TOWNS ON THE PERIPHERY OF “THE COUNTY” – PORT HOPE, COBOURG, TRENTON & BELLEVILLE

There’s much to see and do on your way to Prince Edward County.  By following Highway #2 you’ll pass through several historic towns and villages – each offering lots of gingerbread architecture, galleries, museums – as well as better-than-average cafes and restaurants.          PORT HOPE – the Capitol Theatre, 20 Queen Street, is one of Canada’s last remaining “atmospheric” theatres. The interior gives the illusion of sitting in a medieval courtyard under twinkling stars and moving clouds. Restored to its original splendour.

DRIVE-IN9

PORT HOPE Drive-In Theatre, founded in 1947, is one of the oldest continuously operated drive-ins in Canada. 2141 Theatre Road, between Port Hope and Cobourg.

PORT HOPE is also home to the Canadian Fire Fighters Museum, 95 Mill Street South.

COBOURG – the largest town and county seat of Northumberland, founded by United Empire Loyalists in 1798. Standing in the heart of downtown and visible from just about everywhere, is Victoria Hall designed by architect Kivas Tully. Inside you’ll find the fine Art Gallery of Northumberland, the Cobourg Concert Hall and a courtroom now used as the Council chamber.

COBOURG is also home to Dressler House, 212 King Street West. At one time MARIE DRESSLER was the highest paid movie star, even earning more than GRETA GARBO. In 1930 she won an Oscar for Best Actress, and was the first film star to appear on the cover of TIME, August 7, 1933.

COBOURG boasts one of the largest collections of vintage architectural artifacts, hardware, antique lighting and building materials. It’s all for sale. LEGACY is open Thursday to Sunday at 540 Division Street.

COBOURG restaurants – there are many. My favourites were The Butter Milk Cafe for breakfast and lunch & 92King for dinner and sitting on the patio while watching the world go by.

TRENTON is quite large (population 20,000) and is the starting point for the Trent-Severn Waterway. It was an important film production centre around 1917 when a studio was built and a number of movies were made here. It’s home to the RCAF Trenton Air Force base, and Highway #2 passes right by it.

BELLEVILLE is the largest city in the region (population 50,000). It’s located at the mouth of the Moira River on the Bay of Quinte.

What fascinated me about Belleville was Front Street, which is being totally rebuilt this year. For aficionados of construction, unobstructed storefronts, and Victorian commercial architecture, this could be a worthwhile stop. Front Street is all about local business – no chain stores here.

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