The Trent

A True Boaters Paradise

View Map of the Trent

The Trent Severn Waterway is one of Canada’s most spectacular waterways. It is a national historic site that is operated and safeguarded by Parks Canada. It is a world-famous tourist destination that is home to some of the best recreational boating in North America.

The waterway stretches 386 km (240 miles) from Lake Ontario’s Bay of Quinte to Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. The Trent Severn Waterway is an engineering marvel, is historically relevant and geographically fascinating. A great experience to capture for the kids when they return to school and write about “What I Did This Summer”. A houseboat is an ideal way to explore this natural and man-made wonder.

An Engineering Marvel

Big Chute Lock Lock 44

The Trent-Severn’s linkages took almost a century to complete. The Waterway was completed in 1920 and consists of over 40 locks, some 50km of man-made canals, approximately 150 dams and countless areas that were altered by dredging or flooding. The fully-navigable system has welcomed recreational boaters ever since and has become a world-famous tourist destination.

The Trent Severn is home to two of the world’s highest hydraulic lift locks, in Peterborough and Kirkfield. It is also home to the highest elevation of freshwater from which you can circumnavigate the globe.

The geography of Ontario we know today first began to take shape about 11,000 years ago as the glaciers of the last Ice Age retreated. Nature’s processes of freezing and thawing carved out the Trent and Severn watersheds.

Since that time, Indigenous Peoples have played a vital role in influencing the development and natural balance of the Waterway. In 1615, when Champlain became the first European to travel the Waterway, he entered a territory where Indigenous roots already ran deep.

By the 1800s, the British and Irish were among the first immigrants to settle along Upper Canada’s desirable water route. Fur, as a commodity, was replaced by wood. The harnessing of water power gave birth to the many mill towns which grew up along the Trent-Severn. The Waterway expanded as timber barons, farmers, merchants and commercial travellers bought passage from town to town.

The Waterway was developed over a century. When it was completed in 1920 it was an engineering marvel that eventually opened it up to recreational boating and tourism in the 20th century. Today the Trent Severn Waterway welcomes tourists to experience the beautiful Lakes, historic and cultural sites, farmers’ markets, craft food and drink, and parkland.

For more information on the Trent Severn Waterway, visit Parks Canada.

A Rich History

Trent-Severn_Waterway_map 1918