It snakes across from the mainland to the land of red soil and green gables. It's an unlucky number of kilometres long from tip to tail. It cost a billion dollars to build, just slightly less than Mila Mulroney's shoe collection. It's absolutely free to cross (some restrictions apply, try to get back to New Brunswick for details). It's the Confederation Bridge and it's one of the seven engineering wonders of the modern world (Donald Trump's hair was bumped to number eight by the bridge. Mr. Trump's lawyers are considering an appeal).
You're not allowed to bike across the bridge from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island. You can't cross by foot either, so you must drive or be driven. There are signs along the bridge constantly reminding that you'll be shot if you drive 81 km/h or higher. You can't bungee jump off the Confederation Bridge, though at its highest elevation of sixty metres, it would be perfect. In New Zealand, they would have found a way to incorporate thrill seeking into the project. If you're driving a low slung car to the land of spuds, you'll barely be able to enjoy the view because of the concrete guardrails.
You'll need $42.50 to make the return trip across the bridge. This is a hardship for many people. Personally I've had to forego one last Cows ice cream or a coveted Anne of Green Gables trinket in order to afford the bridge toll. As you're driving back to New Brunswick, the picture province, be sure to enjoy the view but don't stop your car to take pictures or you'll end up doing time in Dorchester, Renous or Minto, assuming that you're not shot on the spot.
Note: there isn't a prison in Minto, but there is a Tim Horton's.
"Ian Varty, the jury has found you guilty. You're sentenced to life in Minto with no chance for a good cappuccino for fifteen years."
I like the Confederation Bridge immensely but it's not easy to have fun on it. The Starkey Bridge in Codys (N.B.) is way more fun. You can walk across it, or bike. You can climb it. You can jump in it (see image above). It's got a roof over its head! You can kayak under it or stand on its flanks and fish. It's one of 63 covered bridges in New Brunswick and it's an icon. It's also free, in both directions.
Covered bridges make New Brunswick a special place, much in the same way that the river ferries do. They make us jump for joy. I thank the New Brunswick government for seeing the value in the covered bridges, and for maintaining them. I do have two bones to pick, however:
1) Why are the river ferries not valued in the same way that covered bridges are? They're equally important to the rural aesthetic, general happiness and tourism.
2) What's a guy gotta do to bungee jump in this province?
I'm so disheartened that I feel like throwing myself off a tall bridge, except I'm not allowed to walk on it. I'd be shot for trying.