July 7-11. 2012
The next week or two of our trip would take us through the Trent Severn Waterway. The Trent Severn is a 240 mile system of lakes, rivers, manmade canals and locks that connects Trenton on Lake Ontario in the east and Port Severn on Georgian Bay in the west. The Trent Severn isn’t as old as the Rideau Canal. Construction began in 1833, a year after the Rideau was completed, and it wasn’t finished until 1920. It still has a number of manually operated locks as well as three of the most unforgettable locks on the Loop, or anywhere in the world, for that matter.
On July 7 we arrived at the Fraser Park Marina in Trenton, a Looper gathering spot. We spent two days here with at least ten other looping boats, some we hadn’t seen since Norfolk. Loopers who took the Erie Canal route and Loopers who took the Chambly and Rideau Canals like we did, all end up in Trenton to begin the trip through the Trent Severn Waterway. In good Looping style, we all gathered for “docktails” each evening at the gazebo in the park next to the marina.
The Loopers who had come via the Erie Canal had not yet purchased their lock passes or seen how the Canadian locks work. So one morning we walked up to the first lock with Ross and Laura from The Zone and Darrell and Lisa from Why Knot. The lock master put Craig and Darrell to work manually opening one of the locks. Yes, that’s Craig in the crocodile hunter hat.
The next day was exhausting – 12 locks in 31 miles! As usual, though, the Parks Canada staff at each lock were friendly and helpful.
One of the lockmasters had a yellow lab named Willie and a big bear of a dog named Rudy. Willie and Joey were determined to meet and were nose to nose across the gap from boat to lock wall and I was scared to death one of them would be in the drink before it was over. But Willie is a pro around the lock, and all was well.
We spent the next night at the town dock in Campbellford, along with several of the boats we had been with in Trenton – Why Knot, Mark’s Ark, The Zone, Moon River, Quest, Pegasus and Memory Maker. It was a nice stop, but most memorable for a wonderful bakery with justifiably renowned cream filled doughnuts and for a 20-foot statue of a giant Toonie, the Canadian $2 coin. The polar bear image in the center of the coin was designed by a local artist, hence the Big Toonie in the park
The next day we cruised on to Hastings, stopping along with way at Healey Falls with Dave and Janet from Pegasus.
At Hastings, we docked with Pegasus on the lock wall just below the lock. We found several other Loopers at the wall above the lock. We joined Pegasus, Memory Maker and Moon River for dinner at a place called Banjo’s, which a couple of lockmasters and our cruising guides told us had terrific pickerel, or walleye, as we know it. Unfortunately, they only serve it on Fridays so we were out of luck. Had a good meal anyway.
Hastings was decked out with lots of pretty flower boxes.
The next day we moved on to Peterborough, a good sized town on a pretty lake with a nice marina. There is a big fountain in the middle of the lake that is illuminated with changing colored lights at night.
We walked to a Boater’s World store and I got two new big round fenders for my upcoming birthday present. I’m the one who always has to haul these cumbersome things from one side of the boat to the other for locks and docking and I wanted two new big ones so we’d have adequate fenders on both sides at all times. Actually, we probably use more fenders than we need to, but I figure in these locks you just can’t be too careful! So my job is now much easier and I am delighted with my birthday present!
The marina was full of Loopers, all of us having gathered to enjoy the free concert held in the park next to the marina every Wednesday and Saturday in the summer. It was a John Denver tribute, with really good local talent. There must have been several thousand people there, but the marina staff suggested we take our lawn chairs over in the afternoon to claim our spot, so there was a whole group of Loopers right behind the VIP section. We had a great evening.
Most of the group, including us, would head for the big Peterborough lock the next day.
Next: the Peterborough lift lock, the largest in the world!