Canada 150 – #7 – Rose Fortune.

Canada 150 - #7 - Fundy Rose.

I happened to be in Digby today while the ferry was in, so I took a photo. Then I thought about the name of the ferry, and thought this would be a good topic for my Canada 150 post today. I did not realize until a bit later, that this is Martin Luther King day, making my choice just that much better.

So back to the ferry. It is named the Fundy Rose, in part because of its route across the Bay of Fundy, and partly in honour of Rose Fortune. Rose Fortune was one of Annapolis Royal’s more notable residents, living and working here in the early 1800s. She was born into slavery in the States, reportedly arrived in Annapolis Royal when she was 10 and eventually ran a transport business in the Town as well as holding an unofficial post as “police officer”, the first female police officer in Canada. Rose’s transport business was carried on as a family business through subsequent generations, eventually named Lewis Transfer which operated until 1960. The last operator of Lewis Transfer was the father of none other than Daurene Lewis, who had a remarkable life in her own right, and the notable achievement of becoming the first black female Mayor in Canada when she was elected Mayor of Annapolis Royal in the 1980s.

From Rose Fortune through the generations to Daurene Lewis, this was a proud family with great strength of character. So I will close with a quote from Martin Luther King which relates well to this story:  “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” 

While I am sure this family was judged unfairly by the colour of their skin at times, their strength of character shone through.

For more on Rose Fortune’s story, visit this page on the Annapolis Heritage Society website.



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