There’s a lot of water in Canada and sometimes the only way across it is by ferry boat.
On both Canadian coasts, ferries connect island and/or isolated communities up and down the Pacific edge of British Columbia and throughout the Atlantic provinces.
Likewise in the central provinces of Quebec and Ontario, ferries serve as an extension of the highway to island and riverside communities.
As well, there are ferries that ply the waters between the U.S. and Canada on either coast.
Many of these ferry crossings are like mini-cruises: they are on particularly scenic routes that offer wonderful opportunities to photograph Canadian wilderness and often, wildlife. It’s not uncommon to see eagles, sea lions, seals, whales and porpoises while travelling on open water.
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Different ferries serve different regions, and even within a single fleet–BC Ferries on the west coast, for example–rates, reservations and boarding protocols may vary from ship to ship. When booking ferry transport, pay particular attention to details such as cut-off times and freight restrictions (ie, propane tanks may be considered dangerous cargo).
Some crossings take mere minutes and make great day-trips: the pedestrian-only ferry from downtown Toronto to Ward’s Island, for example, or the crossing from Quebec City to suburban Levis (which offers one of the best views of Old Quebec.)
Other crossings take hours: the ferry along the famous Inside Passage from Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert in Northern BC even offers staterooms for the journey.
>>Related link: Top 5 ferry daytrips in Canada
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