What’s better than reading about the history of your country? Experiencing it first hand! We’ve gathered the top Historic Sites located in South Eastern Ontario. Prepare to travel back in time and be mind-blown by the rich history of Ontario.
Originally built during the war of 1812, Fort Henry was a major asset to the British due to its location at the intersection of the three waterways. Twenty years later a second fort was built on the site of the first, and that is the fort that many Kingstonians have come to know today. Fort Henry was abandoned in 1870, and in 1936 was ultimately restored into the living history museum you see today. You can experience Fort Henry for yourself, and enjoy education, shopping, group tours, as well as a variety of events any time between 9:30am and 5:00pm from May to September.
Until its closing in 2013, the Kingston Penitentiary was known as Canada’s oldest and most notorious maximum security prisons. It housed some of the most well-known criminals in Canadian history. Since closing, the Kingston Pen has partnered up with the City of Kingston and St. Lawrence Parks Commission to provide tourists with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get an inside look at the national historic site. Book your ticket now and get a chance to experience a piece of Canadian history pre-dating the Canadian confederation.
Celebrate your country’s heritage at this National Historic Site located in Kingston. Home to Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald in the mid 1800s, you can tour the restored home and gardens while enjoying the true essence of the mid nineteenth century in Canada. Try one of the homegrown heirloom apples, have a whiskey tasting, and check out the gardeners using scythes to tend to the garden during your informative visit at Bellevue House.
The United Empire Loyalist Heritage Centre and Park provides the perfect combination of heritage, camping and adventure. The location was the original landing place of Major Peter Vanalstine in 1784, and many Loyalists settled on the grounds in tents during their early time in Canada. Since 1956, the UEL Heritage Centre and Park has been used as a campground as well as a museum dedicated specifically to Loyalists and the history of early Ontario. If your lucky, you can stop by and experience one of their re-enactments!
This living museum is one of the largest of its kind in Canada and is a unique opportunity to experience what life was like in the 1860s. The costumed interpreters are all captivating storytellers, and you’ll find yourself settling on to a chair or bench in any of the intricately restored homes, barns and businesses to chat with them.
Located 3 kilometers east of Long Sault, Ontario, the Lost Villages Museum sits on land in Ault Park on Fran Laflamme Drive. The museum consists of ten buildings, moved and restored to create a village atmosphere in the park. The buildings include a barbershop from the lost village of Moulinette, the 150 year old McLeod Log House, and many more historical buildings. Take a narrated bus tour through the Lost Villages museum and feel history come to life.
Known for being one of Canada’s oldest municipalities, it is no surprise that Brockville is home to one of the country’s oldest railway centres. Built between 1854 and 1860, the tunnel was created over 20 years before the construction of the well known Canadian Pacific Railway. When travelling through Brockville, the tunnel is must attraction to tick off of your bucket list.
If you like feeling like royalty then the Fulford Place should be a place to visit! Learn the story of Senator George T. Fulford and explore his magnificent mansion fully furnished with original family heirlooms. The mansion includes original tapestries, paintings, statuary and ceramics collected by the Fulford family. Grab a friend and take a 45-minute guided tour of the historic manor, or plan a special event that will be sure to impress your guests.
Get your feet wet with history at Fort Wellington in Prescott. Originally built during the war of 1812 to protect and defend the St. Lawrence River from attacks by the United States, Fort Wellington was key in the defence against American invasions during rebellions that took place in the mid 1800s. If you really want to experience the history of Canada, check out the original 1812 gunboat wreck, and go ‘all in’ by dressing the part while participating in an old-school military drill, including cannon firing and food from the times!
Located in Delta Ontario, the Old Stone Mill showcases the technology of milling in the 1800s. Built in 1810, the mill has been known to be one of the best examples of early architecture in Canada. Take a self-guided tour that includes interpretive displays, including a working water wheel, millstones, grain elevators and more.
If self-guided touring is more your style, you should plan a trip to the Merrickville Blockhouse located in Merrickville, Ontario. Constructed in the 1830’s, the blockhouse was one of four built to defend the Rideau Canal from invaders. True to the military style of the 1800’s the Merrickville Blockhouse includes a collection of local historic artifacts, and provides some insight into the history of the Rideau Canal. Take a free tour this Fall, Spring, and Summer!
In the true spirit of the 1000 Islands and Gananoque, this waterfront museum offers a hands-on experience for its attendees. Friendly to adults and children, tourists can attend boat building workshops, view antique boats and engage in a variety of events and programs during their stay.
The Arthur Child Heritage Museum has a little bit of history for every personality. Exhibiting over 10,000 years of the 1000 Islands history, their displays include the lives of First Nations people, the development of the 1000 Islands ecosystem, secrets of Canadian military leadership as well as stories of local heroes and the wealthy.
If the history of our Canadian military is something that fascinates you, travel to the National Air Force Museum at CFB Trenton. Speak with military experts and discover restored (and sometimes functional) airplanes, helicopters and equipment. Truly a national treasure, the National Air Force Museum pays tribute to Canadian air force veterans with a wall of embedded memorial bricks containing their names and home bases.
Built in the early 1880s for a wealthy banker and his wife, the Glanmore National Historic Site features a majestic interior that includes hand-painted ceilings and elaborate woodwork. If you have an eye for antiques, you will love Glanmore’s collection of antique furniture, paintings and ceramics. Open six days a week, make sure you take a moment to stop by this amazing historic site and soak in some of the Bay of Quinte history.
Still inhabited by the original settlers ancestors, the Rose House was made home by Peter Rose in the early 1800s. Among some of the first settlers who had fought for the British during the American Revolution, Peter settled there with his wife and raised a large family, of whom continued to inhabit the historic farmhouse over the next century. Book a tour in advance and get a chance to tour the Rose Cemetery – spooky!
A town built on history, Ameliasburgh was a hardworking village home to a give storey stone flour mill back in the 1840’s. Considered to be a full-blown pioneer village, the main structure featured is a former Methodist Church, built from limestone in the 1860’s. Explore the buildings including log cabins, a sap shanty, bee-keeping and dairy buildings as well as a blacksmith’s shop. Make sure you check out the still-working Goldie Corliss flywheel before ending your evening by the beautiful Roblin Lake.
Discover South Eastern Ontario
Plan a Memorable Trip of Your Own!
Located along the north shore of the St Lawrence River, the South Eastern Ontario region spans from Cornwall and SGD Counties to Ontario’s burgeoning wine and craft beer country known as Prince Edward County and the Bay of Quinte. Along the shores of these waterways, you’ll find fascinating history, quaint villages, inspiring art, live theatre and gastronomic delights. No matter how you choose to experience it, South Eastern Ontario offers some of the best places to visit in Ontario.