So much of the Ontario we know today started here. Southeastern Ontario is steeped in history and heritage, lore and legend, from the original capital city, historic mansions dotting the 1,000 Islands, military posts and pioneer villages to the birthplace of Canada’s rock royalty, The Tragically Hip.
Follow waterways traversed by explorers and merchants, discover fascinating stories from the province’s military and parliamentary past, indulge in the bounty and flavours from local farmers, winemakers, brewers, bakers, chefs and cheese makers and explore natural aquatic and terrestrial wonders.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Southeastern Ontario, scroll down or visit the region's tourism website.
Where is Southeastern Ontario?
South Eastern Ontario is a long, narrow stretch of land that is laced together by some of Ontario’s most cherished and historic waterways. The region stretches along the shoreline of the famed St. Lawrence River, one of Canada’s original highways, from the Quebec border to its head at Lake Ontario and the zigzag route of the Bay of Quinte. The historic Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, flows down from Ottawa to Kingston to meet the St. Lawrence River.
Places to Visit in Southeastern Ontario
Key cities in this region include Picton, Kingston, Gananoque and Cornwall.
Although Picton is the largest community in Prince Edward County, it maintains a friendly, small town vibe. In the centre of town, the Regent Theatre is a historic building over 100 years old.
Overlooking the St. Lawrence, the city of Kingston was briefly Canada’s first capital city and has kept its cultural legacy with heritage architecture, museums, the historic fort and the home of Canada’s first Prime Minister at Bellevue House. The infamous Kingston Penitentiary closed in 2013, but its doors remained open for fascinating guided tours.
Known as the Gateway to the 1,000 Islands, Gananoque is a beautiful waterfront town.
In the easternmost corner of Ontario, Cornwall serves as the hub that links the Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Ontario’s Celtic Heartland.
Southeastern Ontario: Extraordinary is Closer Than You Think
Things to do in Southeastern Ontario
Experience the perfect balance between nature, culture and cuisine in South Eastern Ontario with award-winning local wine, craft beer, a rich live music scene and historical parks, lighthouses and the stunning 1,000 Islands.
South Eastern Ontario will transport you in time to experience loyalist military and early settler life.
The St. Lawrence Seaway has long provided vital passage from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes, so it’s not surprising there are sunken treasures in her waters. Over 200 shipwrecks throughout the 1,000 Islands and St. Lawrence River are popular scuba diving sites today.
From beaches to birdwatching, the St. Lawrence Parks Commission manages various natural and heritage sites along the river, ensuring this treasured landmark will remain for generations to enjoy.
Southeastern Ontario is also home to the Rideau Heritage Route, the heritage canal created to allow passage from Ottawa to the St. Lawrence. Navigate the canal by houseboat, boat tour or kayak between towns and villages along the way.
Bring a healthy appetite to this region because you’ll be treated to a bounty of local food and drink. Discover why Prince Edward County is Ontario’s fastest growing wine region. Follow your tastebuds during Countylicious to vineyards, farm stands, restaurants, cheese shops, cafes, bakeries and ice cream parlors. Sample some of Ontario finest craft brews in Kingston, home to seven awesome breweries.
In between meals, explore the white sandy beach and undulating sand dunes at Sandbanks Provincial Park, fish the Bay of Quinte, the Walleye Capital of the World or hike the trails in Frontenac, a UNESCO-designated Arch biosphere or climb the 1,000 Islands Tower just north of Gananoque for one of the best views of this gorgeous region.
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