The Trent-Severn Canal
28 July 2019
Every day is a new kind of wonderful! Visiting cute towns, meeting new people, experiencing incredible locks. It really is such an amazing adventure.
I've mentioned it before and will say it again - We are so fortunate to be Land and Sea Nomads!
This leg of the adventure was the Trent-Severn Waterway. 241 miles long and 42 locks. Completed in 1920, this series of man made canals interlocks rivers and lakes in a zig zag pattern, connecting Lake Ontario to Lake Huron. The canal allows Loopers to stay off the big waters and cruise in more protected areas while enjoying interesting small towns along the way. Many of the locks are still manual hand crank mechanisms and there are a few quite unique locks in the mix. Because we took the longer Lake Champlain route we had already traversed many canals and 78 locks. For most Loopers this is the first Parks Canada canal system. The locks on this canal raised us from 244' above sea level to 841' at Balsam Lake. Kirkfield lift lock is the starting point for lowering traffic down to 578' to enter Georgian Bay on Lake Huron.
There were many wonderful stops and much docktail imbibing but two highlights stand out on this route. First was the Peterborough lift lock, the highest of its kind in the world. Most locks flood or drain water to adjust the level to match the waters in the direction you are traveling but this lock is unique. You drive into a tub and a swing gate seals the water in so that the tub with you in it goes up like an elevator car! After we rode up we tied to the wall at the top and had a tour of the control room and watched other boaters ride up, it was just amazing. The other very famous highlight was the Big Chute Marine Railway. We literally drove up onto a submerged rail car and were lifted slightly with a sling. This rail car then rode up out of the water, across a road and then down a hill. When we were back in water 58 feet lower on the other side, the sling straps loosened and we drove away. Truely a once in a lifetime experience.
We are still traveling with Bella Gatto and at a leisurely pace. Jayne, Jonathan and dog Bella are perfect buddy boat pals. With a similar speed and size, our slow moving routine had us moving early and enjoying small towns or quiet anchorages most afternoons. 13 days averaging less than 20 miles a day, we lunched at small diners, sampled the famed Butter Tarts, and had our fill of Poutine. There are those that do the loop in a few months but this is how cruisers should experience this amazing adventure.
This weekend will be spent at a marina cleaning and loading up on provisions before we start our tour of Georgian Bay and the North Channel. It seams like forever ago that we were planning this trip and the Great Lakes seamed so far off but here we are! Time for another celebratory drink.
So far we have gone 3773 nautical miles (4288 statute miles) and 120 locks on this wild and wonderful LOOP of ours.