Explore the wonderful urban-rural medley of Quinte West, where the bustling Bay of Quinte hub of Trenton (home of the country’s largest Forces base, and gateway to the historic Trent-Severn Waterway) gives way to the riverbends, rolling hills and rich farmlands surrounding the smaller centres of Frankford, Sidney and Murray. In the heart of the region, historic hamlets — Glen Ross, Glen Miller, Wallbridge, River Valley — weave a rural tapestry of century homes, country churches and village stores. To the east, hiking trails and spring-fed streams wind their way through the wooded ridges and sloping meadows of the Oak Hills, where remnants of weathered barns and old stone fences testify to the toil of Ontario’s earliest pioneers.
Combine a visit to the National Air Force Museum of Canada with a look at the busy operational airfield of one of the country’s main military nerve centres. Situated just east of downtown Trenton, the Museum is located on the bayshore grounds of Canadian Forces Base Trenton, well-known site of Canada’s military repatriation ceremonies, and the starting point for Ontario’s Highway of Heroes.
The super-star of the National Air Force Museum’s vast collection is a rare, fully-restored Halifax Bomber. This legendary World War Two aircraft – one of only three remaining from the over 6,000 originally built – was recovered in 1995 from the bottom of a Norwegian lake. Other historic aircraft on display in the Museum’s 16 acre RCAF Memorial Airpark include a DC-3 Dakota and an F-86 Sabre dogfighter. Indoor displays feature thousands of military aviation artefacts and memorabilia dating to 1914, as well as a tribute area honouring military personnel.
Plan to take the whole family on this aviation adventure: Admission to the National Air Force Museum is free!
What will it be? A sailing tour of the coves and reaches of the beautiful, breezy Bay of Quinte, en route to (or from) Lake Ontario? A one of-a-kind yachting trip through the historic, circa 1882 limestone-lined Murray Canal, connecting the Bay of Quinte to Presqu’ile Bay at Brighton? Or a once-in-a-lifetime journey on the 386-kilometre Trent-Severn Waterway, through the spectacular series of locks, canals and lakes that begin in Quinte West and stretch north to Georgian Bay?
Quinte West is a major pleasure-boating axis, anchored by the busy port of Trenton on the Bay of Quinte (44° 5.36′: -77° 34.13′) with its downtown, full-service Fraser Park Marina. Trenton is the site of the first lock of the inland Trent-Severn Waterway: Stop here to get charts and passes, and view the full story of this fascinating National Historic Site of Canada. As you head north, you’ll pass through six more Quinte West lock sites (including the village of Frankford), and see the Trent and Crow rivers. A total of forty-five locks link the entire Waterway.
The big story in Quinte West fishing is walleye, and the biggest event–on the first weekend in May–is the annual Bay of Quinte Kiwanis Walleye World live release fishing derby. This famous charity extravaganza attracts thousands of anglers–some dropping their lines at the stroke of the derby’s midnight start–in a quest for trophy sizes and top-of-the-line prizes.
Can’t make it in May? The Bay of Quinte walleye season extends through the ice fishing season to February, and the larger watershed of Quinte West includes a wondrous web of rivers and streams. Fish for large and small mouth bass, northern pike, muskellunge, yellow perch, crappie and brown and rainbow trout.
Look for the elusive, torpedo-shaped, needle-nosed Gar Pike – you’ll find them in the Bay of Quinte and Trent-Severn Waterway!
With so much bayside, riverside and hillside exposure, Quinte West offers hoofers, hikers, cyclists–and mountain bikers–lots of fresh air options. A growing network of paved, multi-purpose paths connects the urban spaces of Trenton, and dozens of trails and Conservation Areas in outlying areas will take you into the heart of Quinte West’s woods and waterways. To get a good look at the lay of the land, head up to the Observation Deck of Mount Pelion in Trenton, or to the top of the Sager Conservation Area Lookout Tower, situated on an Oak Hills drumlin.
Take a short, path across Big Boulder Creek, off Hwy. 33 north of Trenton, to see the eye-popping Bleasdell Boulder. This “glacial erratic” is a massive metamorphic rock (13. 4 metres long, 7.3 metres wide, 6.7 metres high) that originated in northern Ontario and was transported by glacial action to its present site.
View the world’s largest realism pencil drawing, by local artist Doug Comeau, in the foyer of Quinte West’s City Hall (downtown Trenton).
Ski the steep slopes of the Batawa Ski Hill, in the community of Batawa, just north of Trenton. Now the hub of downhill skiing and snowboarding in the Quinte area, the Batawa Ski Hill was originally founded during Batawa’s days as a company town (Bata Shoes). Features a quad seat chair lift, ski rentals–and night skiing!
Looking for some high-spirited, toe-tapping entertainment? Try: