The Rideau Lakes and Rideau Canal District of Eastern Ontario is an amazing region which combines uniquely well-preserved natural beauty (and a resulting huge variety of outdoor, and other, activities) with fascinating glimpses into the region's (and Ontario's) rich history.
The region is primarily defined by its proximity to the Rideau Canal Waterway and its location within the "Frontenac Arch", a NW-SE trending geological ridge of ancient granite which joins the Adirondack Mountains to the Canadian Shield from Algonquin Park, across the east end of Lake Ontario. In 2002, the Frontenac Arch became a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and, in 2007, the Rideau Canal Waterway, which runs along the northern boundary and through the heart of the Biosphere, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Rideau Canal Waterway, constructed after the War of 1812 to provide a secure shipping alternative to the St. Lawrence River, links a string of scenic rivers and pristine lakes as it snakes its way through towns, farms and woodlands for 202 km (126 miles) between Canada’s capital (Ottawa) and the city of Kingston on Lake Ontario. Our area is host to six Rideau Canal Lockstations and 65 km of some of the most picturesque countryside along the Canal. Over 50,000 boats per year transect the quiet waters of the Canal system.
Our B&B is located approximately 6 km from the Village of Portland, situated on Big Rideau Lake which lies between the Narrows and Poonamalie Lockstations of the Waterway. Guests can easily access Big Rideau Lake (and the Waterway) by car (or even by bike) if traveling by road, or could stay with us as a stopover while traveling the Rideau system by boat (a fantastic trip!). Each winter, Portland is home to an annual speed skating marathon called “Skate the Lake” which draws competitors from all over the world. At the other end of Rideau Lake, about 25 minutes drive from Harlem Stonegate, is the beautiful Village of Westport. The Village offers restaurants, shopping, and more recently, a winery.
Because of its location in the historic Frontenac Arch Biosphere, and its relatively easy driving access from Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Montreal and northern New York State, our area offers an amazing variety of fantastic outdoor (and other) activities. Hiking opportunities exist on numerous trail systems which ramble through the forests of the area. A number of outstanding canoe routes exist as well, based on the quiet and unique waters of the area, including Frontenac Provincial Park, other area provincial parks, and the pristine waters of the Rideau system. The quiet, bucolic nature of area roads provides a perfect backdrop for cycling outings and tours. A number of routes exist in the area and many have been marked off and described in guides.
Here is a listing of some of the activities we recommend in the area.