Belleville is the Gateway to the Bay of Quinte , and has lots of assortment of shops, restaurants, and accommodations that makes it the perfect base camp for excursions. The name “Belleville” literally  means beautiful village. Belleville is just off the 401, on the shores of the Moira River and the Bay of Quinte,  about 1.5 hours east of Toronto and 45 minutes west of Kingston,

Belleville History

Belleville began as an Indian village, “Asaukhknosk,” which became a French missionary village “Kente.” In 1773 the Governor General of the Canadian Colonies, Sir Guy Carleton, requested Governor Haldimand of Quebec to enquire if the Mississauga Indians would make a treaty to sell the land, and in 1783 an ‘Agreement to Purchase’ was finally made (it was called the Gunshot Treaty) and surveying for settlement began.

In 1789, some fifty United Empire Loyalists settled here and built and a sawmill, a gristmill, a distillery, a trading post and a brick kiln. In 1791, the Constitutional Act of 1791 which divided the country into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, made this area part of Upper Canada, and gave this area the British Law System, a Legislative Assembly, and its first Lieutenant-Governor, Lord John Graves Simcoe.

The gristmill attracted trade from afar as Napanee to Port Hope and in the early 1800s, the Moira River brought raw lumber from inland, which were cut and transported by schooner to Quebec City. Soon, Belleville was Upper Canada’s most prosperous community.

A 1816 visit by the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, Sir Francis Gore, and his wife Lady Arabella, inspired the settlement to be re-named to Belleville. In the later 1800s, as lumber peaked, the arrival of the railway improved manufacturing and trade in the community. The discovery of gold in 1866 near Madoc made Belleville a key gateway city. Today, the city is the gateway to Prince Edward County to the south.

Belleville Attractions

Carman Nelson Heritage Museum

2003 Stockdale Road
Behind Stockdale United Church

This museum houses a private collection of memorabilia and collectibles such as farm machinery, cars, a jeep, an airplane, household utensils, tools, toys and many other unique items. Open Sundays 1- 4 pm June until October or by appointment Free Admission

Historical homes & buildings

  • Canterbury Hall and Chapel

    94 King Street
    The hall and chapel were built 1879-1882.

  • Cobble House

    Vermilyea Rd
    This home has a unique cobblestone veneer.

  • Cobblestone Church

    Vermilyea Road
    Built from 1853-1856, one of only three cobblestone churches remaining in Ontario.

  • Film Street

    This commemorates Trenton being the first Hollywood North, where the Canadian National Features Company Ltd. made silent films from 1916 until 1934.

  • 178 King St.

    *not open to public
    This house was built in 1875-1880 and was on owned by former 1950’s mayor O.G. Alyea.

  • Gilmour House

Top of Dundas St East
Built in 1868 by Charles Francis and purchased in 1880 by the famous lumber merchants, the Gilmours.

  • Gilmour offices

    15 Dundas Street East
    This 1852 building was constructed as offices for the Gilmour lumber company.

  • Graham Estate or Montrose

    Old Highway 2
    This estate home was built in 1918 bu James Graham.

  • Grist Mill

    Stockdale Rd on Cold Creek
    The mill was forged in the 1880’s and was operational for 90 years.

  • King Street United Church

    This 1877 Church used to have a 100 pound bell made in New York.

  • River Valley School SS 19

    Sidney – River Valley
    This 1881 school became the River Valley Centre Women’s Institute in 1969.

  • Saw Mill

    Stockdale Rd on Cold Creek * Not open to public
    The 1880s saw mill was a working mill for over a hundred years. Logs were squared off and floated down to Trent Port, were they were eventually shipped to Montreal.

  • Saylor House

    178 Victoria St *not open to public
    Built in 1884 and originally owned by Samuel Squire Young.

  • St. Peter’s In Chains Roman Catholic Church

    East on King Street
    This 1874 church seats 850 and has an impressive choir loft.

  • Taste of Country

    Roblin Rd
    The Fosters built this home in 1830 and 1850, covered in a unique cobblestone veneer.

  • Vanderwater Home

    County Road 14 in Sidney
    This large white 1861 farm house is not open to public

Belleville, Ontario Area Map