Region 5: Get Away Country

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This region covers the Trent-Severn waterway and most of the Lakes/Rivers to the North of Lake Ontario between Toronto and Kingston. It does NOT include the Metropolitan Toronto region which is a separate Ministry Region.


Trent-Severn Waterway

A natural pathway of rivers and lakes leads from Port Severn on Geogian Bay, through Lake Simcoe and exiting into Lake Ontario at Trenton. Man made canals link the waterways into a continuous stretch of 400km of navigable water. Two of the lift-locks at Kirkfield and Peterborough are of an unusual design and worth visiting.

Peterborough is the largest city on the Trent-Severn waterway with a population of 62,000. It is also a gateway to the Kawartha Lakes cottage country. The lift-locks located in Peterborough are the largest in the world.

The whole canal and lake system offers plenty of diving. But the boat traffic can be a definite hazard and in many sections diving is prohibited during the season that the canal is open. High current can also be a problem in the rivers and canals.

Fenelon Falls

Fenelon falls is a relatively popular divesite. This peaceful and picturesque town offers a beautiful view of the river, locks and falls. Many dive clubs use the falls curtain as a place to train people in current dives. Divers should not try to approach the falls directly as plunging water can trap a diver in a recirculation.

Drift diving is a popular activity below the falls. The current is reasonably strong, and visibility is not terribly good. Piles of beer bottles often mark favourite fishing spots.

Further downtream are several railway cars submerged in the channel. Shore access to this divesite is somewhat restricted.

There are also several caves in the channel, that experienced divers have penetrated. It is foolish and quite likely to be suicidal for untrained divers to try to enter an underwater cave system. The point of no return is not measured in minutes, usually in seconds. Avoid the temptation if you hear of these features to seek them out.

Because the Waterway is a very active system, diving and swimming are usually prohibited during the active season. Check with the lockmaster before diving.

The Eastern End of Lake Ontario

Further east Belleville is located on the Bay of Quinte, an offshoot of Lake Ontario. It has a population of 36,000. It is one of several towns suitable to explore Prince Edward County's diving from.

Prince Edward County is the large Island projecting into the Lake on the Eastern end. Cut through by the Bay of Quinte, it formed a detour for ships. Not surprisingly many were wrecked in rounding the county.

The bulk of the wreck diving in the open lake is concentrated in vicinity of the county, and Eastward into the entrance of the St. Lawrence River near Kingston. Heading West from Trenton towards Oshawa the wreck dives offered by Lake Ontario are considerably less frequent.

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© M. Colautti 1996-1999, 2000

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