Scenery, Friendly Faces and... Donuts?

An American Visitor Takes In the Pleasures of the Trent-Severn Waterway

As Americans cruising the Great Loop, the circumnavigation route around the eastern third of North America, one of our most highly anticipated locales was the Trent-Severn Waterway in Ontario, Canada. We arrived in Quinte West on our 45-foot long diesel trawler, Why Knot, along with five other crews on their own boats, back in July of 2012. We were a flotilla of friends looking forward to a great adventure.


Campbellford, Ontario, our destination on the first day in the waterway, was a beautiful place; a grand example of the charm of the entire waterway and the hospitality of our Canadian friends. There are low cost walls that a boat can tie up to on both sides of the river just south of a road bridge connecting the two sides. We stayed on the west wall. Some of the boats were on the east side to take advantage of 50-amp electrical power available over there. Why Knot can operate on either 30 amp, which is available on the west side, or 50 amp, so we stayed on the west side where the washroom facilities and a park are nearby.

Our armada 20 miles out watching for crab pots

We had to do a few errands. Most important of which was to get our fender situation set up better. Going through a lock on the Trent-Severn is fender-intensive as your boat is in contact with the lock's concrete wall, bouncing and rubbing all the way up or down. While there were no marine stores in town, they do have a Canadian Tire location just a few minutes from our wall. The best way to describe a Canadian Tire store is to say it’s like a mini-Walmart and Home Depot rolled into one. They had everything! We were able to find a lot of things that we needed including fenders and lines, as well as a bunch of kitchen/galley/salon stuff that had been on our shopping radar for some time. Things like a decent non-glass pepper grinder, kitchen containers that have a tight-seal lid and other things like that. We had a Christmas shopping spree in July and we ended up having to walk the shopping cart filled with our treasures back to the boat, unload it, and walk the empty cart back to the store.


Far and away Campbellford's greatest claim to fame among loopers are the donuts found at Dooher's Bakery in the city center near where we were moored. I have to say with all candour that this bakery and these donuts are way better than their simple station in the restaurant hierarchy. On the first morning there, I walked by myself over the bridge to the shop. Lisa was still asleep. This was a mistake—me alone in a donut shop. Actually, not a mistake so much, but a miscalculation of my will power.

I entered the shop and the air was full of that intoxicating bakery smell. I bought a half dozen donuts that included three each of our favourites and started back to the boat. I figured I would eat one as I walked. I consumed (“inhaled” would be more exact) a blueberry cake donut and... quite frankly, I don't remember the rest. I had a donut blackout. By the time I got back to the boat instead of six donuts there were only three. I really don't know what happened during that short distance between the shop and boat. The only solution was to walk back to the bakery and fill the empty spots in the box with three more donuts... and then I ate them when I got back to the boat. My wife never caught on to my shenanigans.


Our impressions of our time on the Trent-Severn and of Ontario are precious to us, filled with nothing but pleasant memories. The boating was a challenge, the scenery was sublime and, as we have found so often during our travels, the people were warm and friendly. We were welcomed with open and anxious arms. Our only regret was that we could not spend more time at many of the locations, able to savour the experience of each one. 

Our On Board Life: A Love Story About Two Rookie Boaters Living the Dream, Loving the Lifestyle, and Learning Everything From Scratch by Darrell T. Grob is available as a soft cover book and ebook at

About Darrell T. Grob

Darrell and Lisa Grob are full time boating enthusiasts based out of St. Louis, Missouri and Denver, Colorado. Their boat, Why Knot, is a 45 foot Nelson diesel trawler. They cruised the Great Loop from January, 2012 through April, 2013.

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