Toronto Niagara Ferry

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Toronto to Niagara is considered one of the earliest steam routes on Lake Ontario. The Canada, a British steam packet made regular ferry trips between York and Niagara Town in 1827 in the span of 4.5 hours. Vessels called the City of Toronto and the new City of Toronto also provided ferry service on this route before eventually being retired. In 1839 ferry boat service between Toronto and Queenston was going full steam ahead and by 1896 there were three boats on the route. Recognizing the potential in expanding the ferry service along this lucrative route, in 1878 the Niagara Navigation Company began was creating a line of steamers to operate between Toronto, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Lewiston. The first boat, the Chicora, a side-wheeler, was launched in 1880. She was joined in 1888 by the Cibola, a paddle steamer. They were both joined later by the Chippewa. In 1939 for the princely sum of $2.00 each way, you could take the ferry from Toronto to Queenston.


The Niagara Ferries

In more modern times, several attempts have been made to resurrect ferry service between Toronto and Niagara, but each attempt has proven to be unsuccessful. The Sunrise Vl, a passenger hydrofoil, began providing ferry service for passengers between Toronto and Niagara in June, 1998. Her routes were Toronto to Port Dalhousie and Niagara-on-the-Lake and Toronto to Lewiston, New York. She was licensed for 66 passengers and made the journey in approximately 1 hour. On August 18, 1998 the Sunrise Vl was en route from Toronto to Port Dalhousie with four passengers onboard. The water was very rough and the vessel was forced to reduce speed. A window in the passenger compartment was damaged by a wave and water entered. Luckily only one passenger was injured. Also in 1998 Waterways Transportation Services Corp. began operating a 300-passenger catamaran six times a day between Jordan Harbor, in Niagara’s wine country and Toronto and Shaker Cruise Lines offered a 70-passenger hydrofoil service between Toronto and St. Catharines, Port Dalhousie and Lewiston, New York. It appears that 1998 was a bad year for ferry service between Toronto and Niagara as all of these initiatives were very short lived.

Since then there have been many discussions about providing ferry service between Toronto and Niagara. There have even been feasibility studies conducted trying to prove the economic viability of ferry service and the necessity in reducing commuter traffic. But alas, it has been to no avail.

We have a great history of marvelous boats and stories of great intrigue. The saga of the S.S. Noronic still holds many secrets. To read more about the Noronic, click here.