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The Confederation Bridge replaces ferry to P.E.I.

Almost since Confederation, a link between Prince Edward Island and the rest of Canada was a lively possibility. But would a fixed link sacrifice the island's stand-alone charm or just make life more convenient? And could a link disrupt the delicate ecosystem of the Northumberland Strait? From fishermen to farmers to ferry workers, the island's prospects were debated and protected. In 1988, after a referendum with 60 per cent in favour, the inevitable came to pass. It wouldn't be a tunnel or causeway; it would be a curvaceous, 12.9-kilometre bridge.

Construction of the bridge has meant more jobs for P.E.I. and New Brunswick residents. And many are expected to benefit from its completion. Only one group will be left in the cold by the new development: the 600 ferry workers. There may be no way to stop progress, but the ferry workers in this CBC Television clip are certainly feeling the sting of it as they say goodbye to a life of service on the Northumberland Strait.
• The first year-round service from P.E.I. to the mainland began in 1917 with the advent of icebreaker boats. By 1948, four separate ferries were working the route; the MV Abegweit, the S.S. Charles Dunning, the Prince Nova and the P.E.I.
• Another group concerned about their livelihood were the fishers, who thought a bridge would jeopardize lobster populations.

• Sentimental ties to the ferries were strong among residents, and are probably still strong today. Some residents swore they would not use the bridge if it were built. Others said they could no longer call themselves islanders.
• Other ferry routes are still in operation, between Nova Scotia and P.E.I. and between P.E.I. and Quebec's Magdalen Islands.
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: May 29, 1997
Reporter: John Murphy
Duration: 3:29

Last updated: March 9, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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