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Best Locations to visit on the Trent Severn Waterway

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

If you’ve ever spent time on the Trent-Severn Waterway, you understand why more than 129,000 boaters travelled the waterway last year. Connecting Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, it’s 386 kilometres of iconic Canadian Shield, remote lakes, and some of the best multi-species fishing grounds in Ontario. It joins natural waterways including the Trent River, Otonabee River, the Kawartha Lakes, Lake Simcoe, Lake Couchiching, and the Severn River; beginning in Trenton at lock #1, it ends just down the road from us, literally, at lock #45. The waterway has two large lift locks, a fantastic marine railway, and some interesting art galleries, museums, and theatres to visit, making it a big draw for boaters from everywhere. Here are some of the top locations and activities to visit near us, and some a little further.

Before we get to the list, if you’re looking for a place to stop on your weeklong boating vacation or to explore the sights and sounds around Lock 45, we have a 16 slip marina and luxurious accommodations waiting for you. Boaters know to stop by for a scenic lunch on our patio, a recharging visit to the spa, or to make a night out with music and dinner in our piano bar.

Located at lock 44, the Big Chute Marine Railway is an impressive boat lift that removes the boats from the water and portages them in a 100-ton open-carriage into Georgian Bay. It’s the only marine railway of its kind in North America. It’s just a short drive from Coldwater, making it accessible to our guests who prefer land travel. Watch from the observation deck or have a picnic as skilled staff scramble up and down ladders to operate the slings and carriage that lift boats almost 18 meters over a ridge between the Severn River and Gloucester Pool on Georgian Bay, then slips them gently back into the water on the other side.

Lock 45 Welcome Centre

Located just a short walk, bike ride, or boat ride from us is the Trent-Severn Welcome Centre. It sits right next to the Port Severn Lock. Before entering the Waterway stop by the Welcome Centre for a self-guided tour or do have any questions answered, including buying permits.

The Orillia Museum of Art & History showcases the best of Orillia and Lake Country’s culture and history through local and nationally significant exhibitions. It’s a hub of culture and heritage located down in the heart of Orillia’s Peter Street Arts District. For over fifteen years OMAH has been inspiring creativity and celebrating history, growing as a hub for local artists and historians. Their Discovery Gallery makes art touchable and fun for all ages! While you are downtown, take in the shopping and restaurant district.

Photo By: Leacock Museum National Historic Site

The Home of Canada’s foremost humorist nestled on the beautiful shores of Lake Couchiching. The 1928 summer home sits on 9.5 acres of beautiful lawns, trees and flower gardens. Designed by Wright & Noxon, Toronto, the scale and ambience of the plans reflected Leacock’s success and prestige as a world-renowned author and a well-known academic.

Peterborough Lift Lock Visitor Centre

Learn all about the history behind the Peterborough Lift Lock and the Trent-Severn Waterway. Check out models of other famous lift locks around the world as well as the work that went into building the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world!

Imagine riding one of the world’s most incredible outdoor elevators. Passing through the renowned Peterborough Lift Lock means riding the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world — so powerful it can lift and lower boats 19.8 m (about the height of a seven-storey building). This National Historic Site continues to awe countless visitors who experience it.

Stop into the Lift Lock Visitor Centre to see a working model of the lift lock, exhibits and a film. (open from April to mid-October)

We end with where the Trent-Severn began, in Bobcaygeon. The town is warm and welcoming an is one of the Kawarthas hot spots. There’s lots of wall space to tie up, plus new floating docks to accommodate more boats. There are many dining, shopping and cultural attractions are just a short walk from dockside. You can visit the historic Kawartha Settlers’ Village. It’s a 10-acre site featuring restored pioneer buildings, attractions and special events. Experience what life was like for pioneers in the Kawarthas as you stroll through the Village.

The Boyd Heritage Museum showcases the local history in Bobcaygeon, telling the story of how Bobcaygeon and its economic and social environment came to be. On a hot summer’s day be sure to visit the Kawartha Dairy’s ever-popular ice cream stand. Finally, when you’re in Bobcaygeon, make sure to look up at the stars and let the constellations reveal themselves, one star at a time.

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