The Woodside Ferry Terminal has been under construction since 2019, and while it has been open to the public throughout the process, the facelift is finally complete. Before the official unveiling ceremony, which happens this afternoon (Nov. 16), The Coast went to Woodside to check it out.
Arriving at the terminal from the street, you’re greeted by a more streamlined, minimalist, box-shaped entryway than the quaint, house-like former, which is a preview of what’s to come inside. The interior of the terminal has been completely transformed: Everywhere you look are crisp, clean lines. The colour scheme is predominantly white, accented with black and light wood paneling. In the waiting area, populated by wooden cuboid benches, sits a piano. A sole occupant gently, hesitantly plunks out a tune. Bathed in Tuesday evening golden-hour glory, the renovated Woodside Terminal feels zen and modern, with a good measure of IKEA vibes sprinkled in.
The renovations are not just cosmetic. The terminal boasts two new escalators, which were open and running for the first time Tuesday. One commuter gasped in awe at the sight. Another feature is the washroom area, and its new single-stall, gender neutral bathrooms with real doors with real hinges that close. The space does give off a little bit of bunker energy, but the accessibility and privacy outweigh the aesthetic shortcomings.
As for the less visible updates, the terminal boasts new mechanical, electrical, security and communications systems. And according to the HRM, the terminal is now one of the city’s most energy efficient buildings and will save about $60,000 a year in energy costs, as well as the first Halifax Transit facility to meet the city’s new universal accessibility standards.
The Woodside Ferry Terminal renovations were led by Abbott Brown Architects, the same team behind the new Alderney Landing lobby at the other ferry terminal on the Dartmouth side of Halifax Harbour. Building tenders were awarded to Bird Construction, RoMac Construction and ThyssenKrupp. The budget for the project was $10.5 million.
Albert Bondarenko, who commutes to Woodside every day to study aviation engineering at NSCC, thinks the updated terminal is worth every penny. The Coast caught him on the ferry back to Halifax. “They spent money the way it is supposed to be spent,” he says. “I see a lot in Halifax being done for rich people; I’d like to see as much done for the public.”
Bondarenko says the folks behind the renovation “should be given 10 out of 10,” and praises their embrace of functionalism: An efficient building that serves its purpose without being too flashy or expensive. He adds that beautiful new buildings like this will inspire the next generation of Haligonians to build and create. “My opinion is only positive,” he says. “The terminal looks modern and that’s what people want to see.”
You can go to the unveiling ceremony from 3-4pm on Wednesday, Nov. 16, or visit the terminal any weekday—it’s open for ferry rides to Halifax from 6:30am to 9pm Monday to Friday.