Almost 120 years after it first started taking horses across the Ottawa River, the Quyon Ferry is getting a makeover to ensure it can keep going.

There will be a new ferry connecting Fitzroy Harbour in west Ottawa to Quyon, Que., at a cost of $2.85 million, $1.6 million of that coming from the Quebec government.

The new, man-operated cable ferry will be electric, a welcome change at a time when diesel fuel costs continue to rise.

"We've crossed the parents, now their kids are crossing with their kids," said the ferry's owner Don McColgan. "The list just goes down the line."

"It's actually quite fun because you can see all the waves and you can see the great view from the water," said Lauren Kearnan.

The fact it will be able to take more than three times the vehicle traffic is a boost to the economy, said a local MP.

"The new ferry will take tractor trailers, farm equipment, whatever you want to cross the river," said Carleton-Mississippi Mills MP Gordon O'Connor. "It's going to be good for business. It's going to be good for tourism."

When the ferry started running in 1893 it cost 50 cents to bring two horses across, instead of the current eight dollars a car.

Frank O'Donnell's grandfather-in-law operated that first Quyon ferry and said he would be blown away by the changing technology.

"He'd be absolutely amazed, considering that first ferry was run by a couple of horses going around a turnstile," he said.

The new owners of the ferry said they hope to have it running by April of 2013, taking 168 cars across the river instead of the current 84.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua