We’d had lunch with an old friend in Picton, Prince Edward County, and she had mentioned the County Cider Company near Waupoos. Having lived many years in the west-country of England we know and love our cider, so couldn’t resist driving the few miles to Waupoos after lunch. After buying a dozen each of the “County Apple” and “Tortured Path” (pretty close to our idea of a good Somerset cider) we took the scenic route home.
A sign by the road, or a mention somewhere, hinted at the Waupoos Island Ferry. So we turned down County Road 38/8A which soon ended at a dock looking across to Waupoos Island, about a kilometre out into Lake Ontario. There on the right of the dock was a barge (let’s call it a ferry) full of sheep that had been brought over from the island and were being loaded into a truck. To the left of the dock was a small landing-craft style work boat used to tow the barge and probably to act as an ad hoc private ferry for passengers and vehicles when needed.
Waupoos Island these days consists of a sheep farm, a handful of houses and a summer camp that can be rented by the day. The Waupoos area of Prince Edward County is pretty laid back and quiet, and the island looks to be quieter still. A century ago there was a dairy farm exporting wilk and cheese to the mainland. At one time way back there used to be a horse-powered ferry, but now you just make private arrangements if you want to get over there.
The sheep herd on Waupoos Island was started in the 1970s and now numbers 1400 ewes. The sheep spend the summer months on the island pastures and move to the mainland for the winter months when the grass can't support them. They make the crossing either on the ice or using the ferry. The sheep we saw that October day were headed into a trailer, so probably on their way to market.
So, this is mainly a sheep ferry.