Bobcaygeon is a community of about 3,600 people (2021) in the Kawarthas region of Central Ontario. Built on three islands, it was settled in 1832. It is a popular place for shopping and sport fishing.
Taken from the Algonquin language, the name Bobcaygeon means "shallow rapids". Its lock was the first to be built on the Trent-Severn Waterway, connecting Pigeon and Stugeon Lakes with a short canal along the Bobcaygeon River in 1833. Today, the town and surrounding area is a popular retirement destination, and a busy hub for boaters traversing the Trent-Severn, or cottagers venturing further into the Kawarthas.
It is well-known in Canada because in 1998, the Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip immortalized Bobcaygeon in their hit single that takes its name from the village.
The nearest public transportation is a TOK Coach (formerly Can-Ar Coach) bus from Toronto that stops 17 km away in Fenelon Falls. Kawartha Lakes Taxi in Fenelon Falls may take you to Bobcaygeon, +1 705 928-1413, but call to confirm (Sept 2017).
It is 36 km north-east of Lindsay along Highway 36 (Kawartha Lakes Road 36). To drive around the west side of Sturgeon Lake, follow Highway 35 from Lindsay, then County Road 121 to Fenelon Falls and County Road 8, which meets Bobcaygeon's Main Street in the north end of town.
The Trent-Severn Waterway connects Lake Ontario (Trenton) to Georgian Bay (in Simcoe, via Peterborough and Orillia. Lock 32 is in Bobcaygeon; west of Lock 31 in Buckhorn, northeast of Lock 33 in Linday, and east of Lock 34 in Fenerlon Falls. Mooring is available for up to 48 hours, with a permit.
Many marinas are available along this stretch of the waterway. Two are located close to the locks:
- 1 Gordons Yacht Harbour Marina, 81 Front St E (Pigeon Lake (below/east of Lock 32)), ☏ . 8:30AM-7PM daily. Sells fuel, water, snacks and supplies. Picnic and shower facilities onsite. Reservations recommended.
- 2 Centre Point Landing Marina, 394 Front St (Sturgeon Lake (above/west of Lock 32)), ☏ . Showers, laundry, and fuel available. On-site café. Mooring available by reservation.
Except for the Kawartha Dairy ice cream shop, most of the town's attractions are on the town's largest island on a short stretch of Bolton Street, and within an easy 5-10 minute walk. Street parking in front of the popular shops is limited, and traffic over the bridges can be heavy (especially if the swing bridge is open to allow boats to pass); park where you can, and continue on foot.
- 1 Boyd Heritage Museum, 21 Canal St E, ☏ . Th-Su 11AM-3PM. Located in the Boyd Lumber Office built in 1889, this community museum explores the history of one of the area's founding families. The Boyd family's influence on the community and their lumbering and agricultural interests across Canada as examined. By donation.
- 2 Kawartha Settlers Village, 85 Dunn St (north of the commercial district just off the road to Fenelon Falls), ☏ . May-September daily 10AM-4PM. A collection of over 20 historic homes and buildings from 1830 – 1935. After the end of summer, the village also opens for special seasonal events, such as the Haunted Village and Festival of Trees. Adults $8, Children $3.
- 3 Lock 32 - Bobcaygeon, 3 Main St (just over the swing bridge from Canal & Bolton). The first lock built on the Trent-Severn Waterway, in the 1830s. The area around the lock has a large grassy area for taking in views, a historic house and the oldest swing bridge on the waterway. There's also a small war memorial in the northeast corner near Main St. Free.
- Ontario Open Fiddle and Step Dance Contest, Bobcaygeon Community Centre on 51 Mansfield St., at the fairgrounds, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Last weekend in July. Since 1970, this annual event has displayed the old-time skills of fiddling and step dancing. Camping available on-site. Friday $12; Saturday morning $12; Saturday night $15; weekend pass $30.
- 1 Bobcaygeon Fall Fair, 47 Mansfield St. A weekend of animal shows, tractor pulls, vendors, midway, demolition derby, and live entertainment. Held at the end of September. Admission $10; weekend pass $25.
Bobcaygeon has become a shopping destination because of Bigley, and many independent shops.
- 1 Bigley Shoes & Clothing, 39 Bolton St, ☏ . 9AM-6PM daily. Bigley has made Bobcaygeon a destination for shoppers with 7 locations on Bolton Street and Canal Street West selling shoes, clothing and housewares.
- 1 El Patio, 58 Bolton St. M-Th noon-8PM; F noon-1AM; Sa 11AM-1AM; Su 11AM-8PM. Sprawling patio with pub food, tacos, cocktails, and local beer.
- 2 Just for the Halibut, 17 King St E, ☏ . W Th noon-7:30PM; F Sa noon-8PM. A popular restaurant for fish and chips, steaks, etc. 15 beers from local craft breweries on tap. Take-out available. 2-piece haddock & chips $22, burgers $15-19.
- 3 Kawartha Dairy, 89 Prince St W, ☏ . Su Th 9AM-8PM; F Sa 9AM-9PM. The factory and ice cream shop of a local dairy company. Plenty of flavours to choose from and the portions are good. "Baby" size is a generous single scoop, while "Huge" is just as big as the name implies. Crowds are common, but lines move quickly. $4-7.
- 1 Old Dog Brewing Company, 30 King St E, ☏ . M-W 11AM-7PM; Th-Sa 11AM-9PM; Su noon-6PM. Bobcaygeon's own independent microbrewery, with a small pub and a patio. Several small-batch beers on tap, and a few for takeaway.
- 1 Bobcaygeon Inn, 31 Main St (a short walk north of the main part of the village across the channel and the river), ☏ , toll-free: . The Inn offers a full service menu in its restaurant, or sit on the patio for refreshment in the summer. $90-145.
- 2 Eganridge Resort, 26 Country Club Dr (West of town, off County Rd 8), ☏ , toll-free: , email@example.com. Resort-style hotel with king-bed rooms, suites, and cottages. On-site golf, spa, restaurant and sports bar. One king from $265.
- 3 New Rockland Motel, 3 Canal St E (off Bolton St (the main street) by the lock), ☏ , toll-free: , Info@newrocklandmotel.com. Double from $170.
- 4 Southwinds Resort & Marina, 94 Front St E, ☏ , toll-free: . Room options include one queen bed hotel rooms, one and two bedroom suites with some kitchen facilities, and small cottages in the garden. There is a dock across the street and daily boat rentals for fishing or pleasure cruising are available for a fee. One queen from $210, rates about 20% cheaper in off-season (except hotel rooms). Weekly rates are available for some rooms.
- 5 Stoneyhurst Motel, 1 Main St (A short walk north of the main part of the village across the channel), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Catering to visiting sport fishers, all units are equipped with propane stove top, microwave, coffee maker, toaster, dishes, kettle, bedding and towels, pots and pans, fridge, 3-piece bathrooms, cable TV, and outdoor barbecues. Larger suites and weekly rates available. One queen from $120; minimum 2 nights (3 nights minimum in July, August).
- On Front St. East, there are several camps of rentals cottage available during the summer.
Blue-green algae is a toxic form of algae that can be an occasional problem in this region. Do not swim or wade in water where this algae is present, do not drink the water, and do not let pets in the water. Blooms most commonly occur in late summer and early fall. They thrive in areas where the water is shallow, slow moving and warm, but they may be present in deeper, cooler water. Dense blue-green algae blooms may make the water look bluish-green, or like green pea soup or turquoise paint. Very dense blooms may form solid-looking clumps. Fresh blooms often smell like newly mown grass, while older blooms may smell like rotting garbage.
Poison ivy is common in wooded areas. All parts of poison ivy, including the roots, contain a poisonous substance which causes an irritating inflammation of the skin of most people, the inflamed areas frequently developing blisters and accompanied by intense itchiness.
- Buckhorn, Lakefield and Stoney Lake — a large part of cottage country, with provincial parks and natural areas.
- Fenelon Falls — known as the "Jewel of the Kawarthas", an old mill town with a picturesque main street above a wide waterfall on the Trent-Severn.
- Haliburton Highlands — rustic cottages and outdoor adventures on about 600 lakes in an expansive wilderness on the Canadian Shield.
- Lindsay — the Kawarthas' main community, at the crossroads of the Trans-Canada Highway, the Trans Canada Trail, Highway 35, and the Trent-Severn Waterway.
- Quinte-Northumberland — east along the Trans-Canada, a rural region home to the eastern end of the Trent-Severn in Trenton, and the beaches and wineries of Prince Edward County.