Western New York Heritage

Niagara River Ferries - 1920s

Ferry service between the Buffalo and Fort Erie banks of the Niagara River dates back to 1796. Many settlers crossed into Canada from Buffalo via ferry.

Around 1900, the ferries were used most heavily during the racing season and holidays in the summer months. Above is the Newtown, ca. 1920, crossing the river from the Ferry Street landing to Bertie Street in Fort Erie .

The 20-minute trip regularly brought many Canadians to the American side for Friday night fish-fry, shopping along Grant Street, and Bisons baseball at Offerman stadium.

The Peace Bridge opened in 1927, but ferry service continued. Above is the largest of the ferries, the City of Toledo, capable of carrying 80 cars and hundreds of pedestrian passengers.

Despite the convenience of the bridge, many loyal ferry passengers continued to patronize the water crossing, and ferry service continued despite the drop in traffic during the years of WWII and a short season of July 1st - Labor Day.

The City of Toledo made its last trip in 1949, signalling the end of ferry service across the Niagara River. The photo shows the ferry off the Amherst Street landing c. 1940's. In the background is the Peace Bridge.

Map of ferry service routes, c. 1900.

Textual details for this page were taken from The Peace Bridge 1927-1977 and Reflections of the Past, by A. W. Spear.