False Creek Ferries

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False Creek Ferries
LocaleGranville Island, Vancouver
WaterwayFalse Creek, English Bay
Transit typePassenger ferry
Water taxi
OwnerGranville Island Ferries Ltd.
OperatorFalse Creek Ferries
Began operation1982
System length2.1 nmi (3.9 km)
No. of lines4[1]
No. of vessels17[2][3]
No. of terminals9[1]
WebsiteGranville Island Ferries

False Creek Ferries, a division of Granville Island Ferries Ltd,[4] is a privately owned and operated ferry service that operates on False Creek near downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The False Creek Ferry fleet has grown from the four electric ferries that formed the company to a fleet that now consists of 15 ferries divided into three classes; the 20-passenger Balfry class, the 12-passenger Spirit class, and the open-deck Novel class. The service operates every day of the year, except Christmas Day and Boxing Day.


Ferry service on False Creek was established in 1981 by Brian and Laura Beesley from Granville Island using four electric ferries. The ferries were 18 feet long and powered by 36 volt electric motors. Six, 6 volt rechargeable deep cycle batteries supplied the fuel . They were originally named after the Beesley's relatives: Alice May, Iris Maud, Nora Eileen and Juanita Dee.[5] Although the original fleet has since been removed from regular service, three have found new life in differing capacities. The Alice May was renamed the Shelagh Mary and remains in the False Creek Ferries fleet as a crew launch. The Juanita Dee was sold & now operates out of the Ganges Marina on Saltspring Island as "The Queen of De Nile". The Iris Maud has been completely rebuilt and is now the private steam launch "Crouton" in Kelowna, BC.

In 1982, False Creek Ferry Ltd was sold to George McInnis and George Pratt who incorporated the company as Granville Island Ferries Ltd and operated it as False Creek Ferries.[5] The company began operations at the Aquatic Centre dock in the West End on August 1, 1983 with two newly commissioned 12-passenger ferries, "Spirit of False Creek 1" and "Spirit of False Creek 2", which were built using designs by Jay Benford. These were the first two vessels of Benford's Spirit class.[6] In 1984 the "Tymac II" was leased by False Creek Ferries for the newly created Maritime Museum run to Kitsilano pending completion of the remaining three Spirit class ferries, "Spirit of False Creek 3", "Spirit of False Creek 4" and "Spirit of False Creek 5".[7]

In 1985, George Pratt sold his share in Granville Island Ferries to George McInnis. Following George Pratt's departure from Granville Island Ferries, his son Geoff Pratt incorporated Aquabus Ferries Ltd to compete against Granville Island Ferries.[8]

The Fleet[edit]

Spirit of False Creek 5
Spirit of False Creek 3
Spirit of George McInnis, a Balfry class vessel
Spirit of George McInnis
  • The "Spirit Class" consists of seven 12-passenger ferries designed by marine architect Jay Benford.[9] The Spirit class has symmetrical superstructures that are 20 feet long with a beam of eight feet and a draft of two feet. Their hull speed is rated at six knots. Benford's 20-foot ferry design was intended for the False Creek Ferries and the ship of the line, the "Spirit of False Creek 1", was launched in 1982,[9] followed closely by her first sister ship, "Spirit of False Creek 2", both built by Paul Miller in Coal Harbour.[7] "Spirit of False Creek" 3, 4 & 5 were built by Independent Shipyards in Coombs, BC.[7] "Spirit of Cindy Lee" and "Spirit of Lil Bood" were built in Port Hueneme, California.
    • Spirit of False Creek 1
    • Spirit of False Creek 2
    • Spirit of False Creek 3
    • Spirit of False Creek 4
    • Spirit of False Creek 5
    • Spirit of Cindy Lee
    • Spirit of Lil Bood
  • The "Balfry Class" ferries are essentially enlarged versions of the Spirit class ferries. "Spirit of Cy Balfry", "Spirit of Nora O'Grady", "Spirit of George McInnis", and "TootSea" were built in 1989 in Port Hueneme, California by marine architect Bob Lyon at Harbour Hopper Ferries.[10] "Spirit of False Creek 10" was built in Richmond, BC in 2002. The two most recent additions to the fleet, "Spirit of Shelagh McInnis" and "Spirit of False Creek XVII", were built in 2018 by West Bay Marine of Delta, BC.
    • Spirit of Cy Balfry
    • Spirit of Nora O'Grady
    • Spirit of George McInnis
    • Spirit of False Creek 10
    • TootSea
    • Spirit of Shelagh McInnis
    • Spirit of False Creek XVII
  • The remaining three vessels in the fleet are open-deck boats referred to as "Novel Class": the converted commercial lifeboat "Spirit of Ned"; and the two converted Canadian Navy lifeboats "Stanley 1" and "Stanley 2".
    • Spirit of Ned
    • Stanley 1
    • Stanley 2
  • While no longer on the active roster, the "Shelagh Mary", one of the original electric boats, is retained as a crew launch and heritage vessel.

Stops and routes[edit]

Line Route Summer departure frequency Winter departure frequency
 1  Granville Island — Aquatic Centre 2 minutes 5 minutes
 2  Granville Island — Yaletown/Stamp's Landing 7 minutes 15 minutes
 3  Granville Island — Olympic Village/Science World 10 minutes 15 minutes
 4  Granville Island - Kitsilano/Maritime Museum 15 minutes 15 minutes
 5  Granville Island — David Lam 15 minutes 15 minutes
False Creek Ferries
Maritime Museum
False Creek
Aquatic Centre
False Creek
Granville Island
False Creek
David Lam Park
False Creek
Stamp's Landing
Spyglass Place
False Creek
Plaza of Nations
False Creek
Olympic Village/Science World

Routes operate between the following locations:

The stops are served by three routes. Passengers wishing to use multiple routes may purchase a through fare for transferring at either the Granville Island or Aquatic Centre hubs.

  • Blue Line (Granville Island - Aquatic Centre)
  • Red Line (Granville Island - David Lam Park - Stamp's Landing - Spyglass - Yaletown - Plaza of Nations - Olympic Village/Science World)
  • Yellow Line (Aquatic Centre - Maritime Museum)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Plan Your Trip". False Creek Ferries. FALSE CREEK FERRIES. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  2. ^ @FalseCreekFerry. Twitter https://twitter.com/FalseCreekFerry/status/1028057168547696640. Retrieved 29 August 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Our Story". False Creek Ferries. False Creek Ferries. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  4. ^ http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wyatt/alltime/vancouver-bc.html
  5. ^ a b Vancouver Courier, Vol. 74 No. 48. December 1st, 1982 Page 1, 7
  6. ^ "Granville Island Ferries Rent Review", City of Vancouver archives, February 6, 1997.
  7. ^ a b c Westcoast Mariner, August 1989
  8. ^ Parton, Nicole. "Battle of the ferries is a False Creek epic", Vancouver Sun, May 12, 1988, Page B-3.
  9. ^ a b http://www.benford.us/pdf/FerryYachts.pdf
  10. ^ http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/saf-sec-sur/4/vrqs-srib/d.aspx?lang=e&vesselid=50183

External links[edit]