Based on the Government of British Columbia's website there are a number of inland ferries that cross freshwater lakes and rivers in the province.

Do all of these ferries offer year round service?

How is that possible given that (non-moving) freshwater normally freezes in the Canadian winter?

  • 2
    Does it get cold enough for these lakes to freeze on a regular basis? Vancouver is more temperate than much of Canada, but I don't know about inland BC. Dec 12 '19 at 19:46

Like Mike Harris commented, inland B.C. surface lake water doesn't freeze in winter. I'll just canvass Francois and Kootenay Lakes that each have ferry. You can read about Upper Arrow Lake, home of Upper Arrow Lake Ferry.

Page 4 of the Kootenay Lake - BC Lake Stewardship Society PDF.

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Eddy Carmack, Svein Vagle, John Morrison, Bernard E Laval. Space-for-time proxy for climate change in deep lakes in the Canadian cordillera: Seasonality along a latitudinal climate gradient. Sep 2014.

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Mean temperature (near-surface — 120 m) in (a) Kootenay Lake, 1976 – 83 and (b) Quesnel Lake, 2002 – 2012. Dashed line on panels represents 4 °C, the temperature of maximum density.

Page 26 of Francois Lake Management Plan 2000.

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  • Ice has apparently formed on Kootenay Lake as recently as 2017, and extensive ice was not unheard of in past decades. The blog post I've linked to notes that water circulation has changed since the construction of dams in the area, making ice formation less frequent. Oct 1 '20 at 19:41
  • @MichaelSeifert's answer seems to contradict the presented thesis of "BC lakes don't freeze". Oct 2 '20 at 7:59
  • @JacobHorbulyk: Technically all of the ones I found cross rivers, not lakes. Also, they're "reaction ferries", which have no propulsion of their own and might be given more trouble by small amounts of ice. I don't think the two answers are necessarily inconsistent. Oct 2 '20 at 12:02

js4330o's answer has covered the larger lakes, but it's worth pointing out that not all of these ferries run year-round. The Big Bar Reaction Ferry and the Usk Reaction Ferry note specifically that they do not run when the water is "low or icy", running an aerial tramway (!) instead. The McClure Reaction Ferry also says "No service during high water or winter freeze up."

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