Don't dash off here with hopes of a pleasant ferry ride to start your holiday in the land of Anne of Green Gables. In May 1997 the Confederation Bridge opened almost on top of the ferry route and that was the end of the ferry service.
We returned from PEI to the mainland on this ferry in July 1989. This was a year after a plebiscite in PEI approved the idea of a fixed link—
what you and I would call a bridge. When we crossed, the 15
of open sea did not seem the most likely place for a bridge. It seemed just a distant prospect—
just another of those vague mega-projects that drift between the lips of politicians and the imagination of people, and never quite materialise due to lack of money and political necessity. But in this case the bridge really did happen and the ferry disappeared.
The bridge is indeed an engineering marvel. In honesty it is much more practical than the ferry and looks great too. But all is not lost if you want to arrive in PEI by boat. The ferry from Caribou NS to Wood Islands PEI
will still bring you across the Northumberland Straits from Nova Scotia. And if you're looking for the long way round, take the ferry from Cap-aux-Meules in the Magdalen Islands, Quebec, to Souris PEI.
When we took the ferry it was the end of a great camping trip that had taken us to the northern tip of Newfoundland and back, so we had sad faces as we looked back over the dock at Borden as we left. The boats used on this service were large multi-level ro-ro vessels—
they had a lot of work to do in the summer transporting most of PEI's tourist traffic in addition to the regular commerce. Back then PEI had a railway system and two of the ferry boats were equipped to car railway cars in addition to road vehicles.
The replacement... The Confederation Bridge
When we returned to PEI in September 2016 we had arrived on the ferry at Souris, so again we were returning to the mainland via Borden, without having arrived there. This time there was only the bridge, but maybe we were glad of that fact as the waters of the Abegweit Passage were pretty rough that day. We wandered around the shoreline at Borden to marvel at the engineering of the bridge, hardly realising we were yards away from the terminal for the ferry where we had queued 27 years before. We stood in the wind and watched as the waves beat the end of the old ferry dock and crashed high into the air.