Ontario Tourism Blog

Exploring Eastern Ontario this summer

By Shari & Elisa Friday, April 21, 2017

Elvis Presley sang a song called ‘Go East, Young Man’ and it seems he really knew what he was talking about! Eastern Ontario has a fascinating ancestry with a lot of history to explore. Because Kingston was once the capital of the Province of Canada, it was and remains an important military installation. There are also hundreds of freshwater lakes, perfect for swimming, boating and whitewater rafting, and in recent years, an award-winning wine region has also developed.

 

History

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Europeans wanted a presence close to local Native populations to control trade, so they founded a French trading post & military fort known as “Cataraqui” in 1673.  After the British conquered New France, the village was renamed Kingston. United Empire Loyalists, refugees from the American Revolution, later settled in E Ontario, giving the area an Anglo-Saxon character, which was reinforced when Irish & Scottish Highlanders came seeking a better quality of life. Learn about early life in the region at Madonna House Pioneer Museum, Fort Wellington National Historic Site and Bellevue House National Historic Site and explore some other types of Military history at Military Communications & Electronics Museum & National Air Force Museum of Canada.

 

Outdoors

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Eastern Ontario is a gorgeous area, with Brockville, the 1000 Islands and loads of unspoiled wilderness, perfect for spending time outdoors. The region boasts thousands of kilometres of cycle routes, particularly in the Cornwall area which is host to 90 km of the famed Waterfront Trail that spans the entire region along the St. Lawrence River, and Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry. Prefer 4 legs instead of 2 wheels? How about a Horseback Riding Vacation? Horse Country Campground has 40 km of trails and can do romantic sunset rides all the way to 3 day city slicker adventures! Ontario also has also plenty of trails for those of you who like to keep both feet on the ground! Choose from shorter, easier walking trails to rugged hiking adventures. Get some exercise and fresh air or find one with a campground at the end and make it a getaway.

Boating

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With 1000 Islands as a signature feature of the area, you can’t visit Eastern Ontario without spending at least a little time on the water.  One of the best ways to explore the area is to take a boat cruise, many of which bring you up close to the famous Boldt and Singer Castles. Check out Gananoque Boat Line Ltd., 1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises –Brockville and 1000 Islands Rockport Cruises. You can also view the large number of shipwrecks in the region, either by diving (it is one of the world’s best fresh-water shipwreck diving destinations) or in a glass bottom boat. The zebra mussel, which has become a scourge in many areas, has had one beneficial outcome – they have cleaned the river so there is incredible clarity to see the shipwrecks below. Can’t get enough of the water? Kawartha Lakes is the Houseboat Capital of Ontario!

Events

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This region is all about celebrating! From Fairs, to Elvis, to Culture, to history, to food, you can go to an event or festival all year round. While we have loads more on our website and online event calendar , here are just a few that we wanted to point out: Trenton Scottish Irish Festival  – Sept 9-10, 2017; Belleville Waterfront & Ethnic Festival – July 6-9, 2017; 182nd Picton Fair -Prince Edward Cty-Sept 8-10, 2017; Glengarry Highland Games – Aug 4-5, 2017; Tweed Tribute to Elvis Festival – Aug 25-27, 2017; St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival – July 8-Aug 12, 2017. Take note of the dates and consider booking a trip to the area at that time. They all have drawn visitors to the region for years!

As you can see, Eastern Ontario has loads to offer! Nature, culture, adventures and wonderful people. Let us know what you think of this beautiful area of our Province.

Enjoy!

Shari & Elisa

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