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Prince Edward County an island escape just east of Toronto

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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.

Waupoos Estates Winery
Waupoos Estates Winery

LIBATIONS EXTRAORDINAIRE

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.

Canoeing, Cruising Canoes
Canoeing, Cruising Canoes

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.

Wellington Museum
Wellington Museum

ARTISIC EXPRESSION

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.

Kinsip Distillery
Kinsip Distillery

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.

Painting at Point Petre
Painting at Point Petre

PAST SECRETS

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.

Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery
Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery

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

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Travel Ontario – Prince Edward County

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Travel Ontario – Prince Edward County

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Photography, courtesy of Prince Edward County

Prince Edward County is rich in artistic expression, pioneer museums, outdoor activities and gastronomic delights. An easy two hour drive from Toronto, this area includes the communities of Picton, Bloomfield and Wellington. Affectionately referred to as The County, there’s a definite atmosphere that distinguishes it from other destinations. This all-encompassing island offers up a host of experiences, including hiking, cycling, wine touring (and tasting), camping, boating, museums and culinary dining adventures.

Historical Reflections

Prince Edward County was founded by Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe in 1792, and was named ather the fourth son of King George III – Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent. Visitors can connect with The County’s historical roots by visiting one of several museums in the area.

The Wellington Heritage Museum is a Quaker Meeting House that dates back to 1885. The Quakers played a key role in the County’s development. Due to the temperate climate of The County, growing produce has always been a key ingredient to the area. At one time there were 75 canning factories in PEC, which is highlighted in the Douglas A. Crawford Collection.

The Rose House Museum, dating to the early 1800s, was settled by several generations of the Rose family, who were amongst the first Marysburgh settlers.

Ameliasburgh Heritage Village dates back to 1868, and showcases a museum, a log cabin, an operational blacksmith shop, a sap shanty, a dairy and beekeeping buildings, along with the Goldie Corliss 18 foot flywheel steam engine. When it’s time for a mid-afternoon break, visit a village highlight – Amelia’s Tea Room.

Reverend William Macaulay was the son of a United Empire Loyalist, who donated most of the land for the town that he personally named Picton. As part of Macaulay Heritage Park, you can visit the Macaulay House that was built in 1830, as well as the Heritage Garden and the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, which is now a museum.

The Mariners Park Museum features a unique collection of treasures salvaged from the shipwrecks that the roiling waters surrounding Prince Edward County fostered.

One of many art studios

Ameliasburgh Heritage Village

On-tap craft beers are a County favourite.

A Birder’s Paradise

Point Petre Wildlife Conservation Area is known to birders as one of Canada’s best birding sight areas. It’s an important stopover for black ducks, wood ducks, lesser and greater scaups, blue and green-winged teals, hooded mergansers, and buffleheads. It’s also a great area for picnics, swimming and watching the sun set.

The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, (PEPtBO), is a bird migration station that bands up to 15,000 birds of more than 120 species each year. The Observatory is open to visitors during the the spring and fall.

Bird House City encompasses 100 miniature reproductions of local buildings. Take a walk on 20 kilometres of maintained trails – ideal for hiking, biking and cross country skiing.

Culinary Arts

The County is garnering a highly respected reputation for their award winning vineyards, as well as craft beers and ciders. It’s the fastest growing wine region in Ontario, with close to 40 wineries, including Hillier Creek Estates & Winery, Waupoos Estates Winery and Sandbanks Estate Winery.

To complement your wine tasting, check out Picton’s Great Canadian Cheese Festival, (TGCCF). On June 3rd and 4th, you can taste test more than 150 varieties of milk cheeses from cows, sheeps, goats and water buffalos, in addition to artisan food products.

For a gastronomic treat, plan to attend one of Jamie Kennedy’s Saturday evening Dinner Series, which run from May 20th to October 7th, on his farm in Hillier. Kennedy, of JK Wine Bar, JK ROM, and Gilead Café + Wine Bar fame, offers up a feast of organic delights, sparkling wine and canapes in his rustic, renovated barn. Be sure to check out the cover story on Jamie Kennedy in the July/August issue of Active Life.

Saturday dinner series at Jamie Kennedy’s Hillier farm. Photo By: Jo Dickins

Bird migration observatory station. Photo By: Terry Sprague

Creative Pursuits

After an afternoon of imbibing, get some exercise on one of the many trails in The County. The 49-kilometre Millennium Trail starts in Carrying Place and winds throughout The County to Picton. Quinte Conservation Trails meander through the parks within the Quinte Conservation areas.

For a fun evening, check out the Regent Theatre, an intact Edwardian opera house that features free family movies on the last Sunday of each month.

Prince Edward County is a creative hotspot for artists of varied genres, including painters, textile artists, potters, jewelers, fashion and glass artisans. Visitors flock to the The Arts Trail, the PEC Studio Tour and the Barn Quilt Tour.

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