Sad but true, everything changes eventualy, and not always for the better. Driving back from the convention in Sackville NB on Sunday morning I was hit by an irresistible urge to visit the old PEI ferry terminal at Cape Tormentine; I was on a very familiar highway, one I have travelled numerous times and in all kinds of weather. This morning it was torrential rain, but in the past I had experienced snow,ice or even being stuck behind a convoy of summer camper trailers. In the latter case it meant missing the ferry for which I only had minutes to spare. I’m referring to the days when we needed a ferry to get home to the island. Today in the pouring rain I felt a nostalgic pull to leave the new highway to the bridge and visit the old ferry terminal. I thought about the many times I had raced to catch the ferry, the many times I pulled into the terminus only to watch the ferry sailing away from the wharf. I recalled the summer tourist traffic filling the terminal and spilling out onto the highway. The dismay of having no alternative but to wait for several hours in the uncomfortable waiting area, usually too hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. Nevertheless, there was something special about crossing the Northumberland Strait in those old and slow ferries. It was a time to relax, have a meal or talk with other islanders. It seemed one always met someone they knew on the ferry, sometimes a neighbour sometimes some one not seen for several years. I remember the ferry stuck in the heavy ice or returning to the Tormentine side because of high winds and heavy seas. On one occasion I left Moncton at 10am just as a storm was beginning. I probably drove too fast over dangerous roads often in poor visibility (something I did all too often) and rolled into the terminal just in time to catch the noon sailing. By now the storm was full blown and as the MV Abegweit attempted to enter Borden harbour we almost capsized. The ship turned around and about 12 hours later we were ashore back on the Tormentine side. We sailed again the following morning and finally docked on the island around 10am. I had been travelling for approximately 24 hours for a journey usually taking 2 or 3 hours. Today some twenty years after the bridge opened and while driving this familiar highway I felt the need to turn toward the old terminal. Curiosity had gotten the better of me, I just needed to see what changes had taken place. It was difficult to take photos through the driving rain, daring to open a window meant risking a soaking. I did my best trying to snap shots between the sweep of my wipers,and as you will see my success was less the marginal
But hopefully it creates an impression of a lost vision from the past. I will attempt to describe each photo in order. From the left, first is the empty parking area for the vehicles and to the left what is left of the waiting area. The second snap is the once bustling Irving Gas Station and Restaurant now deserted and derelict. The third shot is the road leading into the village of Tormentine, (sorry miss the wipers sweep again) it appears ghostly with not a soul in sight. Of course, that might well have been due to the heavy rain. Finally, the last shot is the bridge as I head for home. Rain or not the place appeared deserted and lifeless. I suppose it is understandable under the circumstances. I imagine most of the inhabitants either worked for the ferry service or depended on business derived from it. Changing times indeed, no one would argue the bridge is far more efficient and quicker, yet so sad when we look back with fond memories to those slower times. It surely makes us realize we are growing older and like Cape Tormentine facing the inevitability of change. As I entered the bridge I felt good about my visit, it was my way to remember and pay my last respect to a bit of Island history .
God Bless and keep reading