Prince Edward County (PEC) is a municipality in southern Ontario, Canada. Its coastline on Lake Ontario’s northeastern shore is known for Sandbanks Provincial Park, which has sandy beaches and towering limestone cliffs. The Regent Theatre, a restored Edwardian opera house, sits at the heart of the town of Picton on the Bay of Quinte. Nearby Macaulay Heritage Park highlights local history through its 19th-century buildings. In 2016, Prince Edward County had a census population of 24,735. Prince Edward County is a city, single-tier municipality and a census division of the Canadian province of Ontario.
Prince Edward County is located in Southern Ontario on a large irregular headland or littoral at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, just west of the head of the St. Lawrence River. This headland (officially named Prince Edward County in 1792) is surrounded on the north and east by the Bay of Quinte. As the Murray Canal now connects the bay to Lake Ontario across the only land connection, the county is technically an island. Murray Canal is crossed by 2 swing bridges, the single lane county road 64 bridge and the two lane country road 33 bridge. Bay of Quinte is crossed by two, 2-lane bridges of about 850m length – one carrying Provincial Highway 62 near Belleville and the other about 24 km east carrying Provincial Highway 49 near Deseronto.
Events include the Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival in its 15th season which runs two weekends in the early fall with performances by internationally renowned Canadian musicians and features Canadian composers. The summer has the Classical Unbound Festival, with performances of classical music in unconventional venues and contexts by foremost Canadian musicians. Also in the summer is the renowned Jazz Festival which occurs in the month of August. Some of Canada’s most prolific jazz musicians gather in the county for this festival. The Prince Edward County Country Jamboree happens in August in Cherry Valley. With over 40 Top Notch Canadian Country Music Entertainers over four days.
The 50s & 60s Rock N Roll Music Festival is held in Cherry Valley.
Prince Edward County has become a vacation destination with Sandbanks Provincial Park, and Ontario’s newest VQA wine Appellation as the twin centrepieces of the tourism industry. Hotels, motels and bed & breakfast accommodations are abundant and mostly occupied during the summer months. In addition, many cottages are available such as those offered at Sandbanks Beach Resort.
Prince Edward County’s main water attractions are its white sand beaches. Together, Sandbanks Provincial Park, North Beach Provincial Park attract over 600,000 visitors yearly. The numerous campgrounds throughout the County also allow many tourists to enjoy watersports such as those offered through Westlake Wakeboarding School, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, and more.
Skateboarding and BMXing
Beside the historic Crystal Palace is the County Youth Park. While the region is known for a large retirement community, young people now flock to the County to visit the skatepark and playground located in the corner of the Picton Fairgrounds property (which also holds the Picton Arena, the Prince Edward Curling Club & Crystal Palace). For example, the YoungLife youth event “Road Rage” had teens of all ages visiting skateboard parks across Ontario and then entering their homemade skateboarding video into a contest; Picton was one of their stops.
Prince Edward County in recent years has become a top culinary destination, from the historic Black River Cheese Company which started operations in 1901 to the new LEED-certified, award-winning Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Factory.
The county held the annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival from 2010 through 2017. This festival, held at the Picton Fairgrounds in June, boasted cheese-makers from all across Canada offering more than 125 artisan cheeses for tasting and purchase. The festival also included non-cheese related artisan foods such as, various breads and condiments, wine, cider and craft beer as well as many other offerings. It has been on hiatus since 2018.
With an increasing number of cultural activities — in part due to the emigration of top artists and chefs to the area – like the “Taste” celebration or “Six Barrels for Six Chefs”, the County has created a niche in the new Creative Economy. “It’s yet another point of pride for Prince Edward County, which has become the gastronomic capital of Ontario — a fertile island bursting with vineyards, organic farms and a community of artists and chefs. Tucked into the “golden triangle” between Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, it is the province’s newest Designated Viticultural Area, which helps identify the origin of a wine and its grapes.” (The Globe and Mail)
Events also include the Spring Birding Festival; Prince Edward County Authors’ Festival; the County Jazz Festival, a summer event; the Prince Edward County Music Festival (a chamber music series) held on the same fall weekend as the Prince Edward County Studio and Gallery Tour; “Music at Port Milford,” a summer music festival and school for string students from 12–18 years old, and an annual season of professional theatre produced by Festival Players of Prince Edward County.
One of the few surviving art-deco movie houses in Ontario, Picton’s downtown Regent Theatre, is host to a variety of plays, musicals and art movie screenings throughout the year. Prince Edward County has a live comedy scene with Taste That! producing regular improv and sketch comedy shows throughout the County since 2015, and the annual Comedy Country festival that pairs local acts with professional comedians from across Canada. The professional summer theatre company, Festival Players of Prince Edward County, provide a season of theatre for adults in July and August. Festival Players performs in their small 50-seat venue (The Studio Theatre) in the village of Wellington. There is a number of thriving community theatre groups in Prince Edward County. Prince Edward Community Theatre is a group specializing in plays ranging from the comedic to the deeply emotional, based mainly at Mount Tabor Playhouse in Milford. The Marysburgh Mummers is another group specializing more in children’s shows and lighter materials for adults, prioritizing actors who have not yet had a chance to “tread the boards”. Shatterbox Theatre is a volunteer-run theatre group that produces contemporary plays, primarily at The Regent Theatre. A drive-in movie theatre, The Mustang, is located north-west of Picton on Route 1.
Wineries, distilleries, and cider
Prince Edward County is home to many wineries, distilleries, and hard-cider companies. These include; Amanda’s Vineyards, Black Prince Winery, Broken Stone Winery, Chadsey’s Cairns Winery, Cape Winyard, Casa-Dea Estates Winery, Closson Chase Winery, County Cider Company, Del-Gatto Estates Ltd. Devils Wishbone Winery, Domaine Darius, Exultet Estates, Grange of Prince Edward Estate Winery, Gravel Hill Vineyards, Half Moon Bay Winery, Harwood Estate Wineyard, Hillier Creek Estates, Hinterland Wine Company, Hubbs Creek Vineyard, Huff Estates Winery, Karlo Estates, Keint-he Winery & Vineyard, Lacey Estates Winery, Lighthall Vineyards, Norman Hardie Winery, Rosehall Run, Sandbanks Winery, Stanners Vineyard, Sugarbush Vineyard, Thirty Three Vines Winery, Three Dog Winery, Trail Estate Winery, Traynor Family Vineyard, and Waupoos Estates Winery and Vineyard.
Driving south on Loyalist Highway 33 to the village of Wellington. Proudly displayed on billboards as you arrive in the small town of 1,700 — located 15 kilometers west of Picton in Prince Edward County — is ‘Home of the Dukes.’ Every season for the past dozen years the Wellington Dukes have finished at, or near the top of the II-tier league.
Prince Edward Community Centre located at 375 Main Street is where the Picton Pirates Junior C Hockey Team play their home games, Nicknamed the “Patcheyes”, the Picton Pirates were founded in 1989 as members of the Eastern Ontario Junior C Hockey League.
Picton recently won the 2011 Empire “B” Junior C Championship after beating 2nd place Amherstview Jets 4–3 in the best of 7 and 1st place and defending champions Napanee Raiders in their best of seven series 4–2. In the spring of 2013, The Pirates became the seventh team from Eastern Ontario since the 1930s to win the Ontario Hockey Association’s Schmalz Cup, emblematic of Junior C supremacy in the province. The Pirates defeated the Essex 73’s five games to one to capture the OHA title.
Prince Edward County is surrounded by just over 500 km of shoreline offering a dozen or more sheltered harbors and many facilities that cater to boating are located throughout, including full-service marinas. The County has a rich sailing history which can be discovered at Mariners Park Museum in South Marysburgh. For those interested in a broader collection of maritime material, Picton is also home to The Archives and Collections Society which offers more than fifty thousand documents on the Great Lakes and the sea, maritime history and navigation.
The Prince Edward County Yacht Club located in Picton Harbour offers a junior sailing program for children aged 10–18 using monohull dinghies which sail out into the Bay of Quinte. PECYC uses CYA certified instructors and successful students are granted CYA certificates.
Prince Edward County is in close proximity to top educational institutions in Kingston and Belleville including Queen’s University, the Royal Military College of Canada, St. Lawrence College and Loyalist College.
Primary and secondary
The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board serves close to 17,000 students each day at 46 elementary and eight secondary schools. The district covers a wide geographical area of 7,221 square kilometers bordered by Maynooth to the north, Deseronto to the east, Prince Edward County to the south and Quinte West to the west.
The Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board serve students of the Roman Catholic faith. Approximately 15,000 students attend 36 elementary schools and 5 secondary schools in this school district
Sonrise Christian Academy is located at 58 Johnson St. in Picton and offers K–8 education from a Biblical worldview to families in Prince Edward County.
Previously the Prince Edward County Board of Education served the county.
List of area schools
- C.M.L. Snider Public School
- Kente Public School
- Massassaga-Rednersville Public School
- Prince Edward Collegiate Institute
- Sophiasburgh Central School
- Athol-South Marysburgh Public School
- St. Gregory Catholic School
- Sonrise Christian Academy
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article “Prince Edward County Ontario, Canada”, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0