Sunday morning we had to wait for Lock 32 Bobcaygeon which is operated hydraulically. This lock was the first one built on the Trent-Severn Waterway which runs right through the center of the village. We had rain this morning but it had stopped by the time we left the dock. There were to many boats waiting to lock up for us to fit in the first lock. So we stayed docked at Gordon Harbor until Jeff from Satori called and said there was room on the blue line at the lock wall. When we got there we tied the boat off on the port side (left) wall than Johnny and a house boat went into the lock so untied and we moved to the blue line on starboard side (right). I no more got the boat tied up and the lock tender said there was room for us in the lock so untied again and tied up in the lock, what a morning.
The channel before the lock is a very busy narrow channel. After the lock the main waterway route passes through a narrow channel for the next two miles.
Sturgeon Lake is a V-shaped lake with two arms, each about 9 miles long. The lake doesn’t widen out for the first mile and then it is only about 1 mile wide at best. Then seven miles on the lake the main route at the north end rounds sturgeon point to our starboard and heads to Fenelon Falls.
This was a beautiful narrow area with many cottages along the way. When we turned the corner we could smell cedar from all the cedar trees.
Heading west on the Trent-Severn Waterway after exiting Sturgeon Lake we rounded a corner and there was Lock 34 Fenelon Falls in the center of the Falls with the lock doors open. The walls are built from huge limestone block and the steps are large and steep. At one time Fenelon falls had two locks, but the new hydraulic lock 34 has replaced both locks and there is no longer lock 33.
The lock is located in the center of the busy tourist town of Fenelon Falls. Above the lock the wall can accommodate 15 to 20 boats with power and water available if you are one of the first boats to take advantage of it. When leaving the lock we anticipated congestion and there was little maneuvering room in the narrow channel.
Then we passed through the CNR Railroad Swing Bridge that is left open during the boating season into a very narrow marked channel which opened up into Cameron Lake.
Cameron Lake is only 2.5 miles to where it re-enters a narrow canal at Lighthouse Point. I didn’t see any lighthouse as we entered the canal. This is Lock 35 Rosedale we are almost 160 miles from Trenton and is the last lock to raise boats and the shortest with only a 4 foot lift. The entrance to the Rosedale lock passes along Deweys Island in a narrow channel. The narrow canal continues until we come to Balsam Lake the highest point in the system 598 feet in elevation above Trenton. From here it’s a 260 foot drop down to Georgian Bay.
Balsam Lake marks the highest point in the world that a boat can reach from the sea under its own power. Balsam Lake to Lake Simcoe will have us follow the route of the Talbot River and the many man-made canals that connect various lakes to get there. Crossing the wide open lake is a welcome stretch after being in the narrow channels. We are now entering the cuts which were the last canals made to complete the Trent-Severn in 1920. The waterway traverses Balsam Lake south of Grand Island, passes Long Point and cuts across West Bay.
Then it enters the narrow Trent Canal one of those narrow rock cuts all cruisers dread. The Trent Canal is a land cut through the Canadian Shield, a geological feature that cover half the country. All vessels 40 feet or longer are requested to radio a Securie call on VHS with your location and direction of travel before entering the canal. The canal is very narrow and shallow with six feet deep and we would have a hard time passing another large boat. It was hewn from rock and you can see the rocks to the side of our boat. Makes you want to stay in the center of the channel.
We are now on Mitchell Lake which is manmade and has a narrow winding channel. We have to be very careful to stay in the channel as the lake is very shallow and full of stumps. Once across Mitchell lake more of the Trent Canal awaits us as it leads to the waterways second pan lock Kirkfield which operates like the Peterborough lock but only 49 feet drop.
A park area, restored 1920s lock tenders watch house, and the current lock tenders station with restrooms are below the lock. This was more thrilling than the trip up the Peterborough lock. I was on the front of the boat as Kent maneuvered it into the pan. We were at the front of the pan and the edge was getting closer as we kept moving. It was time for Kent to stop the boat. The view from up here was over the top. When I looked down I saw fellow loopers tied on the wall. It was SeaQuest, The Lower Place, Tranquillity III, Satori, and Overtime they were waving to us. They are spending the night on the lock wall with no power. I wanted to stay and spend the night but there was no room for two boats. Past the Kirkfield Lock, channel markers reverse for the downstream run. We needed to keep red buoys to port and green to starboard as we head to Port Severn.
This is Canal Lake another shallow, manmade lake. The farmland spreading out along the first half of the lake are in sharp contrast to the cottages close together on the shore of the second half.
Then we came to the waterway passes under a picturesque, perfect half circle arch bridge. The Wall Bridge called Hole in the Wall was built-in 1905 of concrete and is 28 feet tall. This is a historic engineering marvel, but as we approach the hole it doesn’t look that big at all. It was pretty amazing going through a whole on the water made of concrete.
Then we went through the swing bridge ( the operator saw us coming) as it was opened when we reached it. The area after the bridge was beautiful lined with homes and small inlets.
We are now docked at Sunset Cove Marina for one night prior to the upcoming five lock journey, before lake Simcoe. We had rain off and on all night but it had stopped this morning when we were ready to leave.
When we left Sunset cove Marina we had to go through the Booster Rd. Swing Bridge and our first Lock 37 Bolsover of the day. We are now locking downstream so will come in at the top of the locks and the lock staff assisted us with looping our line around the cable and handing them back. The first lock is a 22-foot vertical drop.
The next four locks took about 2 hours to traverse, Talbot Lock 38 is 14-foot and one mile from Lock 37 in a quiet, rural setting.
After leaving this lock the Talbot River turns into the narrow Trent Canal. I just stayed on the front of the boat and enjoyed the scenery.
Portage lock 39 is very isolated in a park-like setting with shade trees and picnic tables, but with no public road access to the lock. As we were heading for the lock we passed this home with the red phone both in his yard. Thorah Lock 40 is .5 miles away and then you have Gamebridge Lock 41, the Talbot River crosses the Trent canal, winds it’s way south and then heads to Lake Simcoe.
Lake Simcoe is 20 miles long and 16 miles wide the fourth largest Lake Wholly in the province of Ontario, Canada and the largest lake on the Trent-Severn. Lake Simcoe is a remnant of a much bigger prehistoric lake know as Lake Algonquin. This Lake’s basin also included Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Nipigion, and Lake Nipissing. The melting of an ice dam at the close of the last ice age greatly reduced water levels in the region, leaving the lakes of today. Lake Simcoe is a large body of water and you don’t want to cross it with wind or storms as it can produce 8 foot waves.
The waterways route through Lake Simcoe was well-marked by lighted buoys as far as The Narrows at the northern tip. Once we were in the narrows we passed under two bridges the Jake Gaudaur Hwy bridge and the CNR Railroad swing Bridge.
Beyond the Narrows is shallow Lake Couchiching. The lake is about 10 miles long and has an average depth of 9 feet and is just beautiful. When we looked down in the water this is what we saw, how beautiful is this. Look at how clean this water is, we will not see any dirty water until we reach the Illinois River. We are staying at Port Orillia for a few days.
Orillia is situated in the eastern-most portion of the lands of the former Wendat Confederacy, now known as Huron. The major canoe routes and ancient overland trails intersecting here made it a popular historical gathering place used by First Nations, fur traders, explorers and early European settlers. Orillia was incorporated as a village in 1867. By 1900 Orillia was one of the most bustling towns in Ontario. Many of the commercial and residential buildings used red brick and limestone quarried from Longford in their construction. The town boasted an opera house second to none north of Toronto along with industrial growth almost unparalleled in the province.
Maple masterpieces celebrating Canada’s 150 Years with the most colored and creative streetscape and public art exhibit. Orillia 50 stunning Maple leaf sculpture that celebrate our 150 years are on display throughout the city. Each metal maple has been brought to life by a local artist. They were all different this is only a couple of the Maples at the marina.
Karen this is for you a Royal Canadian Legion Branch 34.
We have 9 looper boats at the marina and we decided to all go to dinner at Studebaker. Kent was happy he got ribs and wings together called the six-pack. Tuesday Liz and I walked around down town, they have a lot of places to eat and some small boutique stores. We stopped at Metro for groceries and headed back to the boat. We had dock tails scheduled for 5 but had to wait until 5:30 due to rain. We had a great time visiting with everybody.