Trenton Overview

Trenton has a population of about 20,000 and is located in the municipality of Quinte West, which is part of the larger Bay of Quinte region in southeastern Ontario. Trenton located on Highway 401, and is 150 km east of Toronto, and 100 km west of Kingston. The community is situated along the shores of the Bay of Quinte and the Trent River,  and is the southern end of the Trent-Severn Canal system providing scenic waterfront views and access to water-based activities.  Trenton is known for its significant military presence with Canadian Forces Base Trenton, the country’s largest air force base just east of town. Th ecommunity also has access to the cottage country to the north along the Trent River and the beautiful Prince Edward County to the south.

Trenton History

In 1615, the French explorer Samuel de Champlain came down the Trent River from Lake Hurgon, though it wasn’t until 1668 that Jesuit Missionaries came to the area to convert the local Cayuga First Nations. By the 1790s, United Empire Loyalists settled in the area, but the First Nations had already moved on to better hunting grounds. In 1805, the area had its first saw and grist mill built along the Trent River, to exploit the lumber from the virgin interior.

Before the war of 1812, the only means of access to Trent Port was by boat or by paths through the dense forest. During the war, roads were built as a defense measure and in 1817 the first stage coaches began arriving in Trenton from York and Kingston. In 1833 the colonial government granted the area $20,000 to build a covered bridge across the Trent to replace ferry service.

In 1813, construction began on the Trent Canal which was to connect the Bay of Quinte with Georgian Bay, and in 1819 the first steamship on the Great Lakes (the Frontenac) visited the area. By 1853 the community was incorporated as the village of Trenton. In 1884, the Murray Canal connected Trenton & the Bay of Quinte directly to western Lake Ontario. In 1885, Trenton built a hydro power dam to send power to Gilmour Lumber Company as well as Belleville through new transmission lines.

During World War II, the airfield was used as the Commonwealth Air Training Base, and thereafter became a major Canadian Forces Base which today manages the Canadian fleet of tactical transport and search and rescue aircraft.

The City of Quinte West

Trenton Attractions

Beasdell Boulder

292 Glenn Miller Rd
From Highway 401, Exit 525 at Hwy 33 (Trenton) and drive north for 2.5 km. Watch for sign

The boulder is believed to be the largest glacial erratic in Ontario. It is 44 feet long, 24 feet wide, and 19 – 22 feet high and weighs and estimated 2 million pounds (1000 tonnes). This metamorphic rock originated from northeastern Ontario about 20,000 years ago. The earliest known study of the boulder was made in 1862 by Reverend William Bleasdell, first rector of St. George’s Anglican Church in Trenton. The rock has been variously called, the “Bleasdell Boulder,” “The Big Boulder,” or “Glen Miller Rock”. This Boulder is located in Glen Miller just north of the 401 on Highway 33. A well-groomed (wheelchair accessible) hiking trail 50 metres west of the Glen Miller Bridge, takes you on a 15 minute hike to the boulder. Accessible year round. Donations accepted at the site.

Clock Tower

65 Dundas Street West, Trenton

The 1888 clock tower was part of the Federal Post Office and Customs House. The Post Office was demolished in 1971 to make way for the City Hall and a parking garage, leaving only the tower standing.

Fraser Park Marina

15 Creswell Dr, Trenton, ON K8V 3S8
Bridge under Highway 2 marks Mile Zero of the Trent-Severn Waterway

This marina has 25 transient berths with power and fresh water hookups. The docks have 8 to 10 feet of water, protected from the elements or the wash of passing boats. Dock master on duty 7 am to 9 pm.

Murray Canal

Severn Waterway National Historic Site
P.O. Box 567, Peterborough, Ontario, K9J 6Z6
1-888-773-8888 Fax: (705) 742 9644

8 kilometre (5 mile) long canal connects the Bay of Quinte with Presqu’ile Harbour, and cuts straight through the narrow strip of land connecting Prince Edward County with the north shore of Lake Ontario.  There is a toll charge of $5 for boats navigating through the Murray Canal. The Murray Canal has two road bridges; Brighton Road Swing Bridge (with toll and washroom facilities) and Carrying Place Swing Bridge. United States boaters need to clear Canada Customs (1-888-226-7277)  if they have not done so.

Mount Pelion Lookout

Dufferin Ave, at north end of MacLellan Avenue
613-392-2841 (Community & Leisure Services Department)

Discover “Trenton’s Mountain”left behind by the glaciers. You can walk, hike, bike or drive up to the observation deck with a panoramic view of Trenton’s waterways and surrounding countryside. Visited in 1615 by Samuel de Champlain, the “mountain” is a drumlin with an esker on the north end. In the 1800’s, a cannon was hoisted to the top of the mountain by teams of horses, but has not been fired since 1898. The site was designated heritage property in 1989, and a new lookout tower has replaced the former wooden one and you can see as far as Murray Hills, Belleville and Prince Edward County.

National Air Force Museum of Canada (formerly RCAF Memorial Museum)

220 RCAF Road, Trenton, ON
(Exit 526 south from 401 and follow signs or take Hwy 2 to RCAF Rd. at CFB Trenton)
Mailing: PO Box 1000, Stn Forces<, Astra ON, K0K 3W0
Front Desk : 613-965-RCAF (7223) Fax : 613-965-7352
Base Info: (613)392-2811 1-866-701-RCAF (7223)

At Canada’s largest military transport base, for the 8th Wing, visit RCAF memorial museum to learn more about Canada’s military history through World War I and II. Watch the Halifax Bomber being restored after years under water, off the coast of Norway.
The base’s Memorial Gates were built in Great Britain, and presented by Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand as a recognition of Trenton’s Base being used as a WWII Commonwealth Air Training Base. Catch the Quinte International Air Show. Open daily May 1 – Sept 30 from 10am-5pm; and Oct 1 – Apr 30 Wed – Sun 10am – 5pm. Free Admission, donations welcomed

Old Town Hall

55 King Street Trenton, K8V 3V9 Canada. 6
613-394-4318 or 613.392.8418

This 1861 town hall also served as a market house, court house, and police station, and has been restored by volunteers back to its original splendor. The building houses period artifacts and journals depicting the history of the building and the City of Trenton. Call ahead for tours. [Town offices moved out in 1921, the course in the 1970s, and the police in 1985. The Market is in the waterfront parking lot on Front Street. ] Free admission.

Quinte Conservation Area

2061 Old Highway 2
(Parking on both sides of Old Hwy 2)
(613) 968-3434

A 140 hectare former farmstead that offers hikers, showshoers and cross-country skiers six km of relatively even trails. There is a ‘Pooch Path’ loop for dogs and their owners. See winding Potter Creek, picnic tables near the bay shore, and the Nortel Arboretum. Bay of Quinte access (no boat launch) for canoeing, kayaking and windsurfing

Sager Conservation Area

30 Golf Course Rd, Quinte West, ON
(613) 394-4829

Sager Conservation Area offers picnicking, trails and a scenic viewpoint atop a drumlin. This area is part of a glacial feature known as Oak Lake Island. This is a series of large drumlins that formed an island in glacial Lake Iroquois. The drumlin in the conservation area is one of the highest points of land in the area. A lookout tower provides an excellent point from which to view the surrounding countryside including part of the Trent Valley, Picnic shelter also.

Skate Park – Centennial Park, Trenton

Centennial Park
just off Couch Crescent in Trenton

The 16,000 square foot “Kinsmen Sky is the Limit” Skate Park, opened in 2003, has a street course section, a half ails and a fun box. Said to be one of the best in Ontario, with free admission, but is unsupervised. Rules are posted at the entrance, and helmets & safety equipment are highly recommended.

Trenton Escarpment Natural Habitat Area

McGill St, west of downtown

A small parcel of wooded preserve, accessed through Hanna Park. You can hike in the summer, cross-country ski in the winter, or just wander in peaceful surroundings.

Trenton Ontario Area Map