Re­peat­ing his­tory

Ice boat replica launch and fes­ti­val set for June 30 in Cape Tra­verse


Any­one present along the wa­ter­front of Cape Tra­verse on June 30 will be privy to a sight not seen on Prince Ed­ward Is­land in more than 50 years. An ice boat, painstak­ingly recre­ated by staff and stu­dents of the Hol­land Col­lege her­itage retro­fit car­pen­try pro­gram us­ing orig­i­nal blue­prints, will be launched and rowed across Cape Tra­verse Cove. Once its short but his­toric voy­age is com­plete, it will be loaded onto a horse-drawn wagon by lo­cals in early 20th cen­tury dress and pa­raded to its new home at the Ice Boat Ser­vice Me­mo­rial on Route 10.

It’s go­ing to be quite the sight, promised An­drew MacKay, a mem­ber of the Cape Tra­verse Ice Boat Com­mit­tee and one of the peo­ple sched­uled to be on the boat. The sail­ing of the ice boat, the pa­rade to its new home and the com­mu­nity get-together sched­uled for the ded­i­ca­tion when it ar­rives at its des­ti­na­tion are part of the sec­ond Cape Tra­verse Ice Boat Fes­ti­val. MacKay said they are hop­ing to at­tract lots of Is­lan­ders to par­tic­i­pate in the fes­tiv­i­ties and to help com­mem­o­rate an im­por­tant piece of P.E.I. his­tory. “Ul­ti­mately that is the goal of our com­mit­tee, to bring the com­mu­nity together and rec­og­nize the strong his­tory here … of the ice boats and all the hard­ships that those com­mu­nity mem­bers en­dured over the years 1827 to 1917 (while the boats were in ser­vice),” he said. The ice boat ser­vice, which op­er­ated from Cape Tra­verse dur­ing its nine decades of ex­is­tence, was at one time the only means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and trans­porta­tion to and from P.E.I. dur­ing the win­ter. There had been a replica ice boat in Cape Tra­verse me­mo­rial for many years but it was re­moved a few years ago due to its de­te­ri­o­rat­ing con­di­tion. A group from Cape Tra­verse and the other com­mu­ni­ties in the area banded together to form a com­mit­tee to re­store the mon­u­ment. The class at Hol­land Col­lege was con­tracted by Parks Canada to build a replica of an orig­i­nal ice boat and this year’s fes­ti­val will serve as its in­tro­duc­tion to the com­mu­nity. The or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee re­ally wanted to make an event of the boat’s de­liv­ery and not just pull off a cur­tain or some­thing, said Nanci Mac­Don­ald, one of com­mit­tee mem­bers. “It sounded like a whole lot more fun,” she said. The com­mit­tee is hop­ing to con­tinue the fes­ti­val as an an­nual event. Last year was the in­au­gu­ral year and they had a good turnout and are hop­ing for a re­peat this year. “it’s an in­cred­i­ble un­told story in Canada. Just hav­ing a small mon­u­ment there with a boat – it doesn’t get that mes­sage across. To get peo­ple ex­cited about that, you have to start in the com­mu­nity and grow,” said Jim Glen­nie, another com­mit­tee mem­ber. Any­one in­ter­ested in watch­ing the sail­ing of the ice boat can con­gre­gate at the old Cape Tra­verse Wharf, at the end of Wharf Road. It will be go­ing in the wa­ter at 1 p.m. and the fes­tiv­i­ties are sched­uled to con­clude around 3 p.m. More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able on the group’s Face­book page: www.face­­tra­ver­se­ice­boat­com­mi­tee/


An­drew MacKay, a mem­ber of the Cape Tra­verse Ice Boat Com­mit­tee, will be one of sev­eral peo­ple who in­tend to sail a newly com­pleted replica ice boat from one point in the com­mu­nity to another to cel­e­brate the sec­ond Cape Tra­verse ice Boat Fes­ti­val on June 30.


The replica ice boat be­ing in­stalled in the Cape Tra­verse Ice Boat Me­mo­rial was con­structed by the Hol­land Col­lege her­itage retro­fit car­pen­try pro­gram in Char­lot­te­town.

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