Canada 150 / PEC 225

2017 is a milestone year for Canada and Prince Edward County. In addition to celebrating Canada’s 150th, Prince Edward County is celebrating its 225th anniversary.  A number of community celebrations took place in 2017 to mark these momentous anniversaries. Recognizing the historical importance of 2017, County Council established the Canada 150 and Prince Edward County 225 Celebration Ad Hoc Committee to encourage participation in events while ensuring that legacy projects were established as a way of commemorating the significance of 2017.

The Canada 150 and Prince Edward County 225 Celebration Ad Hoc Committee

The Canada 150 and Prince Edward County 225 Celebration Ad Hoc Committee was instrumental in ensuring that the celebrations lived beyond 2017. A big thank-you to the committee members for their dedication, time, and enthusiasm to make this project a success.

Legacy Projects

Barn Quilt

A passionate artistic community, Prince Edward County is one of several communities in North America that has adopted a Barn Quilt Trail

More than one hundred barn quilts can be found throughout The County and a special PEC 225 barn quilt was commissioned as part of the PEC 225 legacy project. The commemorative quilt was designed and painted by the PEC Barn Quilts Trail and is located on the grounds of the historic Crystal Palace at the Picton Fairgrounds.

The quilt reflects The County’s agricultural history, landscapes and relationships:

  • The brown represents the earth and the furrows in our fields; the green our market crops; the red our apple orchards, strawberry fields, maple trees as well as the many red barns found throughout The County.
  • The light purple is a nod to The County’s abundant lilac groves and lavender fields, while the dark purple reflects the grapes in our vineyards.
  • The orange found in the quilt recalls pumpkins in the fields; the gold and yellow our barley crops, cornfields and unforgettable sunrises and sunsets.
  • Blue represents our spectacular County skies and the water that surrounds our island.
  • Finally, the red barn proudly displays the friendship star, painted to recognize the Indigenous Peoples who called this County home for many generations. The star’s purple and white tips are the colours of the flag of our neighbours and friends the Mohawks on the Tyendinaga Territory.


‌The official unveiling of the special PEC 225 Barn Quilt took place at a celebratory community picnic on July 16, 2017 - the official date of Prince Edward County's 225th anniversary. 


Tree Planting

To celebrate Canada’s 150th and Prince Edward County's 225th in a long-lasting and environmentally friendly way, a commemorative tree was planted in each of The County's wards in the fall of 2017. The trees will serve as a legacy of this special year for future generations to enjoy. Mayor Robert Quaiff, joined by members of the Canada 150 and Prince Edward County 225 Celebration Ad Hoc Committee, officially planted the first tree on October 18, 2017 at Benson Park in Picton. 

tree planting ceremony

L-R: Committee Members Ken Dewar and Peter Lockyer, Mayor Robert Quaiff, and Councillor and committee member Steve Ferguson planting the first tree at Benson Park in Picton. 

Look for these plaques around The County that accompany each of the following commemorative trees: 

  • Maple Tree, Benson Park, 56 King Street, Picton
  • Picton: Maple Tree, Skate park, 375 Main Street, Picton
  • Bloomfield: Maple Tree, Mill Pond Park, 17 Brick Street, Bloomfield
  • Wellington: Columnar Siberian Crabapple Tree, Wellington Heritage Museum, 290 Main Street, Wellington
  • Ameliasburgh: Maple Tree, Roblin Lake Park, 38 Coleman Street, Ameliasburgh
  • Maple Tree, Athol Town Hall: 1685 County Road 10, Cherry Valley
  • Maple Tree, HJ McFarland Memorial Home, County Road 49, Picton
  • Maple Tree, Jack Taylor Park, 65/79 Station Road, Hillier
  • North Marysburgh: Maple Tree, Rose House Museum, 3333 County Road 8, Waupoos
  • South Marysburgh: Maple Tree, Mariners Park Museum, 2065 County Road 13, South Bay
  • Sophiasburgh: Maple Tree, Centennial Park, 1417B County Road 15, Northport

Create Your Own Legacy

You’re encouraged to make your own mark. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Plant your own commemorative tree on your property for future generations to enjoy; you can purchase a plaque through Argyll Engraving in Picton.
  • Visit one of the many historic sites, galleries, conservation areas in Prince Edward County, or attend a local event
  • Host a “come home to The County” reunion
  • Create a time capsule that includes memories from 2017 including the Royal Visit, Canada Day, letters, coins, video or audio recordings. Whether you create a family or a group time capsule, the possibilities to commemorate 2017 are endless!

Royal Visit 2017

In June 2017, Their Royal Highnesses, Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla, visited Prince Edward County as part of their 2017 Royal Tour. Farm-to-table and shopping locally are key values that His Royal Highness was keen to bring awareness to as part of the royal tour. With Prince Edward County's vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and agricultural past and present, The County was a natural fit for the visit. 

Included in the visit was the Wellington Farmers’ Market and Norman Hardie Winery, where Their Royal Highnesses met with local artisans, growers, winemakers, producers and community leaders. They also had a number of opportunities to sample locally-made products and meet the talented individuals – a combination of long-time residents and new residents - who made them.

Following the Royal Visit, the Province of Ontario made a $5000 donation to the Wellington Foodbank in the names of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to commemorate their visit to the Wellington Farmer’s Market.

Royal Visit 2017 Photo Gallery

Royal Tour 2017
Royal Tour 2017


C3 Visit

In June 2017, Prince Edward County was included as the first stop on the Canada C3 Expedition journey – a Signature 150 Project – where a former ice-breaker ship sailed an epic 150-day journey from Toronto to Victoria, via the Northwest Passage. The expedition was designed to connect Canadians from coast to coast to coast while inspiring a deeper understanding of canada’s land, peoples and past, present and future. The ship moored in Picton for a night where those aboard disembarked and spent time exploring The County. Photographs from the Prince Edward County stop and the first leg of the voyage can be found here


History – 225 Years Strong

On July 16, 1792, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe, named a growing settlement on the banks of Lake Ontario after Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent, thus establishing the County of Prince Edward. Long home to indigenous peoples, this region of Upper Canada had recently been settled by United Empire Loyalists and was a key region in the forming of the government of the day.


Photo of John Graves Simcoe (left) and photo of Prince Edward Augustus of Kent (right) provided courtesy of Archives of Ontario.

Agricultural Roots

Deeply rooted in agriculture, in the early 1900’s one third of Canada’s canned fruits and vegetables came from Prince Edward County. In addition to canning, hops, dairy, apples, tomatoes and cheese are mainstays of our past. Today, there are still a number of traditional farms, though farming has expanded to include wineries (growing and harvesting grapes) and breweries (growing and harvesting hops). With more than 45 wineries and an emerging craft beer scene, Prince Edward County is quickly becoming a hub for drink in Ontario.

Indigenous History

During the 18th and early 19th Centuries, the Mississauga mainly inhabited The County, filling a void left by the Cayuga (of the Five Nations) who left the area in the late 17th century. Later, under British rule in 1763, The County became part of the land declared “Indian Country.”

The “Crawford Purchase” was made in 1783 with the British Government purchasing (from the Mississauga) lands along the north shores of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario to enable Loyalist settlement.  The British later acquired much of south-eastern Ontario with the “Gunshot Treaty” of 1787 made at The Carrying Place in Prince Edward County for the same purpose, leaving the Mississauga with very little in exchange, reportedly £2,000 and goods such as muskets, ammunition, tobacco, laced hats and “enough red cloth for 12 coats.”

After the American Revolution, The County was part of the territory offer to the Mohawk, allies of the British. However they chose land to the north, forming the Tyendinaga Mohawk Nation which continues to this day (Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte).  Many ties have been forged between The County and Tyendinaga in the years that have since passed.

Loyalist Architecture

Prince Edward County is known for its “Loyalist” style of architecture, particularly in house design.  With examples originating from the 1820s and 1830s, many architectural details are closely associated with the American Federal period.  Early County houses, therefore, exhibit a close relationship with their American cousins than elsewhere in the Province.   This is not surprising since early Loyalist settlers often maintained contact with their friends and family who remained behind in the United States.  The neo-Classic form of architecture flourished in the 1840s and 1850s, albeit with characteristic “County” details particular to the area.

Sir John A. Macdonald

John A. Macdonald was the first Prime Minister of Canada (1867-1873 and 1878-1891) and a leading figure in the events that created the British North America Act, the establishment of Canada as a nation on July 1, 1867. Macdonald’s father, Hugh, operated a mill at Stone Mills in Prince Edward County (now Glenora) for a brief period of time, and young John spent part of his childhood there (though he attended school in Kingston and boarded there). 

After deciding to pursue a career in law, John returned to Prince Edward County in 1833 at the age of eighteen to temporarily take over his cousin Lowther Macpherson’s law office in Hallowell (now Picton).  It was in the Prince Edward County Court House that Macdonald argued his first case, defending himself on an assault charge, which the court decided in his favour.  A sculpture of Sir John A. Macdonald can be found on Main Street in Picton that commemorates his early days in Prince Edward County. 

For more information on the history of Prince Edward County, visit the Museums of Prince Edward County - the keepers of 225 + years of history, artifacts, heritage gardens, parklands, orchards and outdoor exhibits. Five sites, hundreds of stories. Open May long weekend until the end of September.