Borden-Carleton: A city in Prince Edward Island

The Canadian province of Prince Edward Island has the town of Borden-Carleton. It is in Prince County, on the south shore, right next to the Northumberland Strait. Before it became a town, the villages of Carleton and Borden joined on April 12, 1995, to form the town. 

The town of Borden decided to become a community instead of a town because its tax base was going down since the Marine Atlantic ferry service was stopping and the Confederation Bridge was almost finished. At the end of July 2012, Borden-Carleton was made a town.

History of Borden Prince Edward Island, Canada

Borden started because Prince Edward Island needed a way to get to the rest of North America. Conversely, Carleton was a farming town to the north and west of the port.

The rise and fall of another close community during the First World War is linked to Borden's growth. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, a winter iceboat service went from Cape Traverse, which is nearby, to Cape Tormentine, New Brunswick. 

In the 1880s, the Prince Edward Island Railway made this business easier by connecting its mainline to the Cape Traverse wharf. The line ran from Emerald Junction to the wharf.

By the early 1900s, the federal government had to deal with an unreliable winter iceboat service. This was mostly because the Dominion had not promised to provide "continuous steamship service" under the Terms of Union for Prince Edward Island when the province joined Confederation in 1873. 

Because of this, the federal government stated in 1912 that it had ordered the SS Prince Edward Island, a custom-built railcar ferry, to be built at a shipyard in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Canadian Government Railways would run the new ferry, which later merged into the Canadian National Railways system. It would leave from a new year-round port to be built at Carleton Point, a few kilometers west of Cape Traverse. 

This was because the harbour at Cape Traverse wasn't fit for a deep-draft ship. It was getting muddy and needed to be dredged constantly, even though it was the most direct point on Prince Edward Island across from Cape Tormentine.

The SS Prince Edward Island arrived in the Northumberland Strait in 1915, early in the war. However, the port at Carleton Point had not yet been built, so the ship ran year-round services out of Charlottetown and Georgetown until the port at Carleton Point was ready.

Also, many people and tools were needed to build the port and change the Prince Edward Island Railway line from Emerald Junction to Cape Traverse.

These changes happened on land and in the water. Some prisoners of war from the Central Powers that Canada and the Allies had jailed in the Maritimes were used to build the railway. 

The ferry pier and dock at Carleton Point were built using a large Douglas Fir Gantry to sling armoured stone and pre-cast concrete caissons delivered by barge. 

Some of these caissons were salvaged from an old wharf in nearby Tidnish, Nova Scotia, that had been abandoned for a marine railway in the 1880s.

Early in 1917, the SS Prince Edward Island started regular service from the new pier, bringing both freight and passenger cars for the railway. 

In her first year, she made 506 trips to Cape Tormentine. In 1917, dozens of buildings and houses built in the port of Cape Traverse to the east were moved to the new port at Carleton Point by horse and sled across the winter sea ice. It was a beautiful sight. 

The part of the railway line that ran to Cape Traverse was left behind when the stretch to the new ferry port was finished.

The area was officially named the town of Borden in 1919. Its name comes from Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden, whose government chose Carleton Point as the site of the ferry port. The town name "Carleton" was kept for the area outside of Borden.

As more people used the boat system, Borden, or Port Borden as it was sometimes called, grew. In the 1920s, the Canadian National Railway (CNR) changed the SS Prince Edward Island so it could carry cars as well as train cars. 

This was done after the province legalized the use of cars. This led to better roads connecting to the port.

In 1931, the SS Charlottetown joined the SS Prince Edward Island to help with the growing number of people using the boat service by rail and car. 

Most people who worked at CNR's ferry and train yard in Borden lived in the town. The SS Charlottetown sank in 1941, leaving the now-obsolete SS Prince Edward Island as the only dedicated ferry ship for the rest of the Second World War. 

The SS Scotia or SS Scotia II provided short-term relief service from the Strait of Canso railcar ferry service.

When it was first built in 1947, the QSMV Abegweit was used for ferries. It did so until the 1950s, but it quickly became too small to handle the growing number of cars and trains. 

The Trans-Canada Highway was finished going across Prince Edward Island and the nearby Maritime provinces in the early 1960s. At the same time, Borden got a new boat in 1962 called the MV Confederation, which was only for cars. 

In the late 1960s, the number of cars on the road reached all-time highs. In 1968, CN stopped running passenger trains on PEI and switched the service to buses. 

CN also changed the layout of the ferry terminals and parking lots at Borden and Cape Tormentine to accommodate more cars and trucks. 

In Borden, part of the rail yard was used for this purpose because rail traffic was dropping, which meant that the town's original passenger station had to be torn down.

Different leaders had talked about replacing the ferry service with a permanent crossing all through the 20th century and even back to the late 1800s, before there was a ferry service. 

Early plans called for a railway tunnel to go under the Northumberland Strait, but the 1950s trend of building causeways and the progress of the Trans-Canada Highway changed these plans into ones that included both a causeway and a tunnel under a navigation channel for both road and rail traffic. 

Talks and plans were timed to coincide with federal elections. In 1965, work began on the land-based approach roads in New Brunswick and PEI for one proposal. 

However, all talk of a permanent crossing was put on hold after scientists said that a causeway would be bad for navigation and the environment. Instead, the federal government chose to make the current boat system bigger.

The MV Lucy Maude Montgomery, a temporary relief ship, went into service in the late 1960s and stayed in use for a few years. 

In 1968, the MV John Hamilton Grey, a much larger and more powerful icebreaking railcar ferry, also went into service, and after a record 51 years of service, the SS Prince Edward Island was taken out of service. 

New docks were built and orders placed for more fixed boats for the ferry service. The sister ships MV Holiday Island and MV Vacationland, went into service in 1971. In the years leading up to PEI's 100th anniversary in 1973, Borden's ferry system saw record traffic. 

After that, the MV Confederation and MV Lucy Maude Montgomery were sent to other services and no longer worked for Borden.

CN reorganized its ferry services in eastern Canada in 1977 and set up a separate operating business called CN Marine. 

The new company quickly ordered a brand-new ferry to replace the MV Abegweit, which was in service for 30 years that year. 

The new ship, which was first called MV Straitway but later changed to MV Abegweit because the old Abegweit was renamed MV Abby before it was retired, went into service in 1982 and was the biggest ferry to leave from Borden.

CN Marine changed its name to Marine Atlantic in 1986 to get rid of any ties to the railway business. At the same time, the federal government brought up the idea of a permanent crossing (called a "Fixed Link") to the mainland after getting several unsolicited offers. 

CN stopped running all of its train lines in Prince Edward Island on December 31, 1989. On December 28, the MV John Hamilton Grey took the last locomotives and cars off the Island. 

In the early 1990s, when the railroad stopped running and the yard was left empty, the western side of Borden turned into an industrial waste.

The Northumberland Strait Crossing Project, also known as the "Fixed Link," was supposed to be built in 1992. A Calgary company called Strait Crossing Incorporated (SCI) was chosen to build it. 

After several years, the old Borden Elementary School was replaced by the Amherst Cove Consolidated School on the northern edge of town. SCI was able to use the old school and did drill core sampling to find bridge pier places until 1993. 

It was bought in 1994, a farm on Amherst Head, just east of Borden, and a staging area was built there so that huge bridge parts could be built on land. 

A big pier was built into the port to make room for a heavy lift marine crane that would bring the parts across the Northumberland Strait to be put together. 

Between 1994 and 1996, over 5,000 workers moved to Borden, which had a population of only 800 people. This caused the town's economy to grow at a rate that had never been seen before.

Gilbert Bell was the mayor of Borden from 1959 to 1986, making him the person who held the job the longest.

Confederation Bridge Project

The project was called the Confederation Bridge, and it opened on May 31, 1997. After 70 years of daily service, the ferry service ended, and the boats were either sold or put to use on other services. The wharves, terminals, and other facilities on land were also taken down.

In the years after the Confederation Bridge was finished, many workers left Borden and the province, and some boat workers who had been fired or retired also moved away. 

There is now a tourist shopping center called "Gateway Village" on the land of the old railroad yard. It was built with "Fixed Link Adjustment Funds" from the federal government.

The money for the adjustments also paid for the growth of the town's industrial park to make room for new manufacturing interests. These days, most people who live in Borden work in the local service or manufacturing industries or in tourism. 

Some of the biggest companies that hire people are Master Packaging (a branch of J.D. Irving Limited), Silliker Glass (a supplier of glass and a fabricator of Kawneer aluminium), Confederation Cove Mussels, MacDougall Steel Erectors Inc., and Transcontinental Printing (a part of Transcontinental Media).

The Amherst Head staging area has been empty since SCI finished building the Confederation Bridge, and the government is still trying to find a new use for it.

Borden-Carleton Fire Department

The Borden-Carleton Fire Department was founded in 1929, but it was first known as the Borden Fire Department. Borden-Carleton, Cape Traverse, Augustine Cove, North Carleton, Searletown, Albany Corner, and Tryon are all places that the Fire Department serves. 

The Fire Department gets its money from the Town Council every year, usually about $50,000. Throughout the year, they also hold different events to help pay for new tools.

They have a fire station on Borden Avenue with four bays where they do their work. It was fixed up in 2015 to take over the space where the police department used to be in the same building. 

They have four trucks: a 2005 Ford F-650 Rescue Van, a 2004 GMC Pumper Truck, a 2002 Tanker Truck (that used to be a milk truck), and a 2014 Metalfab Pumper Truck. Fire Chief Shawn Jessome and Deputy Chief Larry Allen are in charge. 

There are 22 active firefighters and one current junior firefighter in the Fire Department. There is one Fire Chief, one Deputy Chief, three Captains, and seventeen firefighters on staff.

Borden-Carleton Police Department

For many years, the Town of Borden-Carleton had its own police team. In 2012, the council decided to end that service. This department has had many cars, including a Jeep and several Chevy Impalas. 

Near the end of the troops' time, they had marked and unmarked Chevy Impalas. Police Chief Jamie Fox ran the force for many years. Eventually, they shared a police chief with the town of Kensington.

The town had to pay more than $230,000 a year for the Department. The council thought this was too much, so they chose to hire a single RCMP officer instead, who would cost only $100,000.

Demographics In Borden Prince Edward Island, Canada

Statistics Canada's 2021 Census of Population found that 788 people lived in 324 of Borden-Carleton's 365 private homes, 8.8% more than the 724 people who lived there in 2016. In 2021, there were 60.9 people per km2 (157.7 people per sq mi) of land, which made up 12.94 km2 (5.00 sq mi).

Tourist Places In Borden Prince Edward Island, Canada

In Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island, Canada, there are several tourist attractions and places to explore:

Gateway Village: This is a must-visit spot as it is the entry point to the Confederation Bridge, which connects Prince Edward Island to the mainland. The village features shops, restaurants, and information about the bridge and the island.

Confederation Bridge: While technically not in Borden-Carleton, the Confederation Bridge is a major landmark and a marvel of engineering. Visitors can take scenic drives along the bridge or even participate in guided tours to learn about its construction and significance.

Borden-Carleton Museum: This small museum offers insights into the history and heritage of Borden-Carleton and the surrounding area. It's a great place to learn about the local culture, industries, and notable events.

PEI Seaglass Shanty: For those interested in unique crafts and local art, the PEI Seaglass Shanty is a charming stop. Here, you can find handmade jewelry, decor, and other items crafted from sea glass collected along the island's shores.

Beaches and Coastal Views: Borden-Carleton is situated on the southern coast of Prince Edward Island, offering access to beautiful beaches and stunning coastal views. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks along the shoreline, picnics, or even water activities like swimming and kayaking, weather permitting.

Local Dining: Borden-Carleton has several restaurants and eateries where visitors can sample delicious seafood dishes, traditional PEI cuisine, and other culinary delights. From cozy cafes to waterfront dining, something suits every taste.

Outdoor Activities: Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the countryside through hiking and cycling trails or enjoy fishing and boating excursions in nearby waters.

While Borden-Carleton may be a small community, it offers a range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy, making it a worthwhile stop for anyone exploring Prince Edward Island.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Borden, Prince Edward Island, Canada:

Q1. What is the history behind Borden-Carleton?

Borden-Carleton was formed on April 12, 1995, through the amalgamation of the villages of Carleton and Borden. The town's history is closely tied to its role as a transportation hub, particularly its connection to the mainland through the Confederation Bridge.

Q2. How did Borden-Carleton evolve over time?

Borden started as a vital transportation point, facilitating travel between Prince Edward Island and the rest of North America. With the establishment of ferry services and later the Confederation Bridge, the town's significance as a transportation hub continued to evolve.

Q3. What are the key attractions in Borden-Carleton?

Borden-Carleton offers various attractions for visitors, including Gateway Village, Confederation Bridge, Borden-Carleton Museum, PEI Seaglass Shanty, scenic beaches, local dining options, and outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing.

Q4. What is the significance of Gateway Village?

Gateway Village serves as the entry point to the Confederation Bridge and offers amenities such as shops, restaurants, and information about the bridge and the island. It's a popular stop for tourists crossing the bridge.

Q5. Can visitors learn about the history of Borden-Carleton at the museum?

Yes, the Borden-Carleton Museum provides insights into the town's history, culture, and industries. Visitors can explore exhibits showcasing local heritage and notable events.

Q6. Are there outdoor activities available in Borden-Carleton?

Yes, visitors can enjoy outdoor activities such as walking along the beaches, picnicking, swimming, kayaking, hiking, cycling, fishing, and boating in the surrounding area.

Q7. What dining options are available in Borden-Carleton?

Borden-Carleton offers several restaurants and eateries where visitors can enjoy seafood dishes, traditional PEI cuisine, and other culinary delights. From cozy cafes to waterfront dining, there's something to suit every taste.

Q8. How has Borden-Carleton's economy evolved over time?

Borden-Carleton's economy has transitioned from its historic role as a transportation hub to include industries such as manufacturing and tourism. Major employers include companies like Master Packaging, Silliker Glass, and Confederation Cove Mussels.

Q9. What are some notable landmarks related to Borden-Carleton's transportation history?

The SS Prince Edward Island, the Confederation Bridge, and the former ferry terminals are significant landmarks associated with Borden-Carleton's transportation history.

Q10. What is the population and demographic profile of Borden-Carleton?

According to the 2021 Census of Population, Borden-Carleton had a population of 788 people living in 365 private homes. The town's population has seen growth over the years, with various demographic changes reflecting its evolving economy and community dynamics.


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