Friday, August 26, 2005

Of Cherries and Ferries

I meant to blog about this but I never got around to it. Sunday P-Doug and I went down to Cherry Beach. It’s not a nude beach; it’s a “fabric” beach. Neither of us went down there really prepared; we were both just in shorts. P-Doug was even in sandals, which makes no sense to me on a beach… hey, if you won’t even go barefoot on a beach, give it up. :) But I’ll admit, the waterline is rocky, and we did wade in knee deep. The water was just perfect. I was wishing it was the nude beach; we could have gone right in.

Looking west down Cherry Beach

We watched some windsurfers… one guy with a green board and sail was just like lightning out there. I can only guess how fast he was going; from where we stood, it looked like 30 or 40 mph. He was leaving the rest in the old wet dust.

Panorama from the Eastern Channel

We wandered around a little, watched noisy habour cruisers come in and go out, sailboats skate around, and a huge lakeboat (think Edmund Fitzgerald) leave the port.

Lakeboat departing

I commented that it was too bad the ferry to Rochester wasn’t in so I could take shots for my friend who’d gone home just hours before. We went to the terminal and saw that the feds had spruced it up a little. Checked the schedule and realized the ferry would be in in about an hour. So, we decided to settle in and wait. She came in fast; about five minutes after we first saw her, she was in dock. The Spirit of Ontario, she’s called, after the lake Toronto and Rochester share.


The Cat and the City

The Spirit docking...

Maybe I shouldn’t be the one to say this out loud, but I’m puzzled by the ferry. In a reversal of the usual trend, it’s been a big deal in the States and nearly ignored in Canada: in Toronto, it barely got any notice. Rochester’s been pushing for it for a while; it’s been front page news there. When it went broke last year, the City of Rochester bought it and put it back in service. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why. I’m not trying to be jingoistic here when I say these things, just stating facts… Toronto is much larger than Rochester. The US dollar goes further here. There are more amenities, more shopping, major league sports, attractions, major festivals (Pride Parade, Caribanna)… for Rochester to forge a direct link to Toronto is, to my mind, open a vein in upstate NY and offer the blood to the GTA. This can’t be good for business in Rochester. While we were at the terminal, we overheard one of the workers say only 40-50 people each trip are Canadians heading to the States. Everyone else is an American coming here… to eat, shop, stay over, blow money… and then going home. How does this help Rochester? As P-Doug has pointed out to me a few times, has anyone seen any ads for Rochester on TV, billboards, on the radio here in the GTA? What is there to do in Rochester? The city fathers sure aren’t getting the word out to the Great White North. They’re not lighting any fires under us to get us to get on that thing southbound. Canadian dollars at par days at the malls, attractions, historical sites… something. But not a peep. How long can this last?


Polt said...

Regrading the ferry to Rochester, I don't know, but I might have an idea as to why Rochester is big on it. Not so much for the Canadians to come there, but more so for the Americans going to Toronto.

When we go,we drive up, which is through Buffalo, and around the lake on the QEW. We've talked about instead just dirving up to Rochester and taking the ferry over, cause it would be a shorter trip. (we haven't done so because we've heard it was in financail trouble and so on). But if we were going to do this, more than likely, we'd stay the night in Rochester and take the ferry in the morning. So, by keeping the ferry, perhaps Rochester is hoping to get people like us to come up spend money on hotels, food and the like before going to Toronto.

Like I said, I don't know, but that could be it.

Lone Primate said...

Hm. I never thought of that. I suppose it equates to selling (faster) access to Toronto to other people in the States, and making a commission. Perhaps there is method in the madness. Mind you, it amounts to eating Buffalo's lunch, and these days Buffalo sure needs it. Last I heard NYS had taken over the administration of the city. Not good news. :(

I think the one down side of taking the ferry is it dumps you right downtown, where parking's expensive and the driving is a whole lot of no fun. On the other hand, if that's where a person's heading anyway, I guess it beats that long haul around the whole western third of Lake Ontario, since you can just part and take the buses, streetcars, and the subway.

Lone Primate said...

Erm, for "part" above read "park". :)