About Us

The County of Frontenac operates the Frontenac Howe Islander ferry. It provides a vital transportation link between the mainland and Howe Island in the Saint Lawrence River east of Kingston, Ontario.


A cable ferry has been in operation at the current ferry site since at least 1898.

There have been different ferries and different owners or operators at this location. Names of prior operators and owners are O’Brien’s and then Foley’s Ferries followed by Pickett’s Ferry, which was the last private ferry.

In 1949, Pickett’s Ferry came into existence with a three-car steel hulled ferry at the current location of the County Ferry at the foot of Howe Island Ferry Road, which is also known as Joyceville Side Road. This ferry was and still is known to some as Pitt’s ferry. The name was derived as the ferry operated in the old township of Pittsburgh.

In 1976, Pickett’s three-car ferry was replaced by a nine-car steel hulled ferry. The three-car ferry was delegated to the Township of Frontenac Islands and is operated at the eastern end of Howe Island. The nine-car ferry was owned by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communications and operated by Frontenac Management Board until 2004.

In 2004 the nine-car ferry was replaced by a 15-car ferry, owned by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and named Frontenac – Howe Islander. This ferry is currently crewed by Frontenac County.