Prince Edward County an island escape just east of Toronto
Prince Edward County (PEC) is known as that special gem that sparkles with art, food, wine and beaches on Lake Ontario’s northeastern shore. Enterprising people, with creative sensibilities, have turned the County into a wonderful destination in which to live, and to visit.
The County is garnering a highly respected reputation for their award-winning wineries, craft beers and ciders. PEC received it’s DVA (Designated Viticultural Area) designation in 2007. Always known for the quality of its agricultural products, it’s now the fastest growing region in Ontario with more than 40 wineries in the area, including Hillier Creek Estates & Winery, Waupoos Estates Winery and Sandbanks Estate Winery.
At Kinsip House of Fine Spirits, sip from a wide range of offerings, and hangout at the farm with its heritage hops barn and funky chickens. The County Cider Company has some of the best views in the area, as well as some of the finest cider.
At Littlejohn Farm, you can book accommodation for a unique farm-stay experience. Wine tours and workshops are also available. You might want to try; Butchery and an Introduction to Charcuterie.
MAKING A SPLASH
This municipality in southern Ontario is best known for its beaches and towering limestone cliffs. Sandbanks Provincial Park is the most popular with its white sand beaches, sand dunes and clear blue water. North Beach Provincial Park is a smaller version, and there’s no overnight camping at this location.
Located in the heart of Wellington, is Wellington Rotary Public Beach. Here, parking is free and a boardwalk lines the beach.
Prince Edward County is a creative hotspot for artists of varied genres. Painters, potters, jewellers, textile and glass artisans are inspired by the County’s rolling countryside, sandy beaches, and verdant vineyards. Find one-of-a-kind art treasures on The Arts Trail, the PEC Studio Tour and the Barn Quilt Tour.
Visit the inspiring sculpture garden at Oeno Gallery. The Sybil Frank Gallery features fine art ranging from landscapes to contemporary pieces. Join a creative workshop or become an artist-in-residence at Spark Box Studio.
CALLING ALL BIRDERS
The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO) is a resting place for migratory birds working their way across Lake Ontario. The observatory is open to visitors in the spring and in the fall.
Point Petre Wildlife Conservation Area is also known as one of Canada’s best bird sighting areas.
Bird House City encompasses 100 miniature reproductions of local buildings. Take a walk on the 20 kilometres of maintained trails.
Historic walking tours of Picton are offered by History Lives Here Inc. The 1830 Macaulay House can be found in Macaulay Heritage Park, as well as the Church of St. Mary Magdalene (now a museum), and the beautiful Heritage Gardens. The home belonged to Reverend William Macaulay, son of a United Empire Loyalist, who donated most of the land on which Picton is now situated. A new escape room is to open soon at Macaulay House, and Graveyard & Gallow Tours are held at Macaulay Heritage Park during the summer months.
The Regent Theatre in Picton is a rare example of an Edwardian opera house. Toronto architects, Warrington and Page, transformed an 80-year old former warehouse into a movie theatre. It opened on November 2nd, 1918 and a ticket cost .25 cents. Further renovations made room for live theatre in 1922. Hard times led to the closure of The Regent in 1980, but it reopened in 1992 with a limited schedule. Major renovations in 2010 included an enhanced sound system, digital cinema and comfortable seating.
A FOODIE’S PARADISE
Flame + Smith, in Bloomfield, embraces the exciting art of wood-fire cooking. Stella’s Eatery and Jackson’s Falls are both Indigenous-inspired restaurants. Chef Chris Byrne and Tamara Segal host forage- and plantbased pop-ups throughout the year.
Take a self-guided Taste Trail tour of sustainable farms, wineries, cafes and restaurants. In celebration of fine dining with prix fixe menus, Countylicious is held in April and November.
Photography, courtesy of Prince Edward County