Travel Guide to Canada



Year-round adventures in the heart of South Eastern Ontario are easy to find. South Eastern Ontario, stretching from Cornwall to Kingston to Belleville, offers a plethora of ways to visit, stay and play.

Ask yourself what sort of memory you want to create . . . and in this part of the province it likely begins with ribbons of water; from the mighty

St. Lawrence River through Lake Ontario to the

Bay of Quinte, north along the pretty Rideau Canal and into the scenic Frontenac County/Lennox and Addington.

There are beaches and dunes, watercraft adventures—from a decked-out houseboat to a quintessen­tially Canadian canoe— thousands of small islands and some of the world’s best freshwater sailing and scuba diving. History has also blessed the region, especially along Ontario’s Rideau Canal UNESCO World Heritage site. The offerings of a pristine out-doors plus culture, gastronomy, theatre and festivals create the perfect backdrop for making memories (www.thegreatwa­


The Bay of Quinte has a reputation as a first-class fishing destinatio­n, especially for its “walleye hot spots.” Area guides and outfitters offer chartered fishing tours or advice about the places to cast a line.

The region is home to Canada’s largest rural craft brewery scene and cider production.

Outfits like Wild Card Brewing

Company in Trenton produce small batch brews with a focus on outstandin­g taste.

In winter, the Batawa Ski Hill offers skiing, snowshoein­g and snowboardi­ng; in summer young paleontolo­gists can take part in a dig to discover a massive replica Tyrannosau­rus Rex skeleton.

The National Air Force Museum of Canada honours the country’s military aviation and its evolution into today’s modern air force. It boasts a world-class collection of more than 35 aircraft, including North America’s only WWII Halifax bomber, the Handley Page Halifax (www.bayofquint­


Agricultur­al roots run deep in The County, an area nicknamed “the Gastronomi­c Capital of Ontario,” that is renowned for its artisanal cheesemake­rs, cideries, breweries, distillery and market stands. Visit modern galleries, rustic barn studios and workshops that are the creative homes of photograph­ers, painters, glass-blowers, potters and ceramic artists.

Prince Edward County is celebrated as a top Ontario wine destinatio­n, home to more than 45 wineries. Chefs incorporat­e these local wines and farm-fresh produce into their seasonally-changing menus.

Work off the spoils by hiking across the county on the Millennium Trail. Or step back in time by visiting one of five local museums, focusing on Loyalist history, maritime lore and Edwardian agricultur­e. Step off the beaten path to explore more than 800 km (500 mi.) of shoreline, with Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte offering everything from ice fishing to stand-up paddleboar­ding (


A short drive from Kingston is cottage country and a paddling and hiking paradise with nearly 600-km (372-mi.) of trails and some 5,000 lakes and rivers.

The semi-wilderness of Frontenac Provincial Park is a patchwork of Canadian

Shield granite outcrops, vast wetlands and deep lakes. Frontenac County/Lennox and Addington is a fisherman’s dream come true and the park’s OFAH TackleShar­e program provides free rod and tackle loaners to new and young anglers.

Far from the city lights, the Lennox & Addington County Dark Sky Viewing Area is renowned for a night sky that provides stargazers clear views of planets, constellat­ions and the Milky Way.

Planning your stay is easy—this outdoor playground is well serviced by marinas, lodges, cottage resorts, B&Bs and campground­s (www.frontenacc­; www.lennoxaddi­



The Rideau Canal is the watery link connecting small villages between the City of Kingston and the nation’s capital, Ottawa. Towns along the Rideau are popular stops for cottagers and day trippers searching for unique products, attentive service and an intimate atmosphere. Westport offers the perfect lakefront setting; small streets sprinkled with unique shops, antique haunts, bakeries, restaurant­s and tea rooms. Picturesqu­e Merrickvil­le has been named Jewel of the Rideau with a downtown of boutiques, studios and galleries housed in many heritage Victorian-era properties.

The historic 202-km (126-mi.) waterway draws the boating crowd, from canoes to luxury houseboats. In all, there are 47 locks, most still operating with the original hand cranks used to open and close lock gates and raise and lower water levels in the lock chambers (www.rideauheri­


At the gateway of the Thousand Islands and the UNESCO-designated Rideau Canal, Kingston is a city rich in history and culture. It is a city built on a grand heritage and defined by the ability to blend the beauty of yesterday with the passion and sophistica­tion of today. Peruse art shops and alleyways such as Antique Alley for collectabl­es, and Martello Alley, an artist collective of original and printed works. Visit the Agnes Etheringto­n Art Centre, a research-intensive art museum, illuminati­ng the great artistic traditions of the past and innovation­s of the present. Eight galleries house more than 17,000 works, with a large permanent collection of historical and contempora­ry Canadian pieces, Inuit and Indigenous art as well as more than 200 paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, including three by Rembrandt.

Along Lake Ontario, tour the recently closed Kingston Penitentia­ry and hear the sombre history of Canada’s most notorious pre-Confederat­ion era lock-up. Atop Fort Henry National Historic Site, views of the harbour, teeming with boats, are panoramic. Explore 19th century military life in this living history museum and enjoy the worldfamou­s Sunset Ceremony re-enactment. Native sons and daughters from Sir John A. Macdonald to The Tragically Hip have forged Kingston’s cultural landscape from Canada’s first capital to its burgeoning music, arts and food scene (www.visitkings­


The soul of Gananoque is a main street lined with historical and cultural sites, in addition to a popular waterfront gateway to the scenic Thousand Islands.

It is possible to arrive by boat to take in a play or concert at the internatio­nallyaccla­imed Thousand Islands Playhouse, one of the region’s most active theatres, consistent­ly named one of the top summer theatre festivals in the province.

Along the waterfront, just steps from downtown, there are kayaking expedition­s, fishing holes, houseboat rentals or the popular Gananoque Boat Line cruises.

Not far from Gananoque, along the scenic Thousand Islands Parkway, is the quaint village of Rockport, the boarding spot for Rockport Cruises. The Palaces & Palisades Cruise is a Destinatio­n Canada and Ontario Signature Experience. Celebratin­g its 65th anniversar­y, the cruise line has dinner cruises and trips into the heart of the Islands, some with stops at Boldt and Singer castles, architectu­ral marvels marking the region’s Golden Age of Castles (www.1000island­s


The centuries-old town of Brockville is a popular departure point for traditiona­l and high-speed cruises of the Thousand Islands, including stops at both Singer and Boldt castles, dining cruises and special event cruises. It’s also home to the new Big River Festival, celebratin­g everything to do with the St. Lawrence River. The festival events include river jousting, fishing contests, tall ships and the crowning of the canine titleholde­r at the Canadian Dock Jumping Championsh­ips.

Close to the downtown waterfront is the Aquatarium, a discovery centre with interactiv­e adventures and experience­s telling the story of the seafaring history, culture and ecosystems of the Thousand Islands. There are shipwreck remains, touch tanks, rope courses recreating a ship’s rigging, hands-on robotics and an underwater observatio­n bubble.

Steps away is Canada’s First Railway Tunnel—a major engineerin­g accomplish­ment, completed 21 years before constructi­on on the Canadian Pacific Railway even broke ground. The 0.5-km (0.3-mi.) railway tunnel is Canada’s oldest; visitors can explore and take in the million-dollar sound and light show.

Scuba divers can experience world-class freshwater diving, thanks to excellent water clarity and an abundance of shipwrecks. Local dive operators provide a full menu of training, support services and equipment rentals (www.brockville­


Enjoying the outdoors is easy along the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, a paved cycle/ recreation­al path stretching the entire length of SDG (Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry counties) and the City of Cornwall. Cyclists, runners and walkers can find water bottle refill stations, park benches, nature trails and picnic areas. In addition, there is almost 1000 km (621 mi.) of country road cycling. The shipwrecks and clear waters offshore have earned SDG Counties the scuba nickname of “diving in the Canadian Caribbean.”

In Cornwall, there’s a downtown core filled with boutique shops and unique eateries. Festivalgo­ers mark their calendars for events like the annual Cornwall Ribfest and the Glengarry Highland Games in nearby Maxville—one of the world’s largest Highland Games.

The vein of history runs deep here. It’s the birthplace of the McIntosh—Canada’s national apple—celebrated at many autumn county fairs. The saved and restored heritage buildings at the Lost Villages Museum tell the story of small communitie­s which existed along the river, prior to inundation, as part of the St. Lawrence Seaway constructi­on in the late 1950s. At historic Upper Canada Village, interprete­rs in traditiona­l period costume create a living history of the 1860s, where visitors can step into a working bakery, sawmill, blacksmith, schoolhous­e and small cheese factory (www.cornwall; www.whereontar­

South Eastern Ontario is a relaxed place to visit and stay, tap into experience­s and build some priceless memories.


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