Day Trips

Fancy Free offers dozens of options if you want to hop into the car instead of the boat. This part of Eastern Ontario is full of history and scenic beauty.

Explore the many places of interest within easy driving distance of Fancy Free, and use the island as your home base for the night.

Rideau Canal lockstation. Photo courtesy of Ottawa Citizen.
Rideau Canal lockstation. Photo courtesy of Ottawa Citizen.

Fancy Free Island is located in the heart of the Big Rideau Canal system, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Rideau Canal system’s ingenious sets of locks, finely carved by Scottish stone masons in the 1830’s, are still in good working order today under the guardianship of Parks Canada. They are open for public use from May to Thanksgiving. Watching the locks being manually opened and closed by Parks Canada attendants using the original mechanisms from the 19th century fascinates young and old alike.

Here are some other favourite excursions:

Visit country antique shops- Eastern Ontario is United Empire Loyalist country and antiques are everywhere, at very reasonable prices.

In nearby Smiths Falls, twenty minutes away, you can experience the interactive Rideau Canal Museum and the Railway Museum.

Visit local towns and villages:

Tay River
Perth, voted “prettiest village in Ontario”
  • admire the unique stone buildings of Perth (voted ‘prettiest village in Ontario,’) Merrickville and Westport.
  • in Gananoque, the gateway to the Thousand Islands, you can take a river cruise on the St. Lawrence, catch a play at the Thousand Island Playhouse, and learn about the history of this spectacular area in the Thousand Islands Museum.

Kingston

Kingston offers historic Fort Henry, delightful shops and restaurants, and an authentic farmers’ market on Saturdays.

Tour the Rideau Canal System and see

  • the famous locks of the historic Rideau Canal Scenic Waterway,
  • the Whispering Dam at Jones Falls
  • the historic village of Merrickville, with the oldest working forge in Ontario and a blockhouse-style fort tower dating from the 1830’s.