I’ve often walked along one of the trails that heads out along the north side of the Murray Canal to the eastern end, where it opens onto the Bay of Quinte at 12 O’Clock Point. It’s actually more of a dirt road than a trail, but the point is that it’s one of two trails – the other on the south side of the canal, starting behind the operator station for the Carrying Place swing bridge.
This is also actually more of a dirt road than a trail, but what the heck – it’s pretty, it’s quiet, and there are a few interesting things to see along the way, a few surprises that you would never see if you just whizzed along the highway and did not take the time to do a bit of exploring.
The Murray Canal runs from the western end of the Bay of Quinte to Presqu’ile Bay which opens into Lake Ontario. It is approximately 8 kilometres (5 mi) in length. The canal shortens the trip by boats by avoiding having to go around the whole of the isthmus of Prince Edward County.
The canal was proposed as early as 1796 and land was set aside by the government of Upper Canada. However, the Welland Canal and theRideau Canal were seen as more important and construction was delayed. Construction was begun in 1882 and because of problems with unstable banks it took till 1889 to complete the canal.The canal saw many years of use with coal and other commercial boats but with the advent in the 1950’s of the Saint Lawrence Seaway the traffic declined.
Today, the canal is operated by Parks Canada.
Above, looking out onto the Bay of Quinte, and below, looking back up the canal toward Carrying Place.
All images © 2012 CKB