I am the kind of person who has lost count of the amount of times I’ve driven along the 401 between Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and beyond. Don’t get me wrong, I love to drive, but at a certain point you stop seeing the landmarks and the signs on the side of the road. When you think about it, there’s a whole world to explore at the next off ramp or destination, and for the longest time that’s what Bay of Quinte was to me. A sign on the side of the highway. All these years later I’ve come to appreciate that the region is so much more, and if I’m being honest, it’s become one of my favourite places in Ontario.
A vast region that stretches as far east as Napanee, and as far west as Brighton, the region is defined in my mind by it’s vast diversity and attractions. Wine country, Indigenous culture and tourism, historical significance, agricultural diversity, a food scene that continues to amaze me, and so much more. And that’s me just scratching the surface!
This time around, I wanted to bring Julio with me for his first time following my trip to the region last year. Our primary focus was to explore the regions of Belleville, Napanee, and Tyendinaga. Each holding a different attraction and topic for us to explore as a queer couple with very different lived experiences towards Ontario, Canada and Indigenous peoples.
With a focus more targeted to food, wine and exploring immersive experiences that I can share with you all, my focus was on places such as Wavy in Shannonville, Pop-ups on the Bay and Zwick’s Park in Belleville, and of course a revisit of Wynn Farms Flower Farm.
Julio’s focus as Indigenous Maya was on historical experiences such as Wander Local Walking Tour: Whiskey and Wingtips in downtown Belleville, and The 36th Annual Tyendinaga Traditional Pow Wow: Tsitewatsiró:ten: Rekindling Our Fire (a first for us both).
For those of you who have never attended a Pow Wow, I can only say it’s one of the most beautiful experiences I have immersed myself in in years. We ate local indigenous cuisine, purchased new fur and jewelry from indigenous artisans and bore witness to the cultural and ceremonial portions of the day. A note to my white and settler readers that most of the event was sacred and you should educate yourselves on what you are allowed to film and photograph, but that the learnings from the experience are important. A truly beautiful experience in one of the most beautiful places in the province.
Click here to check out the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte’s blog with more information about the Pow Wow + Pow Wow etiquette to keep in mind while visiting.
For a full run down of my favourite experiences and places to explore from this most recent trip to the Bay of Quinte region, check out my latest REEL for #DoTheDaniel here.
The summer may be slowly winding down, but I promise you that if you’re able to take a roadtrip now and into the autumn months to Bay of Quinte that you won’t be disappointed. You can find an up to date list of events taking place on their website here.
I hope you enjoyed reading and that if you’re not already, follow me on all platforms at @dothedaniel
Photos: Bay of Quinte, Daniel Reyes Cocka and participating brands
Don’t forget to be kind & laugh a little more this year
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