Festivals & Events

Gagetown Ferry: A River Reunited

Ferry Tales

Gagetown Ferry in New Brunswick, a symbol of community resilience and essential rural Canadian transport. This cable ferry takes you on a short (less than 5 minutes) ride across the majestic Saint John River, linking the historical and artsy Village of Gagetown with prime birdwatching at Grand Lake Meadows Protected Natural Area, New Brunswick’s largest freshwater wetland. It also connects communities, fosters economic activity, and preserves a way of life that has thrived along these banks for generations.

The Gagetown Ferry's journey has not been without its challenges. In February 2016, the service was discontinued as a cost-saving measure by the government, leaving a void in the hearts and lives of those who relied on it daily. The ferry was more than just a mode of transportation; it was a lifeline for residents, a conduit for local businesses, and a symbol of the region's resilience. The decision to halt the ferry service sparked controversy and mobilized the community in a united front to advocate for its return.

The collective voice of the community echoed through the halls of power, leading to a pivotal announcement in August 2019 by the new Progressive Conservative government. The Gagetown Ferry was to return, signaling a victory for community activism and the importance of listening to the needs of rural populations. The government's decision to retrofit the old Belleisle Bay Ferry for use in Gagetown was a clear acknowledgment of the ferry's essential role in the community's fabric.

On July 1, 2020, the Gagetown Ferry resumed its operations, much to the delight of the residents and businesses on both sides of the Saint John River. This service, operating on a seasonal schedule and free of tolls, can carry up to 12 cars at a time, ensuring that the community remains connected. The crossing itself is a brief yet vital journey, covering 0.7 kilometers, under the stewardship of the New Brunswick Department of Transportation.

The revival of the Gagetown Ferry serves as a reminder of the impact of community advocacy and the importance of maintaining essential services in rural areas. It highlights the need for governments to consider the unique needs of all communities, regardless of their size or economic power. The ferry is more than just a means to cross the river; it is a symbol of the community's resilience, unity, and commitment to preserving their way of life.

As the ferry continues to navigate the waters of the Saint John River, it carries with it the hopes and dreams of the people it serves. The Gagetown Ferry is not just a piece of infrastructure; it is a lifeline that ensures the vibrancy and connectivity of New Brunswick's communities. It stands as a beacon of hope, demonstrating what can be achieved when people come together for a common cause. For 24-hour information about ferry service interruption notices, call 511 (in New Brunswick) or 1-800-561-4063 (out of province).