Virgin Radio Star Experiences Historic Halifax-Dartmouth Ferry Ride

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Upon his arrival in Halifax for a week-long work stay, Virgin Radio personality Ace Burpee had a single item burning at the top of his bucket list: a voyage on the locally renowned ferry.

For Burpee, a native of the unfettered prairies, boarding the celebrated water vessel was an adrenaline-infused experience. Yet, for many Halifax residents, this was nothing more than an essential method of crossing to and from their coastal homes.

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According to Dartmouth historian David Jones, the famous Halifax-Dartmouth ferry isn’t just a staple for tourists or commuters, it occupies an esteemed place in the annals of North American history. Operational since 1752, it holds the distinction of being the oldest functioning saltwater ferry on the continent.

Tracing its humble origins back to a simple rowboat accommodating only a handful of passengers at a time, the ferry service rapidly expanded within 18th-century Halifax society. Jones explains that it served as a critical bridge for individuals from Preston, Cow Bay, Cole Harbour and Eastern Passage to transport their produce to the market.

Interlacing Halifax and Dartmouth for well over 270 years, this historic crossing remains a fundamental lifeline to this day. HRM Councillor Tony Mancini expressed the economic importance of the port, emphasizing the significant role the ferry plays not just for the HRM, but for the entire province.

Indeed, the vital and historical significance of the ferry echoes back to its origin in 1752, testifying to its enduring role in the machinery of day-to-day life in coastal Nova Scotia.