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Cruising The Trent-Severn Waterway

Stretching nearly 400km from Trenton, through Peterborough and central Ontario to Port Severn, the Trent-Severn Waterway is the cruiser’s passage from the Eastern part of the Great Lakes to Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. It is one of the most popular cruising trips in Ontario, and is accessible for everything from canoes and kayaks to houseboats and powerboats. It is also a way for boats to get from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay if they can’t go through the Welland Canal.

The waterway is 386km long, with approximately 20km of man-made canals. It was constructed in the 19th century as a military waterway, but long since has become recreational. There are 45 locks, including 36 conventional locks, two sets of flight locks, hydraulic lift locks at Peterborough and Kirkfield, and a marine railway at Big Chute which transports boats between the upper and lower sections of the Severn. The system also includes 39 swing bridges and 160 dams and control structures that manage the water levels for flood control and navigation on lakes and rivers that drain approximately 18,600 square kilometres (7,182 sq mi) of central Ontario’s cottage country region.

Unsurprisingly due its popularity, there are a number of cruising guides. PORTS Cruising Guide Trent-Severn released a new edition in 2016. The Skipper Bob Cruising Guide Cruising the Trent-Severn, Georgian Bay and North Channel is also very popular, and likewise has a new edition for 2016.

Charts are needed for the Trent-Severn Waterway, and can be found here.

The Trent-Severn Waterway is managed by Parks Canada, and information regarding access and fees can be found here.


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