Springtime! Everything seems fresh and exciting in spring – and these attractions in South Eastern Ontario are no exception. They’re authentic, new and complemented by classic experiences. Here are 15 ideas to discover in South Eastern Ontario, paired with tried and true experiences to make your spring even sweeter!
Be inspired by the creativity in the County! Home to painters, glassblowers, potter, jewelry makers and more, Prince Edward County is haven for artists and appreciators. Check out the Arts Trail online, explore galleries and artist studios on a PEC Studio Tour, or spend a blissful afternoon wandering around ANDARA Gallery, SideStreet Gallery, Melt Studio and Gallery, Mad Dog Gallery or The Local Store, finding all sorts of County gems.
From shipwrecks and lighthouses to ecosystems and water quality, explore Kingston’s unique history and the world’s largest inter-connected body of freshwater through our programs and exhibits at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston. For a sneak peek at the Museum’s story, watch an online exhibit and then book a guided tour of the Kingston Dry Dock, a National Historic Site.
Evolving and revolving exhibitions are meant to be explored at Agnes. Dive into the world of visual art and dig deeper to explore perspectives. Look for spring exhibitions here featuring how artworks are authenticated and an artistic collective of over ﬁfty multimedia artists, musicians, designers and curators who work out of a former clay tile factory in Jatisura, Indonesia. Further exhibitions showcase the work of Shelby Lisk, a multidisciplinary artist, filmmaker and photographer with roots in Kenhtè:ke (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory), whose art practice is grounded in her connection to and place in the world as a Kanyen’kehá:ka woman. Participation is key at Agnes – look for opportunities for all ages this spring such as a printmaking class for teens, art hives, sculpting with the body, and even a creation station family event. In addition, each season, Agnes presents a suite of artist, insider and specialist talks, tours and events that connect participants with visual art and artists, and with one another.
Kingston Trolley Tours offers tours of historic Kingston, aboard four comfortable thirty-two passenger trolleys. Explore Canada’s first Capital, on a guided, one-hour Trolley Tour through downtown covering all of Kingston’s historic old town and downtown shopping district. A fun twist on this traditional tour is the popular Ghost & Mystery Tour. Hear stories from Kingston’s mysterious and paranormal past, some dating back 200 years! After you discover the city on land, climb aboard a Kingston 1000 Islands Cruise to get out on the water. Gain a new appreciation for Kingston’s historic scenery on a Discovery Cruise or Sunset Cruise. Alternatively, experience the 1000 Islands on a three-hour Heart of the Islands Cruise. A full day of memories await!
Celebrate the warmer weather by getting back to the L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area for some stargazing! Incredible, clear views of the night sky await, unobstructed by light pollution. This spot is the most southerly point in Ontario that offers a night sky experience – it’s said that this is very similar to what the sky was like more than 100 years ago. Grab a blanket, lawn chair, some hot chocolate and your nature-loving bestie and you’ll have a night to remember.
Wineries, breweries, cider houses. Orchards, apiaries and pick-your-own. Restaurants, cafes and pubs. Wherever your taste buds take you – make sure you come hungry! Lennox & Addington is a foodie’s delight, brimming with fresh finds that are locally produced. Find your fresh in L&A!
Ready to grab food and a drink? North Grenville has you covered. Local and sustainable is the name of the game here. Experience bread made from grain grown down the road, or a high class sweet treat baked fresh that day. Sip on wines while relaxing in a tasting room or pick your own berries for the ultimate summer snack.
This brings a whole new meaning to barn dance! Furnace Falls Farm has curated chef’s table dinners throughout the year made with local food in an elevated country setting. Watch for a spring celebration, kitchen party with live music, and a legendary Mother’s Day brunch are on the menu this spring! This working farm located in beautiful Leeds and the Thousand Islands has an onsite bakery and production kitchen as well as the Big White Barn hosting music events and private events.
See heritage wheat ground into flour using 200-year-old millstones and true 1800s milling technology! The Old Stone Mill National Historic Site in Delta is a remarkable place showing industrial heritage. Built in 1810, it features interpretive displays, an operating waterwheel, artefacts, grain elevators and more. Celebrating a re-opening this May after being closed during Covid, the Mill is set to continue grinding starting in June.
Ready to explore the Rideau Canal by water and experience locking through the world-famous locks? It’s easier than you think! Rent a boat from Norris Outdoors in Newboro and start making memories on the pristine lakes. Pontoons, fishing boats, pleasure craft and more are ready to make your summer dreams come true.
Charter a fishing guide to maximize your time on the water – and get ready to reel in some big ones! Fin Freaks is a local guiding company that is a sure way to angling success. Founder and guide, Mike Robillard, is known for specializing in Lake trout, Walleye and Bass fishing. Chasing anything with a fin in the water, Mike has more than 30 years of experience with netting some of the biggest fish in the region.
Put on those walking shoes and get up close and personal with local history while on a walking tour in the villages of Rideau Lakes. These short-distance, history-heavy walks are designed to acquaint visitors and residents with the rich local history in Rideau Lakes – and to illustrate the variety of architectural features that appeared as the communities matured. Download the maps and step back in time!
Rock Dunder is famous for its legendary summit view of the Rideau Canal – with good reason! This trail offers hikers a challenging three hour hike. The rough terrain, steep hills, as well as rocks to manoeuvre is all worth it when hikers reach the peak and see the spectacular view is owned and operated by the Rideau Waterway Land Trust. Note that a pass is required to hike here and the trail typically opens in mid-May. Foley Mountain Conservation Area offers another incredible view of Upper Rideau Lake from atop Spy Rock. It is nestled on the top of the “mountain” overlooking the village of Westport. However, there are seven trails at Foley Mountain that are perfect for hiking with the fam jam. Look for a mobility trail here, as well as a Beaver Trail, Meditation Trail and more.
Three new cafes and shops along the Rideau are beckoning your belly! The beautiful Jubliee Bake Shop in Delta is set to impress with legendary cheesecake make on site, macaroons, tarts and more. Their sandwiches are out of this world, too, piled high with meat and melted cheese. To top it off the bake shop is located in a darling, rustic heritage building along the main street of Delta, which has been lovingly refurbished by the owners. Portland on the Rideau boasts two new cafes! The Recess Café is housed in a former elementary school and uses that vibe to the fullest. With library cards on the wall, retro school mural painting, and décor to flood your feed with love, the Recess Café is in session with local food whipped up into a dreamy breakfast or lunch option. They even have a maple latte here made with local maple syrup. The Station Café leaves us wanting more! This new café, local artisan retail, ice cream store and more is known for its homemade soups and amazing daily specials. With a view of Big Rideau Lake, its name pays tribute to the building’s history, which may have been a gas station, a train station – or both!
Discover the history of Gananoque and the heritage buildings that make up its past and present! The 1000 Islands History Museum has created a self-guided walking tour app so visitors can learn the significance of each building along the tour and take a step back in time with a side-by-side comparison of the modern day structure and an archived photograph from the past. With all the stops pinned on a map, plan a tour to see as little or as much as you like!
Discover new experiences alongside old favs this spring in South Eastern Ontario. Clear your calendar – you won’t want to leave!