches trying to avoid being soaked. We regained control and sailed back to Tiverton where we unloaded the vehicles and pressed the old boat and scow back into service. Except for lots of chattering about the event the rest of the day was happily normal.

Digby Courier June 15, 1972

Studying Ferry Problems

It is understood that a Marine architect has been studying the problem with Petite Passage Ferry which had to be taken out of service when operators at Tiverton found the ferry unsatisfactory.

Digby Courier June 29, 1972

Everything Possible Being Done To Upgrade Ferry-Casey

A meeting was called by the Fundy Board Of Trade in Freeport, more than three hundred Islanders attended. the Government officials from the Highways department did not attend. Joseph Casey are MLA was on hand to express his views and answer pertinent questions relating to the controversial ferry boat which had been in operation only a few days when it was considered unsatisfactory for the operation.

Digby Courier July 13, 1972

Ferry Reconstruction Progressing

Capt. Casey informed that the night service had been started across the passage with quite a number taking advantage of the service and crossing had been successful on some quite foggy nights. Mr. Casey said that every effort is being made to find a man available to instruct the operators of the new ferry when she is available for service on the Passage.

Digby Courier August 17, 1972

Night Travelers

The Freeport correspondent reports that quite a number of Island residents and visitors are taking advantage of the 24-hour ferry service at Petite Passage by using the ferry at night. It’s a real big deal to be able to cross evenings as well as in the daylight, and especially on Sunday evenings the loads are very many with cars piling up on the East Ferry side up around the horseshoe turn on occasions, all waiting their turns to cross.

Digby Courier October 19, 1972

Transport Mobile Home

The new ferry which has been having trial runs on Grand Passage from Freeport to Westport for several weeks returned on Wednesday to her location of Petite Passage and went into service to transport a mobile home across the Passage from East Ferry to Tiverton. The home is the property of Cyrus Campbell.

Although the passage was choppy, the onlookers felt the new ferry had function well.

Yellow Submarine by Ms. Charles McDormand

For past few weeks the converted scow that was recently tried at Petite Passage and found unsuitable was to meteghan for more conversion, it is at present plying between Westport and Freeport. It was tried for a time with no cars on and was found to work fairly well. I can tell you that on Friday morning when it was impossible to use the boat and scow at Westport, that on receiving word from Halifax that the scow could be used it started transporting traffic across Grand Passage approximately 9 AM and continue all day

Most of those using the transportation of the “Yellow Submarine” say that it was one of the best and fastest crossings they have made. It takes like a duck to the water. Anyone doubting this, take a ride and find out for yourselves.

1973

            Digby Courier January 25, 1973

Ferry Ashore at East Ferry

            Enveloped in the fog which covered East Ferry on Friday the new Petite Passage Ferry can scarcely be seen as she lay high and dry on the rocks flush with the road wall and at right angles to her usual docking. It was high tide at noon when the ferry, in command of Wilson Outhouse, became fastened to the rocks, having completed her trip from Tiverton to East Ferry. As the tide kept ebbing the ferry became entirely stranded far above the water edge following the attempts of Henry Prime and his dragger to free the boat.

There were no cars on the ferry when the instant occurred. It was not until midnight, with the next high tide, that the ferry was floated again and put into operation. It is understood that no damage had occurred to the ferry.

To date it has not been established what caused the ferry boats mismove but W. A. Landry, of the Department of Highways, informed the Digby Courier on Tuesday that they were looking into the matter to see what caused the problem.

Digby Courier August 16, 1973

Ferry Incident

The 40 ton crusher of Standard Paving Company boarded the ferry at Tiverton to go to East Ferry, when the truck, in embarking shoved the ferry clear from the ramp before entirely loaded, as noted in the picture above.

The incident which happened about 11:30 AM held up traffic on either side of the passage for four hours.

Wheels of the truck were secured on the ramp as the tide went down and the heavy equipment was moved across.

1974

Digby Courier March 21, 1974

Petite Passage Ferry Boat “Joshua Slocum” Christened

The Department of Highways new ferry boat, for service at Petite Passage Digby County, was dedicated christened on Tuesday, March 5 at 3 PM. The ceremony took place at pier 36 on the Halifax waterfront. The vessel was christened by Mrs. Joseph Casey, wife of the MLA for Digby County. In charge, was Minister of Highways, Leonard L. Pace, Q. C., And the president of the Halifax Metalworkers Limited, D. J. Oulton, whose firm constructed the boat.

Mr. Pace pointed out that in the 12 month period ending March 31, 1973, total traffic on the Petite Passage run exceeded 54,000 vehicles while at Grand Passage the traffic count was approximately 20,000 in the same period.

New Ferry Arrives at Tiverton

The Joshua Slocum is a special type of vessel developed by the Department of Highways and was built by Halifax Metalworkers Limited. She was design by the Marine architectural firm of Evans, Yeatman and Endal(Associates) Limited.

She carries 15 cars, is driven by two 185 horsepower Caterpillar motors and has high maneuverability and seaworthiness. She is specifically designed to cope with the tide and current conditions encountered at Petite Passage. The ferry features a right angled drive propulsion system, allowing the propellers to steer the vessel.

            The estimated total cost of the Joshua Slocum was approximately $450,000.

Digby Courier September 26, 1974

Joshua Slocum Changes Schedule

            The Department of Highways new (as of March 1974) ferry boat, the Joshua Slocum in service at Petite Passage Tiverton, NS. has changed her schedule of operation from every hour to every quarter hour.

            Crew members, Woodrow Outhouse, Welton Ossinger, Edwin Ossinger, Malcolm Bates and John Thurber also underwent an engineering course at Halifax.

            Islanders in general feel that Joshua Slocum has provided them a good, much improved method of travel across the ferry, Petite Passage with skill men to operate and maneuver her.

            To date only one incident has occurred involving the ferry. While attempting to dock at East Ferry recently, the motor refused to go into proper gear and as a result the ferry rammed the side of the wharf snapping off one of the timbers of the wharf. This crashed down on a passenger car and shattered the windshield. So far as is known no injuries were involved in the incident.

            Prior to the coming of the Joshua Slocum to the Tiverton area last March, Donald Sollows, Grafton Outhouse and Wilson Outhouse entered a Navigation School at Halifax where, at the completion of the course, they receive papers certifying their ability to captain the ferry. Mr. Grafton Outhouse was a former Captain of the Coast Guard vessel, “Lamanda”.

1975

            Digby Courier October 9, 1975

            Repairing Ship Henders Travel;

            While the car – ferry slip at Freeport is being repaired, travelers to and from Westport are at a disadvantage. In order for cars to be transported across, a temporary landing has been improvised at the beach across “The Cove” and cannot be used except when the tide is nearly high and then approximately 2 hours ebb. The vehicles have to land on the beach and sometimes it’s quite a job to get up to the road.(The ferry landed abreast of Jean Franklin’s house)

            Until the repairs are finished it is doubtful if there will be any night crossings for vehicles. The boat is available for carrying passengers to Freeport at any time.

1978

            Digby Courier July 6, 1978

Mrs. Casey Christens “Spray”

Highways Minister J. Fraser Mooney announced that a new ferry boat will go into service on Digby Neck on July 12. The new vessel will operate over Grand Passage, between Freeport and Westport, replacing the ferry currently serving that area.

The new ferry boat, to be christened “Spray” by Mrs. Joe Casey, wife of Digby MLA, at the Westport wharf on July 12 was designed by the Halifax firm of Evans, Yeatman and Endal Associates. She was built by the Georgetown Shipyard, Prince Edward Island at a cost of approximately $550,000.

(Contract for the ferry was awarded to the Georgetown Shipyards in their bid of $431,150 being $111,000 lower than the next highest bidder. Final cost to province $550,00 , $118,850 over what the bid was for.)

            The vessel is all steel construction, 85 feet long and 37 feet wide and will carry 12 cars. She is powered by two diesel marine engines and features a unique right angle drive propulsion system, permitting steering with the propellers.

New Ferry Held up by Mishap

The arrival at Westport of the new ferry “Spray” was an exciting and crowd-drawing event on June 29. Between government “experts”, and backward hydraulic lifts the ferry came to grief on his maiden trip and will spend another week or two in Yarmouth.

The bread truck and Miss. Linda Titus car had the honor of being the first vehicles (and only ones) to cross on the “Spray”.

1979

            Digby Courier February 9, 1979

            Drifting Ice Disrupts Ferry Service

            Ferry service at Petite Passage was disrupted Friday when drifting ice blocked the half-mile stretch of water that separates Tiverton on the Island and East Ferry on the mainland.

            Several weeks ago fishermen in the area had reported ice at the head of the Bay near Seawall, a fishing port on Digby Neck. They had expected the ice to enter the Island area earlier in the week with the wind changed. However, it began drifting down St. Mary’s Bay on Friday and reached Petite Passage and Tiverton about noon. As the mass increased, ferry services were discontinued, until 7 PM and continue operations steadily until the traffic line up on either side of the passage had been ferried across.

            Residents say it has been 8 – 10 years since ice blocked the passage in Tiverton area.

1982

Digby Courier November 24, 1982

“Spray” Gets New Improved Docking Facilities

Docking Project at Freeport

The ferry approaches the docking area in Freeport where the marine dolphin is under construction to improve the landing space. Seen here is the supporting road which had to be constructed over the present abutment in order to support the large Crane. The project is under contract from the Department of Transport in being built by Bernard and Gerald Lombard limited.

1983

            Spare Ferry “Scotian” Built at Ferguson Ind. Pictou Nova Scotia, August 1983

            The Ferry Spray was built by the Nova Scotia government as a spare to operate in Petite and Grand Passage, and other places in the province where cable ferries operate. She is fitted with both drive units and a cable drive system allowing her to fill in for any of the ferries in the province that are removed for servicing.

1984

Digby Courier April 18, 1984

A Tribute to Captain A. Stanley Moore

There was a large article in the Digby Courier about the passing and loss of Capt. Stanley Moore. I will include some of what was said about him.

A whole community mourns the recent loss of one of our more popular sons – Capt. A. Stanley Moore, Capt. of the Grand Passage Ferry. “Stan” wore many hats – ferry captain, farmer, fishermen, firemen, family man and friend to all.

Stan was perhaps best known as the most senior and skillful captain on the ferry run he had been specially cited and promoted for his skills in his job. But Stan brought more than skill to his work – he got along well with all the other staff, he greeted strangers who travel on his run, and he knew who was away and hadn’t returned safely home yet. When there was a tricky run to make “away” or extra job to do, quite often it would be “Call Stan”!

1985

            Digby Courier August 7, 1985

            Weymouth Couple Have Narrow Escape While Boarding Ferry

Wilfred and Muriel Cosman of Weymouth will long remember a trip they started to make to Freeport last Saturday.

Mr. Cosman, and owner of W. E. Cosman & Son Insurance, was planning to keep some appointments in Freeport when he prepare to drive on the ferry, Joshua Slocum which was docked at East Ferry shortly after 3 PM.

“The ferry had come in with a load on the three o’clock run. There was an overload coming from Tiverton. They took on cars that were waiting in East Ferry and were going back to pick up the overload.”

“We had just drove right down. We were next in the line of cars that had been waiting. We drove on the front of the ramp at the same time the ferry started to move off. We couldn’t back up. The ferry was moving ahead and polling us in the water.” Mr. Cosman said.

You said it first he didn’t realize what was going on because the ferry ramp was still down. Then he thought perhaps the ferry was just moving off slightly to compensate for a falling tide. Actually the tide was coming in.

“The ferry pulled us out in the stream about 25 to 30 feet. I told my wife we should try to get at the doors but we couldn’t get them open, the pressure of the water kept them shut. We had electric windows and fortunately we were able to get them down.”

“I told Muriel our next move will be to get out of here,” Mr. Cosman said.

He said once the ferry captain realized what had happened, he stopped going forward and came back to push the ferry against the side of the car towards the shore.

“With the ferry holding the car against the landing slip, a man came off the ferry and got on top of our car. He pulled my wife out of the window on the top of the car and then on the ferry. I managed to get out the other window and onto the ferry ramp. The car went right down 30 seconds after we got off. I estimate the car floated for about two or 3 min. altogether before it sunk,” Mr. Cosman continued.

Mr. Cosman said he was driving a station wagon with front wheel drive. Once water got on the ferry ramp the front wheels just spun helplessly in the water and would not give traction for him to back off the ramp.

“The man who was putting on the cars on the ferry had just put on the last one. He didn’t see me,” Mr. Cosman added.

He said he has been going to the islands since 1955 and is never anything like this happen before.

Though neither he nor his wife were injured in the mishap, Mr. Cosman said he was concerned about his wife who has a nervous condition. “This didn’t help it any,” he added.

“We were very fortunate to be able to have gotten out of it. We can both swim. We never got totally underwater. Where were wet about her knees,” explained.

Mr. Cosman said once he and his wife got ashore, he called his son David in Weymouth to come get them. “We got home around 5 PM, but David didn’t get back with the tow truck and the car until nine. The car was a write off.”

Mr. Cosman said comprehensive auto insurance does not cover an accident of this type. Each ferry ticket advises those crossing that “the government of Nova Scotia assumes no responsibility whatever for the safety of persons or property whilst on or going on or off the ferry boat or wharves or other approaches used in conjunction there with.”

Mr. Cosman said he plans to continue making trips to the islands.

Of the accident, he said “I know exactly the circumstances, probably it wouldn’t happen again in 100 years. Once-in-a-lifetime is enough for me.”

Digby Courier August 21, 1985

Island Ferry Traffic Brought to a Standstill

Vehicular traffic between Freeport and Westport ceased last Thursday when the thick fog prevented the relief ferry, Petite Passage 11 from making the 7/8 of a mile trip across Grand Passage. The six car ferry had no radar and several mechanical problems, including a broken throttle, broken exhaust and one malfunction engine.

The ferry made one crossing at 5:25 AM but ran aground on Rony’s Point in Freeport while making the crossing from Westport. The boat was able to get off the shore under its own power but made no further crossings after that. The 31 foot fishing boat, Elaine P. was brought into service providing passenger transportation across the Passage. On one trip, 21 fish plant employees were crowded on the deck of the small boat as it left Freeport in the fog.

The regular, 12 – car ferry Spray had been taken to Meteghan River Tuesday evening for repairs. The Spray was back in service by Thursday afternoon.

The Spray was again out of service Saturday for four hours than a hydraulic hose broke. The fishing boat, Roland and Sisters was used at this time to transport passengers to Freeport.

A spokesman for the ferry service said the Spray was taking out of service last week to have “a lot of little things fixed before they became big things.”

1994

Digby Courier April 1994

Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Plummer and some local stars in the movie “Dolores Claiborne”       

A flurry of excitement surrounded Digby Neck and the Islands last week as the casting crew of seemingly hundreds spent two days shooting scenes for a big – budget American film.

            The movie, based on horror writer Stephen Kings novel “Dolores Claiborne” is filming the bulk of its footage in Lunenburg County, however, the Digby area will be seen in a small portion of the film.

            The Joshua Slocum, the ferry which runs between Freeport and Westport, was a $30,000 prop used to shoot scenes involving big stars such as Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Christopher Plummer. Counselor Caroline Norwood reported the money would go to the provincial government.

            Several residents were approached in restaurants last week and asked if they were interested in acting is extras in the film. Those who agreed had their pictures taking, gave out phone numbers and probably heard, “don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

The cast and crew of about 60 is due to return to the area for more filming this Saturday and for several weeks in June. However, no one on the set was available to confirm this.

Digby Courier July 5, 1994

New Ferry “Joe Casey” Christened By Wife

            On Tuesday, Vera Casey christened the new Petite Passage ferry with the name of her husband, Joe Casey, the MLA for Digby – Annapolis. The christening took place at the Theriault Shipyard in Meteghan River.

            Carrying up to 18 vehicles and 110 passengers, the Joe Casey, was built to the most up – to – date Marine standards with greater maneuverability and a faster crossing speed. It is also fully assessable to disabled passengers.

            A. F. Theriault and Sons Limited of Meteghan River, constructed the $2.5 million self – propelled ferry which will begin service in late July, following its required sea trials. A ceremony will take place in late July to mark the first official voyage of the Joe Casey.

            The new wharf for the larger ferry, designed with a vehicle ramp to accommodate increased traffic volumes, was built by Foundation Company Inc. of Eastern Passage at a cost of $3 million. The Joshua Slocum which was servicing The Passage, will now service Grand Passage between Long and Brier Island, replacing the Spray. The new wharf was designed as a birth for the Spray so it can be available as a spare ferry throughout the year.

            From Scow to $2.5 Million Ferry

Late – July Inaugural Crossing on East Ferry – Tiverton Run

            Over the years, Casey continue to press for improved ferry service, and this latest addition to the transportation department ferry fleet is “the most modern ferry this province has ever seen”, Transportation Minister Ritchie Mann said during the christening ceremonies.

            Mann also paid tribute to the builders, A. F. Theriault and Sons Meteghan River, saying they “have done an outstanding job of building this $2.5 million ferry. I know both my colleagues, Mr. Casey and Mr. Wayne Gaudet are extremely pleased that we keep this project in Digby County, further contributing to the local economy”.

            The ferry is scheduled to go into service between East Ferry and Tiverton late this month with the official voyage of the “Joe Casey”.

            Initial performance results for the “Joe Casey” have been positive, and the word is that the ferry “handles very nicely”.

1996

            Digby Courier July 15, 1996

Ferry Rates Raised

The Petite and Grand Passage ferry fare was increased to $.50 for ticket holders and one dollar for cash fares. Previous fares were $.20 for ticket holders and $.50 for cash fares. Fares for trucks and buses were higher, ranging from five dollars on cable ferry services to three dollars at Grand and Petit Passage. Annual rates for businesses, school boards and other organizations that use the ferry services regularly were set by negotiation between the Transportation Department and the organization concerned. In addition, annual passes, at a cost of $250, were available to frequent commuters. 24 hour service was to be maintained at all ferries.

Other cost – cutting measures were being explored. Transportation and Public Works Minister Ritchie Mann said the department was considering the sale of one of the two spare ferries at Digby Neck for a one – time capital saving.

Irate Islanders Blockade Ferry

            Digby Courier July 24, 1996

            It was publicized as an information session on the Petite and Grand Passage ferries, but it soon turned into a grievance meeting.

            Last Wednesday, the provinces transportation and Public Works Department set up a meeting at Islands Consolidating School to explain an increase in the fares for ferry service.

            Islanders were upset about ferry breakdowns, a lack of the government not informing the Islanders of the increase in fees, and why the ferries did not have to undergo a Canadian steamship inspection. Islanders felt that there was no alternate route, the ferries should be treated as an extension of Highway 217 and no fare be charged.

            A suggestion that the ferry be blockaded, which came from the audience earlier, was taken up and when the highways representatives got to Tiverton, they found their way to the 10 PM sailing was blocked by cars. The blockade was removed in time for the next ferry, but Islanders were not happy with the new fares, which are generally double the previous ones, or the perpetual government for not consulting them beforehand.

2004

            Halifax Chronicle – Herald March 18, 2004

Joshua Slocum Retired From Service

On March 1, 2004, the Joshua Slocum ferry was retired from the service of the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation, after 30 years of carrying automobiles and passengers over the two ferry routes on Digby Neck. On March 17 tender number 60122548 was issued, closing at 2 PM on April 14, for the “disposal of one surplus 15 vehicle ferry known as the Joshua Slocum, located in Westport, Brier Island, Nova Scotia.” The Joshua Slocum was built in 1973, and was the oldest vessel in the provinces fleet, which consist of seven operating ferries into province (four are cable ferries).

The Joshua Slocum is offered for sale “as is, where is”

Estimated Value as is: C$200,000

What happened to Joshua Slocum after it was sold?

Shipfax: September 23, 2012

The Joshua Slocum was later purchased by Beaver Marine, and stopped off in Halifax en route to Point Tupper where it had laid for some time.

The Joshua Slocum was then sold for Fish Farming use, and then renamed “The Lost Joshua” and later “The Walter Gray”.

Update;    It sailed for Port Aux Basques Newfoundland, on September 24, 2012 under its own power.

2004

            Petite Princess Christened

Department of Transportation and Public Works; June 23, 2004

            With the crack of a wine bottle, the newest addition to Nova Scotia’s ferry fleet was officially christened today, June 23 at East Ferry in Digby County.

            Ron Russell, Minister of Transportation and Public Works, smashed a bottle of Nova Scotia wine across the hall of the Petite Princess, the new car ferry that sails Petite Passage between Digby Neck and Long Island, as part of the ceremony.

            The $4 million ferry was built at the Halifax Shipyard and made his maiden voyage across Petite Passage in March 2004. The Petite Princess is 42 meters long with a capacity of 24 cars, 95 passengers and four crew.

            As part of a naming contest at Islands Consolidated School, the ferry was named Petite Princess after the water it crosses, Petite Passage. The name was proposed by Felicia Frost, a grade 7 student.

            The Petite Princess replaces the 29.1 – meter Joshua Slocum, built in 1974. The province sold the Slocum but retained the name for future generations as a way to celebrate the feats of Nova Scotian Joshua Slocum, the first person to navigate solo around the world. The Slocum ferry was named “The Lost Joshua” prior to sale.

2012

            Digby Courier; January 20, 2012

Department of Transport Finds Asbestos on the Digby Islands Ferry;

            The Department of Transportation tied up spare ferry for the islands in early January while contractors “covered up” asbestos on the boat.

            The Islands ferry service was without a back – up boat from January 6 two January 11 this year after a crewmember raised questions about some material on board.

            Department spokesman Steve Smith says lab test confirm that samples from the Spray contain asbestos.

            “To ensure the safety of staff and public the Spray wasn’t available for service while the asbestos issue was being dealt with”, wrote Smith in response to the question from the Courier. “Arrangements were immediately made for an asbestos company to identify what needed to be done to address the situation. The company came on site covered up the asbestos – containing material.”

            The department found asbestos in the bathroom, on the bridge, in a seating area, and in pipe gaskets.

            Smith says, “there is no harm to the crew or passengers unless the asbestos material is disturbed and becomes airborne.”

            Health Canada says breathing in asbestos in significant amounts can scar the lung making breathing difficult. It may also lead to a rare cancer of the chest lining or stomach cavity and can cause lung cancer, especially when inhalation of asbestos is combined with smoking.

            This is the first time asbestos is been found on a provincial ferry but Smith admits asbestos was used throughout the shipbuilding industry as insulation and fireproofing in the early 1980s.

            As a result of this discovery, the department will be testing ferries built prior to or shortly after 1990.

            This includes the William G Ernest from Tancook; the Joe Casey from Long Island, Digby County; the Colas Silas on the Little Narrow run in Cape Breton; and the Stormont in Country Harbour, Guysborough County.

            The department also gave staff literature outlining safe work practice and what to do if they suspect material containing asbestos.

            Ferry Breakdowns Worry Islanders;

Digby Courier January 21, 2012:

The Petite Princess ferry lost a propeller December 29, 2011. On January 10 she burst a hydraulic hose and set loaded with cars and passengers for almost 3 hours at the Tiverton ramp.

“It seems to be breaking down more than ever,” says Roger Outhouse who was on the boat January 10, echoing comments made by many other Islanders. “It makes you wonder if they are up to snuff with maintenance.”

Outhouse says he knows the crews work hard and are doing their very best. He does worry that funding constraints makes their job more difficult.

Outhouse says the crew told passengers about 10:45 AM on January 10 that it was going to take aboat 10 minutes to make a quick repair.

“It sounded like a routine fix, like they were used to making this kind of repair,” says Outhouse. “It looked they were trying to fix it but then after 15 to 20 minutes it became apparent they couldn’t find the part they needed.”

The crew continue looking while they waited for a part to come up from Digby. A fishing boat brought the part over from East Ferry but Outhouse says it didn’t seem to be exactly what they needed.

“At around 1:25 they said they couldn’t fix it but after 1:30 they had it working and we left the wharf.”

Steve Smith, a spokesman for the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation says the budget for the Marine Services section is not changed and in fact the Petite Princess has just finished a complete refit.

          Kevin Mitchell, the director of Fleet management for the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation says the propeller incident is under investigation but that breakdowns do happen.

            “Even after refit” says Mitchell. “We look at both major and minor things on refit. We do various repairs from the wear parts on the ramps, we do painting, and also inspection of the holds. The ferries are mechanical machines, they are running 24/7. We try to have wear parts on hand but we can’t have every length of hydraulic hose.”

            Mitchell says his budget is sufficient.

            “I think everybody would like to have more money but we have the resources to keep our boats running at the Optimum level.

            “You don’t cut corners on the ferries. These ferries need to operate reliably and safely. We don’t cut corners.”

2013

Briar Island Ferry Tweaks Jamming Traffic, Vexing Drivers

CBC news June 14, 2013

People in the village of Westport, Nova Scotia, say a decision to limit the loading of the Brier Island ferry after a few drunken, rowdy incidence is disturbing traffic and delaying their connection to the mainland.

Instead of loading cars as they arrive in making extra trips the ferry sets off shore until it’s schedule time.

Residents say there’s now a regular traffic jam on Westport’s narrow Main Street.

It also means commuters who use a second ferry on nearby Long Island are late to make their connection to the mainland.

“I would love to see, and so would hundred percent of the people of this island, see the people who set the policies come down here and see what’s going on,” said Village Commissioner David Pugh. “It’s congested. There is no place to walk.”

“It could be up to 40 or 50 cars waiting to get on the ferry and it’s going to make one trip in that an hour. The ferry holds 20 to 25 cars. So you can imagine what is going to be going on and then it’s going to back up more.”

Pugh said he is writing a letter to government authorities to try and get the old system back.

The car ferry connects Brier Island and Long Island.

Our Proposed new ferry for Grand Passage

Passages; February 2013:

John Majchrowicz: Manager, Marine Services, Provincial Department of Transportation Nova Scotia.

“I am really working on the plans for the new vessel, and hopefully will have that in 15 to 20 months. Maybe sooner, maybe later, it depends on how well things go. What will happen then, the Spray will be released, and the Joe Casey will become the backup, and you will have a brand-new ferry on the Grand Passage. Because of the docks and tides, we’ve sort of got to keep it in the same size as the Joe Casey. But it will be a different type of ferry. It’s going to be a hybrid ferry. Diesel electric. You’ve heard of the tidal generation project. Where hoping that if that does come will be able to hook up to that power and plug-in at night, in charge up batteries. I want to take things as green as I can. It’s going to be a different type of set up with the ferry. You want see the big legs with the propellers, it’s a system that’s been around for years and years. It’s called Voith. Better manoeuvrability for the vessel. It’s going to be a nice thing. I know a lot of people were worried, and in a way, the Spray is there as a backup. The Scotian will be going out doing other things. The thing is, I’m not getting rid of the Spray, and we will have a backup vessel of there. I put in work order. Prior to me getting here, they wouldn’t even fire at the thing up to see if it worked, or did anything to it.

“So I’ve been all over the maintenance on these things. That’s what you guys need you guys need well – maintained ships. When I Saw the Petite Princess, she looks like she’s got a bad case of skin blemish problem, because her paint job is horrible, she’s been touched up in spots. I just want you to know I’ve gone and overhauled both engines, I’ve installed a generator in there, I want things to work properly in the future.”

2014

            Province Lets Tender for Grand Passage Ferry to Brier Island

            Digby Courier August 19, 2014

            Islanders Could See a New Ferry up and Running across Grand Passage by next December.

            The Provincial Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is issued a tender today for the construction of a new ferry for the Grand Passage service and they expect to have it in service for November or December 2015.

            The tender, which closes October 1, includes drawings and specifications for the 15 car passenger ferry that the department wants built to replace the Joe Casey is the main ferry between Long and Brier Islands. The new ferry will look very much like the Joe Casey which A. F. Theriault’s of Meteghan River built in 1995.

            John Majachrowicz, the manager of Marie’s service with TIR says the new ferry will be easier on fuel and cheaper to maintain and service.

            The boat will use a Voith propulsion system, the same as they’ve used in the Halifax ferries for 30 years.

            Majchrowicz says the Voith system is more manoeuvrable and looks like “beaters in the water”.

            He says the propulsion system in the current ferries takes a beating from the debris that floats through the passages.

            “Ropes get tangled up in them and I am paying divers to go down and free them,” he said. “With the Voith system, if a rope gets tangled up in them, you just turn the motor off and it drops off.”

            He said debris also bends the ears on the current propellers but the new system will deflect debris.

            The boat will be powered by a hybrid diesel – electric system created by Aspin Kemp and Associates made up of a generator, two Caterpillar engines and a lithium battery.

            The battery would hold enough power for least one run across Grand Passage at full power with the engines entirely off.

            While that would only be in emergencies, the captain may choose to hold the boat at the ramp with only one engine or with just battery power.

            A computer will manage the power system to optimize efficiency and engine performance.

The power system could also be plugged in onshore if necessary.

Majachrowicz says the captains wheelhouse will have floor to ceiling glass allowing better vision.

He says the plan is for the Joe Casey to become the spare and to retire the current spare, the Spray.

Ferry Breakdown Leaves Brier Island Without Service for 16 Hours

Digby Courier January 9, 2014: (No communication from department)

With two ferries broke down with mechanical issues and one away in dry dock, the Department of Transportation had to suspend service to Brier Island for 16 hours on Saturday, January 4.

            The municipal councillor for Long and Brier Island wants better communication between the Department Of Transportation And Infrastructure Renewal and the residence of the Islands when it comes to ferry breakdowns.

            David Tudor says the department regularly issues public statements when roads and highways to a closed and he’d like the same information when the ferries break down.

            The captains stop both Island ferries of the service sporadically on Friday, January 3 during the blizzard.

            “We understand that and that’s the right decision,” said Tudor “there’s no sense beating and battering your equipment in a storm.”

            However the Petite Princess ferry, which operates in Petite Passage between East Ferry on the mainland and Tiverton on Long Island, developed mechanical problems that 4:30 PM Friday evening.

            The department assemble an extra ferry crew and they went to Westport to put the Spray, one of the two spare ferries, into service for about 11 PM that night.

            The other spare, the Scotian, is a way in dry dock.

            At the same time the Joe Casey, which normally operates in Grand Passage between Freeport and Westport, left for Tiverton to replace the Petite Princess.

            The Joe Casey arrived and Tiverton and resume that ferry service for 1:30 AM Saturday, January 4.

            The Spray, meanwhile, only made one run to Freeport before crews noticed a problem with one of her ramps and they took her out of service about 11 PM Friday.

            She did manage one run about mid – day Saturday but full service wasn’t restored until about 3 PM Saturday.

            John Majachrowicz, manager of Marine Services for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, says it was a highly unusual situation to have two ferries down at the same while the second spare was away.

            “We don’t break down that often out there and when we do, we usually have another ferry to put right its place right away,” said Majachrowicez by phone. “I was talking to the guys about this and they can’t remember the last time we had an interruption of service for this long.”

            He said the Spray, although not able to carry vehicles because of the ramp, would still have been able to carry passengers in case of an emergency.

            The current plan right now when we know ferry is unavailable, is for the captain to notify EHS and Majchrowicz notifies the communication department who spreads the word if necessary.

            The department made no public announcement of the 16 hour service interruption on January 4 although the lack of service was reported on Nova Scotia 511 – the government website listing road and ferry closures.

2015

         Ferry Rates Increase Hundred 160%

         Digby Courier March 26, 2015

            Island ferry rates on Digby Neck are going to jump April 1 when the province increases many of its user fees.

            Round – trip fees for the Petite Passage and Grand Passage crossings are raising from $5.50 to seven dollars for a car, and $6.50 to $10 for a truck. A book of 10 tickets, which is now $13.50 will soar to $35 for a car and $50 for a truck.

            The increases were announced in a report tabled Thursday by Finance Minister Diana Whalen. Fees on ferries, fishing licenses, snowmobiles, hunting courses, home care, and environmental assessments will all be increasing this year.

Contract for New Ferry for Grand Passage;

Digby Courier March 27, 2015

The A. F. Theriault and Son Shipyard have been awarded a $7.68 million contract to build a new car and passenger ferry to serve Grand Passage between Long and Briar Islands at the foot of Digby Neck.

            The 36 – meter ferry is to be completed by the latter half of 2016, and will be capable of carrying 18 cars, 96 passengers, and a crew of three. It will replace the ferry “Joe Casey.”

            Gillis Theriault, general manager of the Meteghan River shipyard, said following today’s tender awarding that it is another positive development for the region, providing a year and a half of four.

“Were going to make it work,” he said, “and the ferry will be going just across the St. Mary’s Bay. He gives us a really positive feeling.”

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