Cat Ferry Nipped at Yarmouth

Since 1998 the town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia has welcomed the arrival of a ship with two hulls that runs on jet engines. An unusually fast ship the Cat Ferry cut in half the two-day trip from Bar Harbor, Maine to the southwest Nova Scotia town. This brought American tourists to Nova Scotia complete with cars, recreational vehicles or tour buses.

The Cat ferry began service 12 years ago and boasted between 100,000 and 150,000 passengers every year. However, in recent years that number has dropped to be low 76,000 and the service only servivied through government subsidies: $1.3 million in 2005; $2.5 million in 2007; and $4.4 million in 2008. In 2009 the service was given the astounduing sum of $12 million. This is a subsidy of around $158 a person.

Cat Ferry Nipped at Yarmouth
Cat Ferry Nipped at Yarmouth

This is not the first hit for Yarmouth. In the early 1990′s a series of industry closings hurt ther area so tourism played a big part in the economic well-being. A few years ago the venerable Prince of Fundystopped operations. This traditional ferry service brought people in from Maine on a more regular basis than the Cat and its demise hurt many accommodation operations including bed-and-breakfasts as well as hotels and restaurants.

It is not that the Cat was the “end-all-and-be-all” of tourism dollars coming to Nova Scotia. It is just one in a string of tourism losses for Yarmouth including a pullout by Starlink, an air carrier that started service from Yarmouth to Maine less than a year ago.

With the high Canadian dollar, American Homeland Security roadblocks and the economic hits in the U.S. tourists from the south as a dying breed. In addition, the improvement of roads in Maine and southern new Brunswick mean that trip from Halifax to Boston and vice versa is a lot quicker than it used to be and, even with high gas prices, a lot cheaper than taking the Cat.

The traditional gateway to the U.S. by water has now closed. But this does not mean that southwest Nova Scotia is doomed. The loss of the ferries just means that Nova Scotia has to change its campaign for drawing tourist dollars into the province. What worked in the 1990′s does not necessarily translate into revenue anymore.

And at $158 a visitor surely we can spend our money more wisely to get a bigger bang for southern Nova Scotia.

TIANS Against Halifax Historic Properties Redevelopment

The (Halifax) Historic Property core region is one of the most defining elements on the Halifax Waterfront. Any development that mitigates the authentic experience and preservation of this area would be very short-sighted and detrimental to tourism over the long term.

– Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia

It is now standard practice in big business to develop for the sake of development. In other words, ripping down the old and building the new seems to be the ultimate way to drive the economic engines. And if this isn’t happening then the economy is in recession.

During the past ten years Nova Scotia has lost dozens of historic buildings including two gas stations that date back to the 1920′s. But those are new compared to the buildings from the 1800′s that are suffering the wrecking ball. And why is this happening? Because the powers-that-be figure that tearing down historic buildings, ones that have been saved by previous administrations, is the only way to retain or gain a good tax base.

And what happens when the developers lose? They throw fits. This is because they have spent tens of thousands of dollars on architects and consultants so why wouldn’t they? The real problem is that there are no hard and fast rules about dealing with historical landmarks. The rules seem to change with each mayor:

1973: The city council formally supported the preservation of the Historic Properties ares north of Duke Street from Granville Street to the water. This recognition made Halifax a leader in preserving history.

2002: The Heritage Canad foundation, a national organization dedicated to preserving the architectural heritage and historic places of Canada, chose Halifax to host its conference. They found that vacationers want to visit historic areas and their preservation is vital.

2008: Armour Group wants to destroy the main buildings and keep the facades. This will take in the last original area of Halifax.

What TIANS is saying is that the Armour Group should not have been lead on to believe that they could destroy old properties for the sake of a new development. Armour Group and certain city councilors argue that there is not enough office space in Halifax. Actually, Halifax has over 1,000,000 square feet of vacant land in downtown Halifax.

There are a lot of stupid moves in Halifax planning. (The Cogswell exchange was one of them) Rather than destroy the heritage properties why not look at the available land? Because you know what happens to many buildings that are destroyed in Halifax? They become parking lots. And tourists can only park once.

Travel Media Association of Canada

In 1994 some journalists from Toronto thought that the media and the tourism industry should form a professional relationship and the Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) was formed. Since then the ranks swelled to over 450 members with a breakdown of 4-% media and 60% industry partners.

Guided by a volunteer Board of Directors TMAC includes travel writers, authors, broadcasters, photographers and producers working in just about every form of mass media from newspapers to television and from CD-Rom to internet streaming.

From February 3-9, 2009 the Annual General Meeting and Conference of TMAC will be held at the River Rock Casino in Richmond, B.C. Click on to the site for infomrmation updates.

Bay of Fundy Tidal Bore

A tidal bore is a wall of water that moves up certain low-lying rivers due to an incoming tide. Tidal bores form when an incoming tide rushes up a river, developing a steep forward slope due to resistance to the tide’s advance by the river, which is flowing in the opposite direction. Thus we have the phenomenon of the river changing its flow before your very eyes, flowing in overtop the outgoing river water.

he height of the tidal bore increases with the range of the tide and may very in height from just a ripple to several feet.Bores occur in relatively few locations worldwide, usually in areas with a large tidal range (typically more than 20 feet between high and low water), and where incoming tides are funneled into a shallow, narrowing river via a broad bay. The funnel-like shape not only increases the height of the tide, but it can also decrease the duration of the flood tide down to a point where the flood appears as a sudden increase in the water level.

Bay of Fundy Tidal Bore
Bay of Fundy Tidal Bore

There are approximately two high tides and two low tides within a 24-hour period in the Bay of Fundy. The time between a low tide and a high tide is about 6 hours and 13 minutes. Therefore visitors to the Fundy coast can realistically expect to see at least one high and one low tide during daylight hours.

Tide times move ahead approximately one hour each day, and tide times vary for different locations around the Bay. One of the best ways to experience the full impression of the Bay of Fundy’s tides is to visit the same coastal location at high tide, then return about six hours later at low tide (or vice versa).

The Bay of Fundy tidal bore is a three hour drive from White Point Manor and White Point Beach Resort.