Marine Atlantic passengers enjoy sea voyage as they return to home province
For many returning home via a leisurely ferry voyage is a nostalgic adventure.
Editor’s note: This is the second instalment of a three-part series which commemorates 120 years of connection between Cape Breton and ‘The Rock.’
Tina Huszar has fond memories of hitchhiking from Corner Brook to Port aux Basques, N.L. in order to board a Marine Atlantic ferry.
Those memories came flashing back when she boarded the ferry for the first time in 45 years for an August afternoon crossing on the MV Highlanders between North Sydney and Port aux Basques.
“We’ve been home (to Corner Brook) about four of five times since I left, but we always flew home,” said Huszar with a smile. “We never took the boat back until this trip – no more driving and hitchhiking for me.”
“I have plenty of memories, but I can’t share them (with the readers).” laughed Huszar.
Because of the lack of job opportunities, Huszar made the decision to leave “The Rock” in 1973 at the age of 15 to pursue employment in Brampton, Ont., where she’s lived ever since.
“It’s nice to take the boat across again,” said Huszar. “Coming back on the boat is certainly nice, and when I was boarding the vessel it did make me think of the last time I was on it and it was a good feeling.”
Huszar was impressed with the ferry experience.
“I can’t really remember 45 years ago whether the inside of the boat was the same as today because it’s been so long,” laughed the 60-year-old.
“I don’t think they had dining rooms and everything. They may have had some small dining rooms on the boat, but I don’t recall seeing everything they have today – they obviously did an upgrade.”
Huszar was travelling to Newfoundland with her husband, Brian Store, as well as her sister and nephew. The four planned to stay in the province for five days, visiting Huszar’s sister and step father, before traveling back to Halifax for the remainder of their vacation.
Huszar was last in Newfoundland in 2017 following the death of her mother, Frances Gillingham, in Corner Brook.
“I’m really looking forward to the drive from Port aux Basques to Corner Brook – it’s been 45 years since I’ve done it,” said Huszar. “It’s going to be tough going back home. I’m not looking forward to walking in the door because mom was always there to greet us.”
The trip also marked the first time Store was on the ferry.
“It’s a lot nicer than I thought,” said Store. “Knowing that you’re taking all of your vehicles on it, I didn’t expect to be able to see screens (televisions) for the people and dining room areas.
“I was expecting benches outside where you had to sit and if it was cold you were in trouble – this was certainly a nice surprise.”
Meanwhile, Mark King was traveling to Newfoundland from Belleville, Ont. King was born in Victoria Cove, N.L. and moved to Ontario to work for Black and Decker in 1966.
The 70-year-old was looking forward to visiting his home province and was greeted with a big surprise when he arrived at the Marine Atlantic terminal in North Sydney.
“I have relatives and sisters that still live in Newfoundland today and one of them surprised me and met me on the ferry – she knew we were going at this time and they happened to be over in Nova Scotia at that time and booked the same ferry ride with us,” said King.
“It was completely a surprise. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when we got to the terminal.”
With a blue sky and sun above, King was happy to have received good weather for traveling.
“We’ve gone across when it was a little rougher than this, especially when my kids were young,” said King. “They all got sick, but I was the only one that didn’t – I’ll never forget that.”
King’s original plan was to fly to Newfoundland, but those plans changed when his daughter, son-in-law and grandson decided to join he and his wife on the adventure.
“He (my son-in-law) is doing the driving,” laughed King. “I can sit back and relax and not have to drive... I couldn’t say no.”
Despite owning land in the province, King doesn’t see himself living in Newfoundland.
“All of our family is in Ontario now, so we’re sort of tied down now,” said King.
As for Huszar, although her heart will always be in Newfoundland, she too has no plans of moving home.
“I was sick in 2014 and the hospital in Corner Brook isn’t very good,” said Huszar.
“I had cancer, so if you have to go for treatments or anything, I’d have to go from Corner Brook to St. John’s and that isn’t a trip I want to make very often because it’s just too far.”
Tina Huszar, left, and husband Brian Store stand on the MV Highlanders deck during an Aug. 7 crossing between North Sydney and Port aux Basques, N.L. The couple were traveling to Newfoundland on vacation to visit Huszar’s step father and sister.