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On our return drive from Toronto to New Brunswick, we decided to get off the busy 401 superhighway near Trenton to see what the pace of life was like in Ontario on some of its less travelled roads. Our route very quickly took us out onto the large isthmus of Prince Edward County, which juts out into Lake Ontario and is joined to mainland by a narrow sliver of land. As we crossed this strip of land we were very surprised to suddenly find the Murray Canal, shown here, and even more surprised when the road gates came down just after we had crossed over!
This canal was built between 1882-89 to connect Presqu’ile Bay in the west with the Bay of Quinte in the east, allowing shipping traffic to cross the approximately 8-km (5-mile) land barrier here, saving them a much longer trip of 200-km (120-mi) if they had to try to navigate the shores of the isthmus.
We hopped out of the car for a better look as the road bed (supported by a steel bridge built in 1935) swung open in the 2nd photo and then started to close again (3rd photo). The gates and bridge were controlled by a man in the control building shown in the 4th photo, beside a sign saying that this canal is part of the 386-km Trent-Severn Waterway linking Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay (part of Lake Huron). Pleasure boats such as the ones we saw are the main users of the Murray Canal today because the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway changed the traffic patterns of the larger freighters.
Updated Sep 5, 2007
Address: 'Loyalist Parkway' Highway 33 south of Trenton
The Loyalist Parkway passes through many small communities along its route, going straight through on the main streets of places such as Wellington, Rosehall, Bloomfield, Picton, Glenora, Adolphustown, Sandhurst and Bath. As we drove along, we were impressed by the number of historic old buildings dating from the late 1700s and first half of the 1800s, as well as the numerous huge old oak, beech and elm trees lining the streets. The towns take obvious pride in their heritage and looked like they would be fun to explore if we had been able to make more time available.
Updated Aug 31, 2007
One of the most impressive sights of the whole trip was suddenly confronting Collins Bay Institution, a 485-cell medium security prison located on 800 acres of federal land beside Highway 33 as we crested a hill on our drive into the city from the west. This is often mistaken for Canada's oldest prison, Kingston Penitentiary built in 1835, and it is no wonder, since the area is home to nine correctional facilities of one kind or another! This one was built in 1929, makig it the second oldest federal institution for male offenders in the Ontario Region. The sudden view of the vivid roof and walls of its ornate entrance building, lit up before us by the west setting sun as they jutted up from the large treed estate, really caught our attention! At first I thought it must be some sort of cathedral or monastery and was amazed to find out this was, in fact, a federal prison!
Updated Nov 17, 2007
For $12, you can take a tour of historic Kingston aboard it's bright red trolley. The tour lasts about 50 minutes and will take you past the RMC, Bellevue House, the Kingston Penitentiaries and Fort Henry and more.
See the website for departure times.
Written Oct 6, 2004
Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald immigrated to Kingston from Glasgow, Scotland with his family at the age of five. He grew up in Kingston, and began training in the legal profession at the age 15. He set up practice here in 1835 and entered political life in 1843 and became Canada's first Prime Minister in 1867.
He died in Ottawa in 1891 following a stroke at the age of 76, but was returned to Kingston to rest in the family plot at the beautiful Cataraqui Cemetary. His grave is marked with a simple stone cross as he requested.
Updated Oct 26, 2004
Kingston's City Hall was completed in 1844 with the intention of housing Canada's National Parliament. However, by this time Kingston was no longer deemed the best position for Canada's capital city and the impressive building was instead used as the centre of municipal government in the City of Kingston.
You can take a free guided tour of the splendid interiors of the building from May 31 to Sept 18, Monday to Friday.
Written Oct 6, 2004
Address: 216 Ontario Street
The Pump House and steam Museum is very close to the Marine museum, close to the west end marina. It's worth a visit. Interesting machinery is displayed to the public showing how local people handled water with primitive, yet motorized engines.
The Pump House Steam Museum was abandoned for a long time before it was restored in 1973 by the City of Kingston.
Written Jul 11, 2003
Address: 55 Ontario Street, Kingston, Ontario. K7L 2Y2
Phone: 1 613 542 2261
The best way to really see and appreciate Kingston is to do it on foot. It's a lot of fun to walk down Princess Avenue and Ontario Street, and you can also improvise a self-guided tour of historic Kingston and Queen's University campus to admire the many 19th century limestone homes and the red brick Victorian architecture that are characteristic of this beautiful city.
Written Jul 29, 2004
Address: Downtown Kingston
If you are interested in life on the Great Lakes and the art of shipbuilding, then you would enjoy spending a few hours at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes. There are excellent artifacts on display here depicting the life of sailors and shipbuilders.
See the website for hours of operation and admission charges. The retired 3000 ton Coast Guard Icebreaker, the Alexander Henry is docked next to the museum and can also be toured.
Written Oct 26, 2004
Address: 55 Ontario Street
The Kingston haunted walk takes you on a 90-minute walking tour of historic Kingston. The tour guides, who wear cloaks and carry a lantern, are excellent! Groups walk from one haunted spot to the next, and actually get to stand right next to the haunted buildings as their guide relates really spooky stories. A really cool way to start the evening!
Written Jul 23, 2004
Address: 200 Ontario Street
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