The Oka Ferry runs between Hudson on the south shore of the Lake of Two Mountains and Oka on the north shore. Except for the introduction of two lane barges in the 1960's, it hasn't changed in over 50 years.
Cars drive down to the water and drive across two boards onto the open barges. Ferry personnel are on hand to guide drivers with hand signals to make sure the cars' tires stay on the boards as they drive up. Barges hold up to eight or ten cars and are pulled across the lake on ropes towed by old, open diesel power boats. The journey takes ten to fifteen minutes. When it reaches the other shore, the power boat performs an elaborate turn to get out of the way and haul backwards from the side while keeping the barge heading toward the dock and stopping the barge when it is in place. Cars are then guided back over two boards onto the beach on the other side. This quaint arrangement is one of the main draws for the service which sees long line-ups on summer weekends.
While the safety record of the ferry is excellent, Transport Canada doesn't approve of the equipment or the operating procedures. Partly as a result, there is an onging plan to modernize the ferry and replace the barges with modern, self-propelled ships. This will require the installation of a concrete dock on the Hudson side which Hudson has not yet approved..
The Oka Ferry leaves Hudson from 158 Main Road, just east of the corner with Bellevue. The ferry can be reached (450) 458-4732 and additional information can be found on the Oka Ferry website at traverseoka.qc.ca .