Know What’s Happening in The Great Waterway.
*Listings last updated 6/26/2017.
*Listings last updated 6/26/2017.
Oh yes, my friends! Time for another Instagram photo challenge post! This has to be one of my favourite things about this job. Every two weeks I put out a new #PhotoChallenge to our amazing community via Instagram – and each time I am absolutely blown away by the response. [Read more…]
Tents, sleeping bags, S’mores, and freaky ghost stories by a crackling fire. They’re all synonymous with a cultural phenomenon that has lasted centuries. Well, maybe it’s more like several millennia. [Read more…]
Canada turns 150 in 2017, and to help you celebrate in South Eastern Ontario, here’s a handy list of Canada-themed events happening in the region throughout the year. Check back often because we’ll keep adding to this list.
Parks Canada is throwing down the welcome mat with free admission to all of its properties all year long (with a free Discovery Pass). In Southeastern Ontario that means unfettered access to over 10 national parks and historic sites, including Thousand Islands National Park and the Rideau Canal, where lock fees will be waived.
With Fort Wellington, over 75 historic homes and sites, and the St. Lawrence at its doorstep, Prescott definitely has a few stories to tell about the impact it’s had on Canada. Read, listen to and watch close to 100 of them at the public library, where volunteers have been collecting tales about all aspects of life in the over 200-year-old town.
Take a culinary trip across Canada with The Drake Devonshire as your guide. Every Sunday until Canada Day this gorgeous, award-winning resto on the banks of Lake Ontario will feature a unique heritage dinner inspired by the food and drink of different areas in the country. Each month the $35 menu will be inspired by a different province, territory or region.
The city of Quinte West isn’t settling for just one day of partying. They’re planning a week-long multicultural bash leading up to Canada Day that’ll include daily celebrations. Details are still being set, but events could include a Francophone music festival, an Aboriginal art festival, an Oktoberfest celebration, a Celtic picnic, and an Italian and Greek food fest.
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will be in Canada to help celebrate our 150th, and they’ve chosen Prince Edward County as one of their destinations during their three-day visit. Arriving at CFB Trenton, they’ll make their way to the Wellington Farmers’ Market for an event that will be open to the public.
Plans are still in the works for Canada Day festivities across southeastern Ontario, but since a 150th birthday only comes around once, you can count on each community truly bringing it this year. Canada’s first capital, Kingston, will host the biggest bash, but almost every other community in the region will celebrate, too. Stay tuned to our events page, thegreatwaterway.com/events, for details.
This month-and-a-half long celebration of Canada will feature a documentary photography exhibition; four Saturday night shows focussing on the sights, sounds and food of a different region; and regular photography workshops and outings.
Offered on Saturday evenings in July and August, this immersive family-friendly theatre experience will use the historical backdrop of Upper Canada Village to explore the issues and changes about to come with Confederation.
Prices: Not yet set
The curators of the Brockville Public Library’s art gallery have invited artists to submit works that celebrate Canada’s 150th. Submission will be exhibited throughout July and August, and winners will be chosen by people’s choice ballots. Winners announced July 31st.
Voted one of the top 100 festivals in Ontario, and it’s easy to see why: four days of midway, food from all over the world, adventure sports (zip line or parasailing, anyone?), laser tag, family fishing, a vendor exhibition and even a dog-jumping show. This year, special Canada 150 events will include ParticipACTION Sports Expo and Canada 150 Sesqui Celebration, which is a revolutionary 360° cinematic experience touring all over Canada.
From June 30 to August 20, more than 40 tall ships will sail Canadian waters to honour the country’s 150th. Scheduled to stop in the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario, the fleet will make its southeastern Ontario port of call in the historic village of Bath. Head to the waterfront and tour these majestic cathedrals of the sea for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see history up close.
This community talking circle, co-designed with community partners and Indigenous leaders, will be an open discussion on the theme of reconciliation. The intent is to increase our overall cultural competence around Indigenous issues, building on what residents know, how residents feel and how well residents put this knowledge into practice. Additional talking circles will happen throughout the year.
Part of the Kemptville Live Music Festival, this special culinary event will celebrate the bounty Eastern Ontario has been bringing to Canada for 150 years. The centrepiece will be a farmers’ market with over 60 vendors, but there will also be food and drink tastings, exhibits from local artisans, and live music to keep you moving.
Canada’s rail system is like its backbone, connecting communities all across this great land, so it’s fitting that Brockville, home to Canada’s first railway tunnel, will honour it at this special four-day fest. The centrepiece will be the grand re-opening of the tunnel underneath downtown, but there will also be a vintage carnival, a sideshow and even a 5K run.
After a 2016 hiatus, the Wolfe Island Music Festival returns this year. And thank goodness. Where else in the country can you take a 20-minute ferry to an intimate island festival featuring some of the biggest names in Canadian indie music? The headliners this year include Born Ruffians, Land of Talk, Hannah Georgas, Said the Whale, Dilly Dally and Donovan Woods.
Price: $95 – $150
Take a ride in an illuminated dragon boat on the Rideau Canal, get enveloped by the Northern Lights and take in 90 other breathtaking scenes in this 20-minute immersive film experience. Featuring scenes shot in every province and territory and over 380 on-screen performers, this visually stunning journey will show you Canada from a whole new perspective.
Travelling to schools and science centres across the country, this Signature Canada 150 event is all about channeling that inner innovator in all of us. Think immersive, hands-on displays about everything from the world’s largest science experiments to changing ideas about our universe to stories of Canada’s past.
Join thousands of spectators for an unforgettable evening of free entertainment outside on the grounds at the Lennox & Addington County Court House in Napanee. On Saturday, August 19th at 7pm, you’ll hear a live performance from headliner The Irish Descendants, as well as from 70’s Revolution featuring Andrew Martin, and Sol & the Switchblades. Circus Orange will also be on hand for an amazing aerial performance. More details at www.County150.ca.
Take a Canada themed road tour through South Frontenac, where locations in each of the four districts will feature special events devoted to a particular province. Locations will include hidden gems, like the train track park in Battersea, Fermoy Hall in Bedford, as well as more well-known venues such as the Point in Sydenham and rally headquarters at Centennial Park in Harrowsmith. Exact date not yet available.
Throughout 2017, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is partnering with orchestras and ensembles across the country for a special pan-Canadian celebration. Over 40 new works — including two-minute pieces called “Sesquies” — will be co-commissioned and presented from coast to coast to coast. Kingston location and concert details not yet available.
Price: Not Yet Available
This Canada-wide portrait competition showcases the work of 30 contemporary artists. Open to any Canadian artist who depicts a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant, the juried prize is partially meant to develop an historical record of Canadians by Canadians. The winner receives $20,000, and the exhibition of the 30 finalists will be held at two venues: the Firehall Theatre in Gananoque and the Peel Art Gallery in Brampton.
We’ll keep adding to this list all year, so stay up to date on Canada 150 events in southeastern Ontario by bookmarking this page. In the meantime, head over to our events page for even more things to do.
See More Events In The Great Waterway
Confession time: I love food. There. It feels better getting that out in the open. Then again, who doesn’t? Here in South Eastern Ontario, there is an incredible selection of places to eat from casual settings to fine dining venues that are fit for royalty. [Read more…]
In light of last week’s seemingly endless rainfall, I was inspired to try and make the best of an otherwise dreary forecast for South Eastern Ontario. When it came time to launch the latest Instagram photo challenge – I asked our wonderful community to get out there and capture some creative #RainyDay images and tag us in their journies.
Well, once again, the #GreatWaterway community answered the call! I was amazed at the variety of stunning moments you all captured. Everything from wildlife, to intricate moments in time that exposes the underlying beauty surrounding us.
It just goes to show, that while water levels are rising, basements are flooding, and sandbags are being piled up against the torrent – we can always find that metaphoric high ground together.
Thanks again for playing along with our latest #photochallenge! Without further delay, here are our favourite posts! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and share your stories with us by tagging: #GreatWaterway!
A post shared by Peter Johnston (@skicarvin) on
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Rain on the water creates tiny splashes and ripples just like creative ideas in our head. . . . . . . #nature #naturephotography #nature_perfection #water #rain #waves #lakeontario #greatwaterway #kingstonontario #exploretocreate #perspective #chasinglight #artofvisuals #visualsoflife #kingston_on #vscogood #ig_captures #creativity #minimalism #ygk #moodygrams #rain #moody #agameoftones #illgrammers #killeverygram #heatercentral #monochrome #texture #contrast #igtones
A post shared by Brian Chard (@briantchard) on
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If your going to get #wet you might as well get #wetnwild lol #kids #children #photography #son #myboy #greatwaterway #quintewest #bayofquinte #rainyday #rainy #photochallenge #mayshowers #ontario #discoverON #puddlejumper #playing #pureontario #homegrown #splash #canon_photos #canon70d #toddler #waterplay
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It’s a great day for ducks! . . . #gananoque #1000islands #thousandislands #ducks #river #stlawrenceriver #ontario #canada #ig_canada #ig_shotz #ig_great_shots_canada #greatwaterway #ontariotourism #instapic #insta #may #travelON #travel #welcome @greatwaterway @station14kingston @weathernetwork
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Rainy day walks ☔✨ . . . . . . . #pink #umbrella #penniesfromheaven #rain #queensu #ygk #exploreygk #exploreON #kingston_on #downtownkingston #photography #photographer #view #sky #architecture #campus #rain #greatwaterway #photogram #instadaily #kingstoncanada #colorstudy #photooftheday #summer #travel #archilovers #wanderlust #architexture #rainyday
A post shared by Daisy Barrette (@daisybarrette) on
Water level is a bit high…🚁 . . . . . #discoverON #1000islands #kouriskopters #gananoque #greatwaterway #1000islandsair #travel #Canada #robinson #r44 #fly1000islands #CanadianExperience #ygk #TravelOntario #travelgram #helitour #helicopter #Canada150 #islandlife #stlawrence #boldtcastle
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What’s the best way to shake off the doldrums of winter? Skydiving, of course, or zip-lining, or scuba diving. Or all of these 10 ways to raise your heart rate, each of which you’ll find right here in South Eastern Ontario.
Unleash your inner ape at one of the largest zip line and treetop adventure courses in North America. Whatever your age or perceived ability, you’ll find multiple ways to get your adrenaline pumping here. The eight zip line canopy tour, for instance, takes you through the treetops, over a limestone cliff face and 70 feet over the Jones Creek Marsh. The adventure courses lead you through bridges, swings, nets and zip lines as you move from one treetop platform to the next. And the Treewalk Village is a series of treehouses connected with elevated walkways. This is also home to the first permanent accessible zip line in Canada for those with special needs. Check out this Great Waterway story for 8 things to know before you go.
1278 Thousand Islands Parkway, Mallorytown
It’ll be tough to find a more adrenaline-pumping experience in the region than this one. And since Skydive Gananoque has been around since 1971, you can be sure these folks not only know how to make it a memorable experience but a safe one, too, whether it’s your first time throwing yourself out of a plane or your thousandth. Plus, since you’ll be free-falling high above Gananoque, you’ll get one of the two best views of the Thousand Islands. The motto here: “We believe that jumping out of an airplane isn’t just about throwing yourself at a planet; it’s about being part of a society that doesn’t back down when they call us crazy.” So go on, be crazy.
258 Airport Road, Gananoque
The other way to get the best views of the Thousand Islands is to take a helicopter tour. And at this operator just north of Gananoque, you have five choices: a 10-minute 1000 Islands Tour, a 20-minute Boldt Castle Tour, a 30-minute Two-castle Tour, a 30-minute Kingston Tour and a 1-hour The Works Tour. They’re all private and they’re the only way to truly get a sense of the size and the beauty of this 1864-island archipelago. You’ll also quickly see why this area is one of the continent’s most biodiverse. Minimum 2 passengers for dispatch. Maximum helicopter capacity is 3 passengers.
88 County Road 32, Leads & Thousand Islands (Gananoque)
This is your spot if your idea of adventure is climbing down through a hole in the earth and investigating an underground cave. Millions of years ago the Salmon River flowed through this area about a half hour north of Kingston. It carved the limestone into overhanging ledges, mushroom-shaped rocks, caves, gullies, potholes and sinkholes. It’s one of the most unique geological areas in Eastern Ontario, and because it’s now empty of water, you can explore it on the 3.2 kilometre trail here. Your journey will take you over a natural stone bridge, through a mini rainforest, across a gorge and down into “Hell Hole Cave,” which requires a 7.5-metre descent and a flashlight.
The customizable race track at this gearhead’s nirvana east of Belleville has hosted some exceptional car, kart and motorcycle races over the years. And sure, you can go just to watch the races. But you can burn some rubber too. There’s a one-day high performance driving school for novices run throughout the summer, for instance, and there’s a more advanced car racing school as well. You can also book the track for private use. If you get hungry, pull up a seat at the on-site restaurant, Papa’s Kitchen, for sandwiches and off-the-grill food.
7047 Old Highway 2, Shannoville
It’s hard to beat the 1000 Islands when it comes to freshwater scuba diving. The waters in the Saint Lawrence River here are so clear divers can usually see 50 to 60 feet in front of them most of the year (60 to 100 feet in the fall). And what they’ll usually see is rich wildlife and the final home for ships from all over the world. Over 200 shipwrecks lie below the surface, some from the 19th century. No wonder scuba divers in the know call this place the “Caribbean of the North.” Check out my guide to scuba diving in the Thousand Islands for rentals, service, courses, charters and more.
You won’t find a better paintball park between Ottawa and Montreal than this one in Lancaster, which is about 20 minutes east of Cornwall. There are six distinct playing zones on the property, each with names like “Ewok Village,” “D-Day” and “Field of Screams.” They feature bunkers, foxholes, forts, a castle, trenches and bridges connecting the different zones. There are also two dense forests on the property. When you’re shot dead, head back to base camp where there’s a bathroom, barbecue, picnic tables and a viewing area to see who else gets painted up. Equipment rentals are available, as are plenty of paintballs.
6080 1st Line Road, Lancaster
Let’s face it: a meandering, peaceful cruise isn’t for everyone. Sometimes you just want the captain to put the throttle down. If that sounds like you, pick either of the WildCat Cruises offered by 1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises. The 2-hour “Castle Prowler AdrenIsland” cruise covers 48 miles and features views of Boldt and Singer Castles and three lighthouses. The 1-hour “Single Castle Express” travels 24 miles of the islands and offers up views of Singer Castle and historic Crossover Island Lighthouse. Both happen in a 54-passenger high-speed catamaran that moves at an average speed of 36 to 38 miles per hour — which is definitely fast enough to blow your hair back, by the way.
30 Block House Island Parkway, Brockville
What was once the boiler room for a 19th-century woollen mill is now a state-of-the art climbing gym with Canada’s highest indoor ascent. If the 100-foot chimney climb sounds like too much, though, find your wall in one of two rooms, where there are 40 ropes and over 80 climbs to choose from whatever your skill level. There is also a new bouldering structure with a 17 degree wall, a 53 degree wall, an overhanging arête and a top out option for members. Beginner and advanced lessons and programs are available, as are change rooms, showers, lockers, equipment, and snacks and drinks. Open seven days a week.
4 Cataraqui Street, Suite 103, Kingston
Canada turns 150 this year, and what better way to celebrate than hiking 150 kilometres of the Rideau Trail? If you walk that many klicks of the 300-plus kilometre trail this year, you’ll get a free one-year membership to the Rideau Trail Association and a special commemorative badge. That membership will get you into special group hikes, discounts on gear from local outdoors shops, and association voting rights. The trail itself is the real reward, though. Stretching from Kingston to Ottawa, it meanders through farmland, forests, quaint villages and the rugged Canadian Shield. The hum of that natural and technological marvel that is the Rideau waterway is never far away. Trail difficulty: easy to difficult.
Head to The Great Waterway’s Adventure Tours page for even more ways to get your adrenaline pumping this summer!
As the damp rainy days of April give way to the lush emerald hues of May – we find ourselves at the dawn of South Eastern Ontario’s more beautiful (and delicious) time of year. May is a month filled with breathtaking blooms of flowers and blossoms that fill the air with a lively and luscious aroma.
Also upon the air is the scent of bar-b-q’s, smokehouses and an altogether sense of awareness that one is surrounded by a multitude of mouthwatering culinary experiences throughout The Great Waterway. [Read more…]
There’s nothing more cult-classic, and carnivorously comforting than sinking your teeth into the juicy bliss of an epic hamburger. I’m not talking about fast food here, but rather the experience of enjoying a master crafted burger from a wide range of fantastic pubs and unique restaurants, right here in South Eastern Ontario. [Read more…]
Add your Great Waterway adventures to our Instagram gallery by tagging them #GreatWaterway