The town of Fassett is on Hwy 148 just a few miles east of the better known Montebello on the north shore of the Ottawa in Quebec. The 148 stays pretty close to the shore of the Ottawa all along the section from the bridge at Hawksebury to the next upstream bridge at Ottawa itself. It's a local road, connecting all the villages and towns and cottages that hug the river. And it's a pleasant route to take when you have a bit of time to spare, as most of the long distance traffic takes the autoroute 50 which runs parallel just a mile or two north all the way, right at the base of the Laurentians.
Montebello is the local star attraction. with enough to entertain many tastes and budgets. Château Montebello is an extravagant log cabin-retreat built in the 1930s, and as well us offering upscale hotel accommodation and meals has been the scene of several world level meetings including the G7 in 1981. There are historic monuments and parkland to explore, with and without high price tags. If you have kids, visitors from overseas or just love animals and nature yourself, then visit the Parc Omega just a few miles north. This is a safari park where you can observe many of Canada's iconic animal species in their near-natural habitat, driving along seven miles of trails.
The casual tourist is far more likely to come across the ferry on the Fassett side. On the south shore the town of Lefaivre is well away from any major route. There used to be a wharf in the town, just upstream from the ferry dock, when the Ottawa River was a main transport artery. But now the town seems to exist mainly to service the vast area of farmland to the south and the cottages that line the river.
The ferry itself is now an end-loading diesel power vessel that operates a continuous service. When we were last there it was noon on a wet autumn day, and the ferry was crossing back and forth across the river as soon as there was a car waiting on either side. The retired side-loading ferry was still moored at the old ramp, while the new end-loader drew up alongside at its designated ramp.
This is a calm and gently beautiful stretch of the river to cross. Both banks are lined with trees and the signs of civilization are visible but not overwhelming. The Laurentians come close to the north bank of the river here. When we last crossed the rain had just stopped and the patches of low clouds against the hills behind made everything look mysterious.
The ferry proudly proclaimed its website— www.lefaivre-ferry.com—on the side. Which surprised me as I could find no official site on the web before we departed. When I checked later it was still "under construction" of course! But there's not much need for a ferry to have a website, other than telling you if it's open or not.
The quietness of Fassett and Lefaivre does not mean this ferry it not useful though. It's about 100
between the bridge at Hawkesbury and the next one in Ottawa. Taking this ferry can save nearly an hour of driving. In winter an ice bridge (a maintained and monitored toll road across the ice) runs on the route of the ferry, leaving just the in-between seasons when the round trip becomes necessary.