It’s been called the little ferry that could, and 2019 marks the historic McLure ferry’s 100th year of operation.
It remains one of five inland “reaction” ferries still operating in British Columbia. Reaction ferries are propelled by the current of the river.
“We owe a lot to these little ferries – more than many would realize,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Before our road network was built, inland ferries were used by ranchers, railway workers and others travelling through the Interior. Even livestock was moved by ferry. B.C.’s reaction ferry fleet had an important role in the history and development of our province.”
The McLure ferry runs across the North Thompson River off Highway 5, on the east side of the river. The ferry capacity is two vehicles and 12 passengers. The crossing time is about five minutes.
When crossing a short stretch of water in a remote location, when all other options do not make economic sense, a reaction ferry often does. There were once more than 35 of them in use, but as the Province’s road system developed, the need for many of these ferry crossings declined, resulting in only five in operation today.
The ministry will commemorate this milestone by installing a provincial coat of arms on the vessel with a commemorative plaque that will be on display for visitors to view. The plaque will be located at the ferry landing, 43 kilometres north of Kamloops, on the east side of the river. The plaque will be installed later this summer.
- There are 14 inland-ferry routes in B.C. that are operated for the Province of B.C. under contract.
- Five of the routes are served by cable ferries, five are reaction ferries, three use free-running ferries and one is served by a tug and barge.
- Last year, the Province’s inland ferries carried approximately 1.5 million vehicles and almost 2.4 million passengers.
Click here for a map of B.C’s inland ferry services: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/driving-and-transportation/passenger/inland-ferries/pdf/3917_inlandferryservices_brochure.pdf