Hastings, ON to Orillia, ON


We have been in a repetitive groove. We wake up at dawn. I go for a run while Kent and Penny do their thing. We push off with the goal of hitting the first lock opening at 9am. We pull up to the blue line at the lock (this is the holding/waiting area), wait to be directed in, tie up, wait to get raised up, chat with the Parks Canada staff and then exit the lock when the gates open. We then repeat entering and exiting several locks as necessary for the day.

Kent and Penny waiting for a lock to open. We tie up to a blue line painted along the wall that indicates to the parks staff that we wish to lock through. The nice thing about these areas are that they are typically surrounded by grass and picnic tables so while we wait Penny gets to play ball. It’s also a nice way to indicate that you wish to lock through, no noisy VHF radios to communicate back and forth with.

Good thing we keep a log of each day as the Trent Severn Waterway (TSW) has become a bit of a blur. Below is where we stopped as well as mileage per day since the last post. 

Campbellford (lock 13) > Hastings (lock 18) 19 mi

> Ashburnham (lock 20) 38 mi 

>  Top of Peterborough (lock 21) 0.5 mi 

(not a typo, we traveled a whole 0.5 mi in a day! We wanted to spend a second day in Peterborough and so did 2 locks and stayed at the top of the big hydraulic lift lock for a second night.) 

> Top of Burleigh Falls (lock 28) 25 mi

> Bobcaygeon (lock 32) 24 mi

> Fenelon Falls (lock 32) 24 mi

> Bridge 50 (past lock 41) 27 mi

Lock 22 – Halfway through the TSW locks!

Not all locks are the same, some are older manual locks while others are hydraulic. One of the more exciting lock was the Peterborough lock (#21). This is the world’s tallest hydraulic lift lock which raises you 65 ft. Kent explains the lock as Heartbeat being placed in a giant bath tub that is then raised straight up in the air. It was a fast ride, taking about 90 seconds. 

At the Kirklfield lock (#36) we finally started to lock down. We were 840 feet above sea level and this one took us down just shy of 50 ft in what felt like was less than a minute. 

Space at the bottom or top of the lock walls and anchoring opportunities are limited so we never quite know where we will end up for the night. We talk through a Plan A and Plan B the night before and then can come up with an impromptu Plan C when needed. Some locks walls are more popular than others but we’ve yet to be at a spot that we haven't enjoyed.

 When Plan A and B didn’t work out on this day we ended up at Burleigh Falls (lock 28) with a lock wall spot and a big park all to ourselves. The lock happened to sell firewood and we had a campfire. It was not where we thought we would ended up that night but it needed up being a very nice spot.

Our first day in Peterborough we found out Ribfest was going on. Live music, beer and lots and lots of ribs. We enjoyed the music so much the first day we decided to stay a second night and visit the festival again the following day.  

Each lock has a dedicated staff of summer students that work through Labor Day and then head back to college. They of course are supervised by a Lockmaster and all seem to work 10 hr days/6 days a week. Cannot give enough praise for how friendly, informed and professional all of them are.

Parks Canada staff manually opening the lock gate open (check out the kid in the green shirt on the right). 

A lot of the original lock equipment is still in use. 

 Even the ducks can take the lock up.

Tour of Peterborough lift lock tower with the Parks Canada staff. This is the worlds tallest hydraulic lift. We got to push some of the buttons to open the gates! 

As we move through the TSW our scenery has changed from mostly canals and narrow rivers to now include passing through larger lakes.  The Clear Lake to Stony Lake area was simple spectacular, many small islands with houses built on each tiny one. A great summer escape tradition for many families. Other towns along the way cater to summer vacationers, it has been fun to explore what each town has to offer. 

Passing through Stony Lake. 

The town of Hastings is tiny but has this great community edible garden that is thriving in the summer weather. 

Fenelon Falls is a popular spot for local vacationers. We had a lot of curious people walking by, stopping and looking into our boat all day. Lack of privacy for sure until we pulled down the black out blinds! 

This is why it is called Fenelon Falls. 

We spent a slow day traveling from Fenelon Falls/lock 32 to just past lock 41 with several other boats. Much of the day was very narrow and very shallow. It is common to call out over the radio to other boaters to ensure there is not another boat coming toward you as there would not be room to easily pass each other. Picture is of the boat that was behind us as we all paraded through a narrow section. 

Our Canada red chair experiences continue. We have sat in 5 official red chair sets. It has been fun to see where these have been placed along the TSW. 

Penny and Heather just hanging out. 

Canada is experiencing the same heat wave(s) that the rest of North American is getting. The first few hours in the morning are typically nice, past 9am the temps creep up and the humidity flares to something nasty. Thunderclouds threaten to unleash in the afternoons and every few days they actually do dump rain. 

We keep cool as best we can. Penny often leads us to the local ice cream spot … it is all her fault.

Up next for us is a long weekend in the town of Orillia. No need to be out on the water with everyone else. From Orillia we will then finish the last section of the Trent Severn Waterway. 

Red is the portion of the TSW which we have completed, green is what we have left.