Aug 2022 | By Catherine Daley
You’ll discover better weather, better wine and a better lifestyle in Prince Edward County – GTA’s Island Escape
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Prince Edward County (PEC) is a small cluster of hamlets and villages deeply rooted in nature, art and food. With 800 kilometres of coastline on Lake Ontario’s northeastern shore, enterprising locals have turned the County into a wonderful destination to visit, or in which to live.
Past and Present
Historic walking tours of Picton are offered by History Lives Here Inc. The 1830 Macaulay House can be found in Macaulay Heritage Park, as well as the Church of St. Mary Magdalene (now a museum), and the beautiful Heritage Gardens. The home belonged to Reverend William Macaulay, son of a United Empire Loyalist, who donated most of the land on which Picton is now situated.
The Regent Theatre opened on November 2nd, 1918, when a movie ticket cost 25 cents. A new roof and further renovations made room for live theatre in 1922. Designed by architects Warrington and Page, the stage is as large as the one in the Royal Alexander Theatre in Toronto. Hard times led to the closure of The Regent in 1980, but it reopened in 1992 with a limited schedule. Major renovations in 2010 included an enhanced sound system, digital cinema and comfortable seating.
Calling all Birders
The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO) is a resting place for migratory birds working their way across Lake Ontario. The observatory is open to visitors in the spring and the fall every year. Point Petre Wildlife Conservation Area is also known as one of Canada’s best bird sighting areas.
Bird House City encompasses 100 miniature reproductions of local buildings, surrounded by 20 kilometres of maintained trails.
Niagara-on-the-Lake’s biggest competition
The County is garnering a highly respected reputation for its award-winning wineries, craft beers and ciders. PEC received its DVA (Designated Viticultural Area) designation in 2007. Always known for the quality of its agricultural products, it’s now the fastest growing region in Ontario with more than 40 wineries in the area, including Hillier Creek Estates & Winery, Waupoos Estates Winery and Sandbanks Estate Winery.
At Kinsip House of Fine Spirits, guests can try a wide range of offerings, including hanging out at the farm with its heritage hops barn and funky chickens.
The County Cider Company has some of the best views in the area, and at Littlejohn Farm, you can book accommodation for a unique farm-stay experience. Wine tours and workshops are also available.
Island time equals down time
This municipality in southern Ontario is best known for its beaches and towering limestone cliffs. Sandbanks Provincial Park is very popular with its white sand beaches, sand dunes and clear blue water. North Beach Provincial Park is a smaller version of this beloved landscape, but doesn’t have a campground.
Located in the heart of Wellington, is Wellington Rotary Public Beach. Here, parking is free and a boardwalk lines the beach.
Prince Edward County is a creative hotspot for artists of varied genres. Painters, potters, jewellers, textile and glass artisans are inspired by the County’s transitional landscape. Find one-of-a-kind art treasures on The Arts Trail, the PEC Studio Tour, the Barn Quilt Tour, and at galleries throughout the region.
A Foodie’s Paradise
Flame + Smith, in Bloomfield, embraces the exciting art of wood-fire cooking. Stella’s Eatery and Jackson’s Falls are both Indigenous-inspired restaurants. Chef Chris Byrne and Tamara Segal host forage and plant-based pop-ups throughout the year.
To savour all the PEC has to offer, take a self-guided Taste Trail tour of sustainable farms, wineries, cafes and restaurants.