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Loyalist Parkway

The Loyalist Parkway is a scenic route of roughly 100 kilometers in distance linking the Ontario cities of Trenton and Kingston, by way of the Prince Edward Peninsula. Honoring the United Empire Loyalists who settled this part of Upper Canada following the American Revolution, the Loyalist Parkway was commemorated by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1984 at a ceremony in Amherstview in honor of the United Empire Loyalist settlers that landed there in 1784. The Loyalists had supported Great Britain during the American Revolution, soldiers from various regiments, civilians and some also people who had wished to remain neutral on religious and ethical grounds. Many Loyalists who settled this part of Ontario were from New York State and the Mohawk Valley in particular. They suffered from cold, starvation and disease, but persevered to become major participants in the formation of Ontario. The Loyalist Parkway is a commemoration of their loyalty and determination. As an enduring monument to the Loyalists, the Loyalist Parkway offers picturesque rural scenery, charming towns, history, architecture, as well as genealogy opportunities for those who are discovering their United Empire Loyalist roots.


Highway 33, known since 1984 as the Loyalist Parkway, follows a pioneer colonial route on which the first segments were built two hundred years prior. Parts of Highway 33 are provincially maintained and are posted as The King's Highway 33 (61.6 kilometers of the Loyalist Parkway), but other parts of the Loyalist Parkway are municipally maintained, keeping the highway number as 33 throughout its route from west to east. The route connects Trenton and Quinte West with several historical sites within Prince Edward County, continuing east through Picton and Bath to what is now Kingston. In April 1988, a master plan was completed for the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario and was approved by the municipalities through which the Loyalist Parkway is routed. This master plan established initiatives to coordinate planning to benefit the entire region to preserve and enhance of the historical significance and scenic beauty of the area that the Loyalist Parkway goes through. The Loyalist Parkway also boasts dozens of wineries, fruit orchards, a thriving bed and breakfast industry and plenty of boutiques. It's also a fun drive through the Canadian countryside, and that was the focus of my visit to the Loyalist Parkway.

Now entering the Loyalist Parkway. This is in Quinte West, near the western end of the Loyalist Parkway in Trenton.
The Loyalist Parkway leaves Trenton and quickly becomes a charming country road.
The Loyalist Parkway as it crosses the Murray Canal at Carrying Place. This was once the site of a portage of the narrow strip of land between Weller's Bay on Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte.
Now in Prince Edward County, the Loyalist Parkway is also signed with the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, which is a touring route similar to the Seaway Trail and the Great Lakes Circle Tour. Historically, the Loyalist Parkway was part of the Old Danforth Road, which was an early road that stretched from modern day Toronto to the mouth of the River Trent in Glenora.

Rolling through the countyside.

Yes, the Prince Edward Peninsula is prime snow country. Since the peninsula juts out into the eastern portion of Lake Ontario, it gets plenty of lake effect snow.

But in late summer, it is picturesque farm country instead.

Consecon is considered to be the gateway to Prince Edward County.
Distance markers have been installed every 5 kilometers along the 100 kilometer route of the Loyalist Parkway.
Hillier's town hall, which was once a school and is now a national historic site.

Beautiful Lake Ontario near Hillier on a beautiful September day.
Downtown Wellington, Ontario.

That's an interesting pattern on that building in Wellington.

Wellington Town Hall.
Back into farm country east of Wellington.

A close up of the barn and silo seen in the previous photo.

Farm country near Hallowell.
The Loyalist Parkway makes a right turn in Bloomfield.

The Loyalist Parkway meets the King's Highway 62 in Bloomfield. King's Highway 62 heads north through Belleville, Madoc and Bancroft on its way to the heart of Central Ontario.

Head off the Loyalist Parkway here to go to Sandbanks Provincial Park, which is popular for its beaches, birding, camping and is also home to the world's largest baymouth barrier dune formation.

An old King's Highway 33 shield in Bloomfield, along with one of the older Honda CR-Vs that I used to drive.

Bloomfield, Ontario.

Bloomfield United Church.
A drive down the Loyalist Parkway will take you past plenty of historic sites, such as the West Lake Boarding School between Bloomfield and Picton.

Back into farm country.

As the Prince Edward Peninsula was settled by many Loyalists that came from Upstate New York, the settlers also brought many place names with them from their former homes. Scoharie comes from Schoharie, which is the name of a creek, valley, town, village and county in Upstate New York, just to the west of Schenectady and Albany.

There's also a Cherry Valley in Upstate New York, not far from Schoharie, which also came into existence before the American Revolution. I wasn't able to find any concrete evidence that Cherry Valley, Ontario was named after its counterpart in Upstate New York, but I was able to find out the Cherry Valley, Ontario is home to two lighthouses, the Salmon Point Lighthouse and the Point Petre Lighthouse.

Let's continue east to Picton, the largest town in Prince Edward County.

Entering Picton. The town was named for General Sir Thomas Picton and featured two castles.

A split between the Canadian and United States Methodist churches took place in Picton in 1824.
Downtown Picton.
You can take Prince Edward County Route 49 up to the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.
Entering Glenora, which was once well known for being a center of the milling and ship building industries, but is now better known as being one end of the free Glenora Ferry that takes the Loyalist Parkway across the Bay of Quinte to Adolphustown. Glenora also features Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park, which overlooks the town some 60 meters above the Bay of Quinte.

Along the Bay of Quinte.

Glenora from the Bay of Quinte.
The water was quite calm for a mid-September day.

 A ferry traveling to Glenora. From Victoria Day to the middle of October, there is free ferry service available once every 15 minutes. During other times of the year, the ferry departs every 30 minutes.
Back on land, traffic is queuing up to take the ferry over to Glenora. We are near Adolphustown, which is part of Greater Napanee.

Loyalist Memorial Church of Adolphustown.


East of Adolphustown, orchards, wineries and other farms line the Loyalist Parkway, a testament that Ontario is a place to grow.

More farms as the Loyalist Parkway draws closer to Sandhurst Shores.

East of Sandhurst, the Loyalist Parkway begins to hug the water. This is around the channel between of Lake Ontario at the east end of the Bay of Quinte, the eastern portion of the Prince Edward Peninsula and also Amherst Island.

Pleasant day to be sailing.

The story of the escape of the Royal George, a British ship in service during the War of 1812.

Taking a left will bring you to the most direct route to downtown Napanee. If you are more adventurous, you can get to Mazinaw Rock and Bon Echo Provincial Park, which is roughly an hour's drive north of Napanee.

I just like this backdrop. Amherst Island is to your right.
Of course the Loyalist Parkway would venture through Loyalist Township.

Entering Bath.

Downtown Bath has its own share of Loyalist mentions.

Heading east from Bath on the way to Millhaven, the water comes back into view.

Millhaven, Ontario.
Welcome to Amherstview, the eastern gateway of the Loyalist Parkway. Even though the Loyalist Parkway continues on to Kingston, there is a reason why Amherstview is the gateway.

A classic stone house in Amherstview. While Amherstview was a subdivision that came to be during the 1950s, there has been settlement in Amherstview for much longer.

The eastern gates of the Loyalist Parkway in Amherstview were dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II in 1984. These elegant limestone gates are situated near the historic Fairfield House.

Making our way into Kingston.

Entering Kingston, which is the big city in this part of eastern Ontario. Located where the Cataraqui River meets Lake Ontario, Kingston has had a long military history with plenty of fortifications.
Collins Bay boasts a natural harbor and is a western neighborhood of the modern day city of Kingston.

In Kingston, the Loyalist Parkway slips into suburban mode and is no longer maintained by the province. It becomes Kingston Regional Route 33 back at Collins Bay Road.

The red spires in the right of the photo are for Collins Bay Institution, which opened in 1930 is currently the oldest operational federal male correctional facility in Ontario. Prior to 2013, another penitentiary, the nearby Kingston Penitentiary was the oldest prison in use, and now offers very interesting public tours (I took a tour myself in 2018).

Loyalist Parkway at Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard, a major north-south road on the west side of Kingston. Sir John A. Macdonald grew up in Kingston and was Canada's first Prime Minister. The Loyalist Parkway ends not far to the east of this junction.


How to Get There:


Sources and Links:
Guide to Prince Edward County, Ontario - Loyalist Parkway Scenic Route
Trenton Ontario - Loyalist Parkway
Loyalist Parkway Association - The Loyalist Parkway, your route through history
Destination Northern Ontario - Why the Loyalist Parkway Can't Be Done in One Day
Asphalt Planet - King's Highway 33
The King's Highway - King's Highway 33
 

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