5 Reasons Why Atlantic Canada Needs the Ferry Service

The new NDP government has been saddled with many problems in its first few months in power: labour disputes, budget deficits and even traveling expenses. However, as troubling as these items are now nothing will come back to bite Nova Scotia and the other Atlantic problems like the termination of a ferry service between the U.S. and Nova Scotia.

For those who either think that a ferry service is a drain on Nova Scotia taxpayers, or who just couldn’t care less, ponder the following:

1.  The South Shore Economy

Without the ferry running people back and forth between the U.S. and Nova Scotia the businesses of the South Shore and lower Annapolis Valley will be directly affected. This includes every business from bed-and-breakfasts to convenient stores. These are enterprises that pay taxes (HST and income), money that goes into the tax and school system.  Without this influx of revenue both Canadian taxpayers and those from the towns in the county  of “I-Couldn’t-Really-Care, Nova Scotia” will have to pony up to keep schools and infrastructure up.

2.  Geography

Take a good look at a map of North America. Nova Scotia is stuck out into the Atlantic. Now look at the major centers and ask yourself, “If a person wanted to come here from the U.S.,  how would would they come in?” The airlines are expensive, and  driving here looks like The Great Trek. The ferry from Bar Harbor or Portland gave travelers more reason to come here.

3.  Gateway to Atlantic Canada

With the ferry to Yarmouth a family from Boston or other parts of the eastern U.S. who wanted to visit Atlantic Canada could take in 4 provinces in one trip. Landing in Yarmouth they made their way up to to Cape Breton and took another ferry to Newfoundland. On the way back they got on another ferry at Caribou and visited P.E.I., then took the Confederation bridge to New Brunswick – where they were on the highway back through new Brunswick and home. This routing makes it more attractive for Americans to visit Newfoundland, a choice that may not be a priority without the ferry.

4.  Foreign Tour Companies

I just mentioned that the routing is best for FIT (free independent travelers) travelers but what about the bus tours? Each year hundreds of buses come across on the ferry system. Without the ferry their plans would be altered and a “Canadian Tour” might miss out on staples like the Cabot Trail or Kejimkujik National Park.  Again, look at the map and see it as if you are a tour designer. The route is not as attractive without the ferry.

5.  Halifax Will be the Sole Entry Point

Although I live in HRM this area is just a part of Nova Scotia. Right now cruise ships have turned seeing Nova Scotia into a half-day trip from the Pier21. Without a ferry this phenomenon could grow so that that more and more tours will be designed using Halifax as the hub instead of part fo the entire tour.

We may not need the ferry in its present form, but we could definitely use the old-style, car-carrying ships that run on a dependable schedule. Because it’s easy to dismiss the ferry when its -10 Celsius but the real cost will hit us next fall when we read about the 2010 tourism statistics and business closures.

Kat Gurholt – The Best Photographer in Nova Scotia

Judging by the title you’d have to say I was stretching things a bit. I mean everyone thinks that they know the “best” photographer in Nova Scotia. And Sherman Hines would probably have a few things to say about my ravings.

Sherman Hines is about the best scenic photographer in the world. For years he has honed his craft so that almost every standard depiction of Peggy’s Cove and the Bluenose schooner is either Sherman’s or a knock-off of his shooting style.

In that regard Kat Gurholt does a great Sherman. Not only does she get the shot and the lighting in the Sherm style she adds a few of her own spins like “messin’ with the fog” and switching to black-and-white. Kat released a coffee table book earlier this year with some fabulous shots of Nova Scotia from Blomidon to Halifax harbour. And while Sherman may still hold the crown for scenic shots Kat can also shoot people.

Whether its the recent Blue Man Group concert or a local bar band Kat’s got it down. She doesn’t necessarily study the shot but takes a steady stream of pictures adjusting the lighting and composition as she goes. In fact you have probably seen her bopping around in front of the band. In fact the guys in Acoustic Soul consider her their “personal photographer” although she will hit as many as five clubs in a night.

My favorite subject of her recent photos was the Nova Scotia International Tattoo. Kat got close and personal with a few of the bands and it looks like she’s marching with them!

Lats Tuesday Kat presented local celebrity and Beatles performer, Hal Bruce, with a hardcover coffee table book of his three Martime Beatle Events. She had collected the shots and arranged them in a form that a publisher could bind into a beautiful book. So she is not only the best photographer she is a giver of the first kind. In fact, she has also given me permission to use her shots in my blog.

To contact Kat: Actually, she is working for many projects covering Asia and Europe, as Voyage Vietnam photo but you can contact by her Twitter or Google +