Episode 302: Ferry of Dreams

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Rochester’s fast ferry was brought to life by the private company Canadian American Transportation Systems, or CATS. From building and transporting the ship to funding the project, CATS experienced many setbacks. In this episode, we explore those setbacks, and how CATS came to navigate the treacherous waters of the ferry business. Destination: launch date.

Show notes


works cited

Brian Sharp. 2006. “Ferry Farewell.” Democrat and Chronicle, December 22, 2006. 

Dickens, Larry. 2006. Gone with the Breeze: A True Story about the Spirit of Ontario I. New York: Sulind Hill Press.

Jeff Bolichowski. 2013. “Could a Niagara-Toronto ferry work?” Toronto Sun, July 5, 2013. https://torontosun.com/2013/07/05/could-a-niagara-toronto-ferry-work/wcm/bf5656c2-7b46-4a84-af33-f9eb052857ac

Jeffrey Blackwell. 2002. “Ferry firm reveals top investors.” Democrat and Chronicle, November 14, 2002. Print.

Jeffrey Blackwell. 2002. “New impasse threatens fast-ferry launch.” Democrat and Chronicle, November 12, 2002. Print.

Michelle York. 2006. “After a Ferry Venture Fails, Criticism and Questions.” New York Times, August 21, 2006. https://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/21/nyregion/after-a-ferry-venture-fails-criticism-and-questions.html?searchResultPosition=2

New York. Comptroller’s Office, Alan G. Hevesi. 2006. “City of Rochester Involvement with the Fast Ferry Operation.”

Rick Armon. 2004. “Breeze will sail again, says fast-ferry founder.” Democrat and Chronicle, November 10, 2004. Print.

Rick Armon. 2004. “2 dealmakers sold a vision dark with flaws.” Democrat and Chronicle, November 14, 2004. Print.

Rick Armon and Joseph Spector. 2002. “Cash for fast ferry ready for release.” Democrat and Chronicle, October 18, 2002. Print.

Rick Armon and Joseph Spector. 2004. “Debt-laden ferry halts toronto runs for now.” Democrat and Chronicle, September 8, 2004. Print. 

Rick Armon and Lara Becker Liu. 2004. “Ferry Faces Weeks of Work.” Democrat and Chronicle, June 11, 2004. Print.

Smriti Jacob. 2004. “Fast Forward: Spirit of Ontario 1: Executive team merges talents to guide CATS.” Rochester Business Journal, June 11, 2004. https://rbj.net/2004/06/11/fast-forward-spirit-of-ontario-1-executive-team-merges-talents-to-guide-cats/

Steve Orr. 2019. “The full Monty: A timeline of our fast ferry’s checkered past.” Democrat and Chronicle, March 29, 2019. https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2019/03/29/rochester-ny-fast-ferry-history-timeline-spirit-of-ontario-venezuela/3308643002/


We would like to thank Melissa Mead and the University of Rochester Department of Rare Books and Special Collections for their assistance with research and contributions to this episode.

Cover photo courtesy of Rochester Beat

The coordinating producer for this season of HearUR is Liam Gousios. The executive producers are Thomas Fleischman and Stephen Roessner.

Music for this episode was created by Casey Brentnall. Our theme music is a cover of “Ferry Boat Serenade” by the Andrews Sisters and arranged by Eleanor Lenoe. Performers are Elizabeth Tighe, Lauren Bayles, Diarra Bell, and Eleanor Lenoe. Engineered by Ethan Weinstein.

Hear UR is made possible by the Teaching Innovation Grant at the University of Rochester.

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