Our Experience On A Kawartha Lakes Ontario Day Trip In The Summer Of Covid-19
We headed off for a Kawartha Lakes Ontario day trip in the summer of Covid-19. It felt great was we escaped the big city. Along the way we stopped in several small towns. And saw a few of the locks on the Trent-Severn Waterway. We even found some tasty treats as we followed the butter tart tour map.
We enjoyed our day trip to Erie Lake at the beginning of the summer of Covid-19. It reminded us how great it was to get out of the city. We were delighted that we felt safe as we travelled around the Kawartha Lakes region after Ontario opened back up.
Enjoy The Ontario Countryside
Ontario is a big province in Canada with over 14 million people. The large metropolitan area of Toronto is a huge urban area with almost 6 million. But in under an hour, we left the city behind and we were in the wide open countryside.
Heading east to the Kawartha Lakes area for our day trip, we soon found farmland. The corn fields were ripe. And we saw cows as they moved through the fields in unison looking like lawn mowers.
We saw hay all wrapped in plastic. When we travelled through the countryside in Norway, they were referred to as “troll toilet paper”. So I now laughed whenever I saw them.
Even in the late heat of summer, we found flowers in bloom everywhere we stopped. It added some colour to our day. But for those of you who suffered like I did from fall hay fever, we also found ragweed had started to bloom. I stayed far away from these yellow strips of weed.
We lived in the big city. So a day out in the country was always a great break. Especially in the summer of Covid-19. A Kawartha Lakes Ontario day trip brought us wide open spaces.
The Butter Tart Is A Canadian Favourite Sweet Treat
We were delighted when we found that there was a butter tart (or buttertart) tour in the Kawartha Lakes region in Ontario. Butter tarts are a Canadian sweet treat made with a mix of butter, sugar, syrup, and eggs in a pastry shell. But while the ingredients were simple, the variation in butter tarts was immense!
Canadian butter tarts often used really good maple syrup as a key ingredient. Traditionalists ate butter tarts without any additions. But even a basic butter tart varied in the pastry for the shells. And in how gooey and runny the inside was. The gooier the better for me! Simple varieties added pecans or raisins. But on this trip we also found butter tarts with peanut butter and with dark chocolate pieces.
We had a favourite butter tart spot when we visited cottage country in Muskoka north of Toronto. When I was doing solo flights as a private pilot, we once flew into Lindsay just for a butter tart! So we have been known to travel for butter tarts!
On this day trip to Kawartha Lakes we planned to sample a few of the spots on the butter tart tour. I put a bunch on my offline map app and we navigated using those stops. We even saw a few trophies for past butter tart winners!
Follow The Butter Tart Trail In Kawartha Lakes Ontario
We started in the small town of Goodwin. As you will read later, this is the small Ontario town where the Canadian tv hit Schitt’s Creek was set. Annina’s Bakeshop sat across from the show settings. There was a great selection of baked goods and other products. David really wanted one of the chocolate treats. But we were there for butter tarts.
I took a more traditional version with raisins. But David chose the chocolate peanut butter tart. There was a large grass patio area where we enjoyed our treats.
When we stopped in Lindsay, we found the Boiling Over’s Coffee Vault on the town’s classic main street. This was a standard corner store that used to be a bank but still had the bank vault. We were disappointed when we learned that butter tarts were all sold out. Often a challenge by mid-afternoon for really good baked goods! We settled for a healthier coffee option.
As we wound our way through the small towns on our Kawartha Lakes Ontario day trip, we passed on some of the bakeries on my map. After all, there were only so many butter tarts we could eat in one day. But when we saw the fun Cujo moose outside of Buttertarts ‘N More in Little Britain we had to stop.
We were very glad we made this decision. We bought one butter tart to share. Since David picked, of course it had dark chocolate pieces on top. And with the first bite, we knew we found a winner. We were tempted to go back for a box to take home!
When we followed the butter tart tour, we found a sweet and tasty side of the Kawartha Lakes in Ontario.
Explore Port Perry and Fenelon Falls
The first town we stopped at on our Kawartha Lakes Ontario day trip was Port Perry. We drove down the main drag and then wandered on the walkway along Lake Scugog. We found lots of green space by the water. People fished on the pier and it reminded us of our day trip to Lake Erie. We were happily surprised when we found it not teaming with people. It felt so much better than when we walked along Lake Ontario at home in Toronto!
From Port Perry we continued around Lake Scugog to Fenelon Falls. We found a patio table at The Locker with a view out over the falls. It was great to take our healthy lunch break with such a view. We hoped the salad for lunch helped balance our sugar intake for the day.
After lunch we set off and explored the falls from the parkland. We found the most delightful butterfly park benches with a view.
We checked our map and headed off as we explored more on our Kawartha Lakes Ontario day trip.
Check Out The Small Towns In The Kawartha Lakes Region
When we travelled around Ontario, we loved the traditional small town main streets. We were welcomed to Lindsay with a wall mural. After our coffee stop at Boiling Over’s Coffee Vault, we wandered along the picturesque street.
We stopped for our final small town and walked the main street in Bobcaygeon. We had finished our butter tart tasting for this trip. But we did not pass on a final ice cream treat as we watched small town life around us.
We stopped regularly in the small towns on our Kawartha Lakes Ontario day trip. It was a great way to break up the day. And we enjoyed the charming and not crowded small towns.
The Trent-Severn Waterway
The Trent-Severn Waterway covered 386 km (240 miles) . There were 44 locks that moved boats from Trenton on Lake Ontario to Port Severn on Georgian Bay. The locks along the waterway varied. And on our travels around Ontario we saw many of the more unique ones.
When we went north to cottage country in the Muskoka area, we made sure and stopped at the Big Chute Marine Railway outside of Coldwater. Boats were put on a sling and taken out of the water. They then travelled over a railway line to water on the other side of the rocks.
On our Kawartha Lakes Ontario day trip many of the small towns we visited were the site of locks on the Trent-Severn Waterway. Most of the locks were traditional locks operated by gravity. Values controlled water in and out of a chamber which raised or lowered the water. The valves that controlled the water were opened and closed manually by the lock operators.
The locks we saw on this trip were similar but varied only on the height of the lock. But on our last stop, we saw another of the engineering marvels on the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Locks On The Trent-Severn Waterway
Our first stop on the Trent-Severn Waterway was at Lock 33 in Lindsay. It was a typical lock layout with the lock on one side and the non-navigable water on the other side. This lock only had a 7 foot difference in elevation. We saw no boats at this lock. But when we checked, we found that the Trent-Severn Waterway was indeed open in this summer of Covid-19.
The next lock we explored was Lock 34 in Fenelon Falls. Boats were lined up at both sides for the 24 feet change in elevation. A small island was between the lock channel and the falls. A pathway went under the road and offered a view of the bottom of the lock.
We next stopped at Lock 32 in Bobcaygeon. As we walked across the small bridge at the lock we heard bells clang and we were asked to quickly cross. This was a swing bridge that moved to open the channel for higher boats. We watched as the bridge swung and a bigger boat went through.
The boats entered the lock and the channel was filled. After this small lock filled, the boats drove off. Several times we saw the big houseboats as they moved along the Trent-Severn Waterway. We saw houseboats rented by both Happy Days Houseboat Rentals and Egan Houseboat Rentals. One day we wanted to rent a boat and travel along the Trent-Severn Waterway.
On our Kawartha Lakes Ontario day trip it was fun to stop and watch the boats as they transited through the series of locks on the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Marvel At The Engineering Of the Locks On The Trent-Severn Waterway
Our last stop on this trip was Lock 21 in Peterborough. This was the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world. We were sad when we realized that the lift and the visitor’s centre were closed for the night when we arrived.
We walked around and saw the big “buckets” that filled with water and boats. When one bucket went up, the other went down for 65 feet. It was always fun to watch this lock in operation. And even more fun the one time I was in a boat as it went through this lock!
A visit to the the Peterborough Lift Lock was always a treat on a Kawartha Lakes Ontario day trip.
Plan To Explore The Trans Canada Trail
As we rolled along one of the roads in the Kawartha Lakes region we were drawn in by a fun totem poles on the side of the road.
When we got out we saw the sign marking this as a stop on the Trans Canada Trail. The Trans Canada Trail (or Great Trail) actually covered about 27,000 km (about 16,777 miles) across Canada. The trail was used to hike, cycle, cross-country ski or snowmobile depending on the season.
In this part of Ontario, the map marked several interesting spots to stop along the path. Several of the sights were close to the road and a short walk would let you see them. Although we thought on our next visit we might bring our ebikes and cycle a longer section.
Time exploring the Trans Canada Trail was definitely something for another day trip to the Kawartha Lakes region.
Visit The Setting For The Schitt’$ Creek TV Show
We were sometimes intrigued when we visited places that were major sets for tv or movies. The small town of Steveston outside of Vancouver was where the tv show Storybrook was filmed. It was fun when we visited Steveston and saw key Storybrook sets we recognized.
In this summer of Covid-19, we watched far too much tv. One of the shows we discovered was the Canadian sitcom Schitt’$ Creek. The show went on for 6 seasons and garnered many awards. It told the story of the Rose Family after they lost their fortune. They rebuilt their lives with their last remaining asset, the small town named Schitt’s Creek.
This half hour show was set in a typical small town in Canada. When we looked it up, we found that many of the building exteriors were in the small town of Goodwood. And Goodwood was a short detour on our Kawartha Lakes Ontario day trip.
We immediately recognized the building fronts for the Cafe Tropical, Rose Apothecary and Bob’s Garage. But we did not find the motel that played a key role in this tv show. And sadly, the sets were no longer in use.
Our stop in Goodwood provided a different experience on our day trip in the Kawartha Lakes area.
A Safe Experience In The Summer Of Covid-19
In the summer of Covid-19 we did our first day trip to the Lake Erie region. It was early in the re-opening of Ontario and we were concerned with what looked like a pretty lax attitude about the virus risk. We really worried about what it might be like later in the summer as Ontario reached Stage 3. So we approached this day trip to the Kawartha Lakes region with a bit of concern about even travelling locally.
Masks were not universally mandated for the whole province of Ontario. Each region made its own mask rules based on local infection levels and risk tolerance. But as we travelled through the Kawartha Lakes area, we were pleased when we saw the high level of mask use. Even the bear had a mask.
All of the commercial establishments we visited required masks and social distancing inside. In many instances we saw people with masks as they walked outside. Several times we saw people put on masks as they approached a crowded area. Many small children wore masks. Perhaps to prepare them for a return to school.
Only once did we shake our heads with complete wonderment. A young couple headed into a restaurant with their t-shirts pulled over their mouths and were not turned away. We wondered whether they read any health advice at all. We just hoped that our contact tracing information was not used to call us because of this pair!
At one spot we stopped, we even found Lysol wipes in the bathroom. They were not available anywhere in Toronto. And even though we stopped at a few spots to check, we never found them on store shelves in the Kawartha region either.
We were happy we had a safe experience in the summer of Covid-19. It certainly encouraged us to plan another Kawartha Lakes Ontario day trip.
A Great Experience On A Kawartha Lakes Ontario Day Trip In The Summer Of Covid-19
Our day trip took about us 400 km (~250 miles) and we were gone for 10 hours. We saw a lot on our trip. But there was much left to see on a return visit.
We had a great experience on our Kawartha Lakes Ontario day trip. At every stop we felt safe travelling locally in this summer of Covid-19. The countryside and small towns were delightful and surprisingly uncrowded. But then, we visited mid-week to avoid weekend peaks. It was great to be out of the city. And we had several tasty breaks as we followed the butter tart trail.
We always loved the chance to see locks in action. We sure wished we were on one of the many boats we saw. It would be fun to rent a boat and travel along the Trent-Severn Waterway one day.
We were already planning our next Ontario day trip to Lake Huron and Lake St Clair.
Did you try a Kawartha Lakes Ontario day trip in the summer of Covid-19? Did you have a favourite small town? PIN To Pinterest: