The area of Eastern Ontario along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River has a lot to offer. Take your time exploring the region and consider spending a night or two in one of the several picturesque campgrounds or inns, lodges and B&Bs that are dotted along the river.
When you are driving along the boring MacDonald-Cartier Highway (a.k.a. the 401) between Montreal and Toronto exit at Ganonoque or Brockville or Cornwall depending on the direction you are going. If you are on your way to or from the United States you will be crossing at a short drive downriver from Gananoque, or at Cornwall or Prescott.
At Cornwall the gateway to Canada from the United States is the Three Nations Crossing where you will dip down from the bridge onto First Nations land on Cornwall Island before taking a second bridge to Cornwall itself. It is on Cornwall Island that the annual Akwesasne Internation Pow-Wow is held on the second weekend in September. It’s a grand event with plenty of dancing – you might even have the courage to take part in a couple of special dances – and drumming with good food and a vendors’ area.
The city of Cornwall used to be a rather smelly industrial city but now the heavy industry has departed to be replaced by more environmentally friendly manufacturing. At about the time the city was transforming itself industrially it created a very fine waterfront park through which passes the Waterfront Trail Recreational Path. It is actually part of a 105 km bike and walking path that begins at the Ontario border with Quebec and follows along the St. Lawrence to Cornwall and beyond to Long Sault and on to Upper Canada Village. You can also ride or walk on a new section of the path that runs north from Cornwall to the picturesque town of St. Andrews West.
For golfers there is a wide range of choice of great courses in the Cornwall area. Check out the Cornwall Golf & Country Club or the four-star Upper Canada Golf Course near Upper Canada Village. Cornwall is the hub from which you can explore the surrounding countryside.
I highly recommended two unique attractions of the region. One is the Glengarry Highland Games held in August. It includes North America’s largest performance of massed pipe bands. You can’t help but be stirred by the pipe music, amazed by the highstepping highland dancers and thankful that you can just watch – no participation necessary – as highland athletes toss the caber, a telephone-pole sized log thrown end over end.
A not-to-be-missed attraction near Cornwall is the very popular Upper Canada Village. It is Canada’s first and largest historic village. The village was founded when the St. Lawrence Seaway construction flooded many nearby villages and towns. The best of heritage structures were saved by being moved to the village site and restored to their original condition. Over the years more and more threat