The Trent-Severn Waterway is a scenic 386 km stretch connecting Lake Ontario to Lake Huron. A National Historic Site of Canada, the Waterway naturally has a storied past, but today serves as a recreational attraction to the boaters, paddlers, cyclists, and other visitors drawn to explore its scenic, meandering route. Nestled along its length are a series of charming communities known as the Trent-Severn Trail Towns – in this post we’ll look at Kawartha Lakes’ Fenelon Falls.
Fenelon Falls has verve. You can feel it when you stand on the bridge in the middle of town overlooking the falls, admiring the gardens and public art off to your left. Even if you’re just passing through Lock 34, chances are you’ll still get a sense of place.
Downtown Colborne St. has the classic look of an Ontario small town, and in the summer months, the energy and bustle of a cottage country hub. Colborne and the surrounding two or three blocks are packed with restaurants, clothing shops, antique stores, and more. The range is more eclectic than most towns of similar size – for instance, you’ll find a Thai food bistro on May St., not far from the Italian restaurant. High quality independent booksellers are something of a rarity these days, but The Book Lady offers an expertly curated selection as well as delicious coffee.
For the art lover, there’s Colborne Street Gallery. This Kawartha Lakes Arts & Heritage Trail destination provides a showcase for local and international talent in a variety of mediums.
Walk out of the brewery and you’ll be able to see the old Fenelon Theatre marquee lighting up the waterside park. Carry on past the Tourist Info Centre and you’ll find Maryboro Lodge, an estate that dates back to 1837. While it remained closed at the time of writing due to Covid-19 precautions, you can still admire its grand architecture from the exterior. Garnet Graham Beach Park, with its kid-pleasing play structure and view over Cameron Lake, is only steps away.
Speaking of Cameron Lake, fishing enthusiasts will find walleye, perch, muskie, and bass in abundance there. Cameron Lake is connected to Sturgeon Lake via Lock 34, and both make rewarding destinations. For cyclists arriving in Fenelon by pedal power, the Victoria Rail Trail is a beautiful and relaxing ride. Begin the ride in fellow trail town Lindsay and make your way up to Fenelon, or strike out north from Fenelon to Kinmount.
If you have an eye for history, it’s fascinating to think back on the early days of Fenelon’s history. Nineteenth century settlers were drawn by the promise of rich and plentiful lumber, transforming the landscape around the twenty-foot falls. Navigation to nearby Trail Towns like Bobcaygeon, Lindsay, and Rosedale was tricky at best. Visit today and you’ll find a lively and accessible small town, enriched by a unique and storied past.