||BC Ferries started out with two ships, two
terminals, and around 200 employees.|
Today, BC Ferries
has 36 vessels, and up to 47 destinations. Schedules include
frequent, year-round sailings to some of the most fun, fascinating
and often remote corners of the coast. The staff complement now
exceeds 4700 in the summer months, and their commitment to customer
safety and service has never been stronger.
These web pages give you a quick look at our history. You'll read
about why BC Ferries was established, and how, with plenty of
hard work and a pioneering spirit, our people have met the challenge
of an ever-increasing demand for service.
We hope you'll
enjoy this story of how one of the largest, most sophisticated ferry
systems in the world came to be. Please contact us if you have
anything you think we should add. We'd particularly like to hear
from you with stories of your first experience with
In the meantime, read on and enjoy a ride
through 40 years of coastal service!
Ferry service on the west coast of British Columbia has
a long and proud maritime history.
A spirit of free
enterprise was present at the start, with the Hudson's Bay Company
as the early pioneer of regular passenger and freight service
between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland in the mid 1800's.
By 1901, Canadian Pacific Railway had taken over ferry service
across the Strait of Georgia and continued transporting passengers
and vehicles on a five-hour journey between downtown Vancouver and
downtown Victoria until the 1960's.
Further north, the Black
Ball Line had arrived on the scene in the early 1950's to offer
service between Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver and Departure Bay in
Nanaimo, as well as to the Sunshine Coast and Jervis Inlet south of
Powell River. The company had been established by Captain Alexander
Marshall Peabody, whose family's Puget Sound Navigation Company was
a key player in the development of British Columbia
Recognizing the need for continued reliable ferry
service on the West Coast in the late 1950's, Premier W.A.C. Bennett
announced on July 18, 1958, that the British Columbia Ferry
Authority would take over service under mandate from the provincial