The revitalized and historic town of Brockville (also known as ‘City of the 1000 Islands’) offers endless options of fun! From ziplining to an LED railway tunnel, this city is perfect for a solo trip or one with friends or family.
If you’re looking for a place to stay during your trip to Brockville, I recommend the Tall Ships Landing Coastal Resort. It’s a nautical-themed resort and the largest building in town by the water. The resort offers everything you could want and it’s all conveniently located within the building. There is a marina, gym, pool, restaurant, cafe, gift shop, Aquatarium, and of course boutique suites. Our room came with a large comfortable bed and a kitchenette, which came in handy over the two nights we were there. As comfortable as the room was, the view was the obvious highlight of the suite.
For dinner, we made our way downstairs to the pub, Moose McGuires. This pub also sticks to the nautical theme by offering incredible southern views of the harbour. Alex had the chicken caesar salad, and I had the BBQ Bacon burger which was topped with an onion ring. The price point didn’t break the bank but it did exceed my calorie intake for the day!
We quickly realized that the best way for us to get around Brockville was on foot. In the evening we walked through downtown, passing by historic sites and museums. Charming buildings in the downtown core reminded me of Europe. As we kept moving along, we came across Cowans Dairy. Suddenly, my eyes lit up and my appetite returned so we made our way inside. I got chocolate peanut butter and Alex got strawberry creamsicle, they were both phenomenal! Who doesn’t love ice cream in the summertime?
In the morning, we headed downtown to the Spitfire Cafe, a fun cafe in an old Victorian House with front window views that are perfect to host live music. Spitfire offers a retro Rockabilly vibe with a strong connection to the community and music scene. We were told that this is the spot you must check out for dynamic coffee in Brockville, and they were right! They even had a classic espresso machine and vegan desserts. We were feeling a little peckish so Alex and I shared a corned beef sandwich grilled to perfection.
If you didn’t visit the Railway Tunnel during your stay, did you visit Brockville? Completed in 1860, this is Canada’s first railway tunnel for the Brockville and Ottawa Railway and later owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway until being acquired by the City of Brockville in 1983. The Railway Tunnel is a fairly new attraction that has been getting a lot of press from outside the South Eastern Ontario region and for good reason.
This 100 plus-year-old tunnel has come to life with new colourful LED lighting. This creates an illuminated path through which is also accompanied with music. Best of all, it’s a free attraction open to the public! At half a kilometre long, you can walk down this stunning rainbow tunnel and see mineral deposits and original hatches. The Tunnel is remarkable and holds importance to Canadian History. So if you haven’t already, you need to visit the Brockville Railway Tunnel.
Moving right along from the Railway Tunnel, we returned back to Tall Ships to check out the Aquatarium. At 27,000 square feet, the Aquatarium is an educational and interactive learning centre where visitors get to learn the history of the environment of 1000 islands. The following is only a portion of all the exhibits you can enjoy during your visit.
As you walk in you’re greeted with fish tanks that showcase the diverse fish and wildlife of the regions lake, river and shore habitats. Three tanks showcased classic Ontario fish like perch, bass, sturgeon, and pumpkinseed fish. There were also some creatures that are not native to the region. At the saltwater touch tank, you can get up close to starfish, anemones, snails, and spider crabs.
When you plan your visit, be sure to go around 3:00 pm when the otters are fed. It was a fun experience watching the playful otters chase after and chomp on their favourite frozen fish. There are three otters currently in the display and they know how to put on a good show!
You also can’t miss out on the suspended rope course! This is where you can climb through the rigging of two tall ships, rolling barrels and narrow planks. At the end of the course, there’s the AquaDrop which is a 40 foot (harnessed and controlled of course) drop to the ground floor!
After the Aquatarium, Alex and I made the adult decision to have ice cream before dinner. Located just steps away was the Dockside Café, where we enjoyed a Laura Secord ice cream cone on the patio. The sun was still shining bright and there was a cool breeze in the air so we walked along Blockhouse Island, just south of the resort.
Blockhouse Island is popular with visitors all year round. There’s beautiful walking and biking trails, a cafe, and large Muskoka chairs if you want to take photos. No matter which angle you’re looking from every angle promises gorgeous views of the St Lawrence River.
All of that exploring worked up an appetite, so we made our way to Tandoori Mint for some Indian food. We ordered to share, lamb vindaloo, goat curry, and vegetable curry. Everything was delightful, especially the service! The spice balance and the tenderness of the meat left us full and satisfied.
In the morning, we made our way downtown to Cosies, a British style tea room. The moment you step into Cosies it’s like you’ve left Brockville and are now in England. The decor is absolutely the cutest with British teapots, teacups and photos of Queen Elizabeth everywhere. Cosies definitely had a cozy feel to it and is a welcome addition to Brockville’s scene.
We were excited to try some British classics so for breakfast I had the classic bangers (sausage) and eggs. Alex tried a Bap which is a soft English muffin like bread. We shared a raspberry scone with homemade jam and clotted cream, and it was INCREDIBLE. I’m actually disappointed that I didn’t buy any scones to take home with me. Not like they would have made it back..I will be returning to Cosies and this time, I’m ordering my own scones and stocking up.
Our excursion for the day was at Skywood Eco Adventure Park located in Mallorytown, 15 minutes outside of Brockville. Skywood is Canada’s largest aerial adventure and zipline park. I’ve wanted to go ziplining for ages, but being deathly afraid of heights held me back. Not this summer though! I finally decided, what the heck, let’s go! My experience didn’t disappoint. The instructors at Skywood were so professional and explained everything we needed to know to trek safely. A quick and close to the ground practice course was what they had us try first to get comfortable with the zipline.
There was no moment where I felt unsafe or needed to rush through the courses. It was comforting knowing I could move at my own pace and take a moment if I needed too. After the first course, I was feeling confident and ready for our adventure through the canopy. Our group of two instructors and 4 other people then zipped our way through the trees. Alex and I had the most fun and can’t wait to try out another ziplining excursion. What a unique way to enjoy a beautiful forest. Who knows maybe we’ll zipline across the Niagara River Gorge.
Brockville, Ontario is fast becoming one of my favourite trip locations. I hope this summer, you get to take a trip to the City of 1000 Islands as well!