A Crossing Place

By calling this headland Wuk’taa’mook, the Mi’kmaq meant a crossing place — a place to pause, stock up on food, rest, make repairs, or wait-out dangerous weather.

The Acadians and early British settlers canoed across the Northumberland Strait, as did the iceboats which used to deliver mail to Prince Edward Island through long, bitter winters. In later years, the iceboats were replaced by ferries of ever-increasing size until the opening of the  Confederation Bridge in 1997, when ferry services were decommissioned.

The Winter Link to Prince Edward Island

In winter the Northumberland Strait, between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, becomes a dangerous expanse of board ice, pressure ridges, and open-water dotted with fast-moving ice floes.

horse-drawn-iceboat

The photo above depicts how for 90 years, beginning in 1827, a perilous method of transport connected Prince Edward Island to the mainland during the long winter months of ice and snow. To cross, special boats were designed with runners to ease dragging across patches of ice, and prows designed to ride up on the ice, allowing safe disembarking.

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