Side Trips to Frontenac Provincial Park & Upper Canada Village
Frontenac Provincial Park (tel. 613/376-3489), near Sydenham, about 143km (89 miles) from Kingston and 72km (45 miles) from Ottawa, is a wilderness park with more than 182km (113 miles) of hiking trails exploring Moulton Gorge, the Arkon Lake bogs, and the Connor-Daly mine.
There are also terrific opportunities here to combine camping with water journeys; an adventure might include sea kayaking among the Thousand Islands, for instance, with equipment supplied by a local outfitter. Frontenac Outfitters (tel. 613/376-6220, or 800/250-3174 from Ontario) rents canoes, kayaks, paddles, life jackets, and car-top carriers for relatively modest fees, starting from C$25 per person per day. Both wooded and waterfront campsites are also available through the same outfitter, for C$25 per day (maximum of four campers per site). A program of guided tours through the region runs from about April to November.
About 50km (31 miles) east of Brockville along Route 2, just east of Morrisburg, is Upper Canada Village (tel. 800/437-2233 or 613/543-4328; www.uppercanadavillage.com). This is Ontario's effort to preserve its pre-Dominion past, and the sprawling riverfront museum village represents frontier life in the 1860s, with some 40 brick-and-stone structures and interiors that have been accurately restored using hand-forged nails and wooden pegs. They appear as if they could still serve their purpose today, and they're occupied by costumed bilingual docents who answer questions while performing the chores and crafts of the day -- sewing quilts, milling lumber, fashioning tin-ware, conducting church services, and the like. In the woolen mill, a waterwheel turns old machinery weaving wool into blankets; bellows wheeze and hammers clang against anvils in the blacksmith's shop; and the heady aroma of fresh bread drifts from a bake shop near the Willard's Hotel (which serves lunch and high tea, C$5.99-C$29.99). "True Canadian" draft horses draw both tour wagons and a barge. A good spot for history buffs and kids.
Admission to the village is C$20 adults, C$18 seniors, C$12 children 5 to 18, and C$3.95 children 2 to 4; families traveling together get a 10% discount. It's open daily 9:30am to 5pm from mid-May to early October.