Picton Harbour in the winter
|Regional Municipality||Prince Edward County|
|• Mayor||Robert Quaiff|
|• MP||Neil Ellis (Bay of Quinte, Liberal Party of Canada)|
|• MPP||Todd Smith (Prince Edward—Hastings, CON)|
|• Total||4 km2 (2 sq mi)|
|Elevation||79 m (259 ft)|
|• Density||931.7/km2 (2,413/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|Postal Code FSA|
K0K 2T0 & K0K 0A0
Picton is an unincorporated community located in Prince Edward County in southeastern Ontario, roughly 160 km (99 mi) east of Toronto. It is the county's largest community and former seat located at the southwestern end of Picton Bay, a branch of the Bay of Quinte, which is along the northern shoreline of Lake Ontario. The town is named for Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Picton, who served in the British army during the Peninsular War in Spain and Portugal. He also saw action at the Battle of Waterloo, where he was killed. It was formerly incorporated as a town. Picton is home to the Picton Pirates of the Empire B Junior C Hockey League in the Ontario Hockey Association.
Picton, originally named Hallowell, was first settled in the 1780s by Loyalists from the Thirteen Colonies. Prior to its incorporation in 1837, the modern-day town of Picton consisted of two separate villages, Hallowell Bridge and Picton, which occupied the opposite sides of Picton Bay. Named for General Sir Thomas Picton, Wellington's second-in-command at the Battle of Waterloo, the Town of Picton has a profound and rich history. It was here that Sir John A. Macdonald managed a law office for his uncle, Lowther P. MacPherson. In 1998, the town and all other municipalities in the county were dissolved and amalgamated into a single-tier municipality, the Corporation of the County of Prince Edward. Each of the former municipalities is now a ward of the county. Picton is Ward 1.
During the Second World War, the United Kingdom came under siege and required training facilities outside the British Isles for the thousands of pilots needed for its defense. Because of geographical similarities to Great Britain, sparsely populated Prince Edward County was considered an ideal location for an RAF Bombing and Gunnery School. In the summer of 1940, an aerodrome was rapidly constructed and in November 1940, the RCAF moved in and began small-arms training at the facility. In April 1941, the RAF took over the station and No 31 Bombing and Gunnery School was formed. The school was part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and used to train many of the aircrew needed to help defend Great Britain.
Following the end of the war, the Canadian Army maintained a training facility at the old aerodrome. It was renamed "Camp Picton" in 1960 when it became a fully operational Army base. In 1966, it was renamed Canadian Forces Base Picton, but this proved short-lived: in 1969, the base was closed down and sold as part of the consolidation and downsizing of the Canadian military. Portions of the base have been divided up and have served many functions, including conversion of one of the newer barracks sections into a hospital (now defunct). Much of the old base housing is currently occupied as rental homes. The airfield is now known as Picton Airport. The original aerodrome facilities were built using different construction methods than most bases built by the Canadian military. The rapid construction meant that the hangars and other buildings were not designed for longevity, although most still remain standing today. The former Camp Picton now serves many diverse functions but the unique appearance of the base makes it a significant, if obscure, historical landmark. Due to its distinctive appearance, the dilapidated airport has been used as a filming location for several productions. External scenes for the made-for-TV film Haven, starring Natasha Richardson, Colm Feore and Martin Landau were filmed there. It also served as a backdrop for the 1993 CBC production Dieppe and was the filming location of Bomber Boys. It also served as the home of the Driver Rehabilitation Centre for the reality television program Canada's Worst Driver in 2005. Many businesses use the facilities, including a hammock outlet, an auction house and, since the late-1970s, the local Air Cadet squadron, 851 RC(Air)CS, Prince Edward. The airstrip is also the host to various motorsports events, such as those held by the St. Lawrence Auto Club, which regularly runs Solo II racing events in the summer months.
Picton Airport is a general aviation airport used primarily for recreational flying. It is also used regularly in the summer season for Canadian Air Cadet flight training using Schweizer SGS 2-33A glider sailplanes and Bellanca Scout 8GCBC aircraft. Highway 33, also known as the Loyalist Parkway, passes through the centre of Picton and serves as its main link to the larger Ontario highway system. It is the main artery from the Glenora Ferry terminal (approximately 10 km (6.2 mi) from Picton) in the east to Carrying Place and the Murray Canal (approximately 40 km (25 mi) from Picton) as you exit the county in the northwest. Proceeding north-northeast from Picton is County Highway 49 which eventually connects to Highway 401 between Napanee and Shannonville, after passing through a portion of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Highway 33 also connects to Highway 62, which provides a link to the city of Belleville, approximately 30 km (19 mi) to the northwest. The city of Kingston, the eastern terminus of Highway 33, is located approximately 60 km (37 mi) by road east of Picton if you use the year-round Glenora ferry to exit the county traveling east. At one time, Prince Edward County was served by am extensive rail system. However, the railway no longer exists. The former rail beds have been converted into recreational trails which wind around the outskirts of Picton and throughout the County and are used for various purposes year-round. Picton has extensive small-craft docking facilities and boat launch ramps. There are no facilities for heavy shipping at the tip of the bay, so large commercial vessels are generally not seen in the portion of Picton Bay near the town. However, east of town, on the northern shore of the bay, is the ESSROC cement plant which has industrial docking facilities.
In the past, electrical services had been managed by the local utilities commission. In recent years, this was eliminated and electrical power is now managed by the central Hydro ONE, a Government of Ontario Crown corporation.
Picton is also located in one of Ontario's popular vacation spots, featuring camping, boating, wine making and upscale lodging. The tourism industry is a primary source of revenue for many area residents, especially in the summer. Historic downtown Picton offers a wide array of shops and services. Sandbanks Provincial Park is located near Picton. The historic Crystal Palace (circa 1890) is one of the last remaining replicas of the original Crystal Palace, UK. Beside the Crystal Palace is the County Youthpark, another draw for tourists. Recently the YoungLife youth event "Road Rage," which had teens of all ages visiting skateboard parks across Ontario and then entering their homemade skateboarding video into a contest, passed through Picton, bringing young blood into the County to visit what is otherwise recognized as a large retirement community. The County Youthpark provides the space for both skateboarders and BMXers to enjoy the park and also provides space for the young and young at heart to enjoy the innovative playground. A canteen is open during the summer to sell small food items. The Picton BIA represents the voice of business and includes the owners and tenants of more than 200 commercial properties in the Town. Its members support numerous charitable activities in the region, including the Picton Santa Claus Parade. Picton continues to serve as the economic hub of Prince Edward County.
Prince Edward County is a largely agricultural area. As such dairying and meat, fruit and vegetable processing and storage are relatively common. Also in the vicinity are manufacturers of pallets, caskets and other wood products. There is a light industrial park in the town which has several modest manufacturing businesses making goods such as refrigeration products and filtered bottled water. Just northeast of Picton is a cement plant operated by Lehigh Cement Company, which is the only heavy industry in the immediate area. There are numerous quarrying operations located nearby which support this and other similar plants. In recent years, many artisans and artists have moved to the area and opened studios. In many of the local stores one can purchase local art and hand-crafted products. These products are beginning to play a more serious role in the local economy. In addition, there has been a proliferation of small wineries in the southern half of the county. Properties listed for sale, especially defunct farms with the right kind of exposure, are often described as ideal locations for new wineries allowing a markup of their property values. Now with an official VQA designation, what role the area will play in the larger Ontario wine industry in the near future remains to be seen. Picton is also home to Canada's largest premier kayak manufacturer, ClearWater Design. The Academy Award-winning film, The English Patient, has a character from Picton.
The Public school system is served by the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board. The Separate School system is served by the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board. Elementary Schools: Pinecrest Memorial Elementary School, Queen Elizabeth Public School, St. Gregory Catholic School Secondary School: Prince Edward Collegiate Institute Private Schools: Sonrise Christian Academy
- Picton Gazette, Canada's oldest weekly newspaper.
- FM 99.3-CJPE ("County FM")
See also List of radio stations in Ontario.
- Reema Abdo, who won a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics in swimming.
- Gord Downie, former lead singer for The Tragically Hip (died 2017)
- Cameron Ansell, voice actor
- Lyle Vanclief, Federal Minister of Agriculture, 1997-2003
- Jess Jones, Canadian Women's Hockey League, 2014-Present
- "Census Profile, 2016 Census - Picton (Ontario)". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
- "Picton". HISTORICA CANADA. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- http://www.ghosttownpix.com/ontario2/img/pictimg.shtml[permanent dead link]
- "Lehigh Hanson Canada". heidelbergcement.com. HeidelbergCement AG. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Prince Edward County.|