UpChuck Furey's 1999 exercise in fed-bashing, "On Deck and Below", contained the following piece of sage advice in respect of the Marine Atlantic ferry routes across the Cabot Strait:
Beginning the tourism experience on the dock, and on the ferry, is important.Here are some more lasting impressions, this time of Labrador, aboard the provincially-run ferry service that is the Sir Robert Bond. This is the "craft shop":The crossing must be a pleasure trip. It should provide information and hospitality consistent with the brand image of the province and the country. The food, decor, entertainment, gifts and other items in the craft shop, as well as tourism information services, should whet the appetite for more uniquely Newfoundland and Labrador culture and experiences. One presenter referred to the ferry as the "province's biggest billboard." It is the traveller's first and often most lasting impression of the province.
Here's a lovely selection of postcards. Oddly, not one of them is identifiably of Labrador, although the berries or icebergs, one imagines, could be Labrador if you squint. They could also be Newfoundland, which is fair enough, perhaps, since one of the three ports the Bond sails into is in Newfoundland. Or, who knows, they could be Alaska, too:
Just visible in the bottom left corner is a cookbook, one of two books available for sale. The other is a self-published memoir of life in Newfoundland, inexplicably described in the price list as "novel". Apparently, no books have ever been published in or about Labrador, or perhaps they are no longer in print.
In the information department, here's the 1982-era Labrador travel map, which dates from just five years after the Bond was pressed into service on the Labrador route. It is still "informing" travellers of the impending completion, in 1983 through 1987, of the coastal Labrador airstrips. It also informs them that there is no highway connecting Labrador West to the Lake Melville area, nor any in coastal Labrador north of Red Bay. It's only 25 years out of date, which is not bad for Labrador, really:
And, of course, here's a sample of the lovely decor, busily whetting away the appetite for more of where that came from. Koyman's, perhaps. Or early Kincade:
So there you have it. Lasting impressions of Labrador alright, courtesy Coastal Labrador Marine.
Just imagine how much better the Marine Atlantic service would be, if it, too, were run by the provincial government or its contractors.