HERITAGE TOUR - Southern Rideau
Kingston via Hwy. 15 to Kingston Mills - Leaving from City Hall, drive north down Ontario Street, over the bridge crossing the entrance to the Rideau Waterway, past Royal Military College and Old Fort Henry, and turn left at the lights (at the top of the hill) onto Highway 15. Take Hwy. 15 over Hwy. 401 and over the railway tracks and turn left, following the signs for Kingston Mills. Kingston Mills is the first lockstation at the southern end of the Rideau Waterway. It features the beautiful masonry stonework of all the locks, expansive lawns, and one of four blockhouses along the Rideau. Take a tour through the interpretive centre to find out why and how the locks were constructed. There are four locks at Kingston Mills, chances are you will be able to see some boats locking through. Watch the locks in action and ask the canal staff for details on how they work. You are watching living history, these locks work today exactly as they did when first opened in 1832.
Kingston Mills via Hwy. 15 north, turn right onto Cty. Rd. 33 to Lyndhurst - In Lyndhurst you will cross over one of the earliest stone bridges built in the region. Originally known as Furnace Falls, Lyndhurst was founded in 1800 as the location for the first iron works in Upper Canada. The iron foundry was in operation from 1801 until it burned down in 1811. The present stone bridge was built in 1856, the third bridge since 1800. In 1986 is was structurally re-enforced with concrete with the exterior restored to its original appearance. A feature of the town is St. Lukes Anglican Church, built in 1882.
Lyndhurst via Cty. Rd. 33 to Cty. Rd. 42 and turn left to Delta - Originally settled by United Empire Loyalists, as were many of the communities in the region, Delta was first known as Stevenstown. After the mill was built in 1810, it became known as Stone Mills, then in 1827 it was called Beverley in honour of Chief Justice John Beverley Robinson. In 1886, when an application for a post office was made, it was found that the name Beverley was already taken, so the name was changed to Delta. Your first stop should be the Old Stone Mill National Historic Site, you can't miss it, it's a very impressive building right beside the main road near the north end of town. Many of the communities along the Rideau got their start by being near fast running water, the ideal location for a mill. Mills were mainly used for the sawing of wood (sawmills) or the grinding of grain (grist mills). The Old Stone Mill in Delta was a grist mill. After your tour of the mill, pick up the "Walking Tour of Delta" brochure for more things to do and see in Delta.
Delta continue north on Cty. Rd. 42 to Forfar - Your next stop will be the Forfar Dairy store, originally a cheese factory. It is at the west end of town, just after Cty. Rd. 42 makes a sharp turn to the left. The present building dates back to 1923, but there were three previous factories, dating back to the mid 1800s, located in Forfar. At one time there were 80 cheese factories in the county. Pick up a delicious taste of eastern Ontario for yourself and give the kids some freshly made cheese curd (fresh curd squeaks as you chew it).
Forfar via Cty. Rd. 42 to Crosby, then Hwy. 15 south to Cty. Rd. 9, to Chaffey's Lock - This tiny community hosts a lovely lock, a swing bridge, a grist mill, a defensible lockmaster's house, and the historic Opinicon Hotel. Stop at the lock, have a look at boats locking through and then visit the Locksmaster's House, now a museum. After your tour of the museum, take a leisurely walk over the bridge to look at the old grist mill, built in 1870. Then come back and visit the Opinicon, originally built as in the late 1800s as a tourist lodge. If it is getting late, you might want to consider having dinner at the Opinicon (if you haven't stuffed yourself with Forfar cheese).
Chaffey's Lock to Kingston - For a smooth ride, backtrack on Cty. Rd. 9 to Hwy. 15 and head south to Kingston. It will take about 50 minutes. The more adventuresome will want to take the scenic route, crossing the bridge at Chaffeys, and heading along a winding road, with some gravel, to Cty. Rd. 10, and then taking Cty. Rd. 10 south to Kingston. This will take a bit longer, allow an hour.