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Old Market Square

Quinte West has a rich historical past. From Samuel de Champlain's first visit to our future town to the amalgamation of four municipalities in 1998 that led to what is now one large city, Quinte West has many stories to tell, all of which have shaped this unique community.

Trent Port

Many of the families living in Quinte West today can trace their families back to the United Empire Loyalists. The Quinte Bay area was considered desirable for settlement as early as 1773 when the Governor General of the Canadian Colonies, Sir Guy Carleton, asked Governor Haldimand of Quebec to inquire if the Mississauga Indians would make a treaty to sell the land.

In October 1783 an 'Agreement to Purchase' was finally made with the signing of the Gunshot Treaty and surveying began. At the time, there were many people living in the United States who had remained loyal to England and trekked north to what is now Canada. The British ordered that a list of these people under the designation of United Empire Loyalists be made. Among these were ex-military personnel, ex-slaves, and aboriginals loyal to the Crown.

Settlements were established surrounding the Quinte Bay on lands promised to them by the Crown. Nearly £4 million was divided among the Loyalists in addition to large grants of land in the new country varying in size from 200 to 5,000 acres. The money was used for tools, farm equipment, seed to sow, and food and clothing.

The townships were named after family members of King George III and were called 'Royal Townships'. By 1787, the 8th (Sidney), 9th (Thurlow), and 10th (Richmond) townships completed the circle around the Bay.

The area remained part of Quebec until the Constitutional Act of 1791, which divided the country into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, gave it the British Law System, a Legislative Assembly, and its first Lieutenant-Governor, Lord John Graves Simcoe. There were 19 townships in Upper Canada (now Ontario).

View from Mt. Pelion

In January 1998, The City of Quinte West was formed by the amalgamation of four former municipalities; City of Trenton, Village of Frankford, Sidney Township and Murray Township.

The amalgamation created a unique community offering a blend between urban and rural lifestyles. The City thrived in the years following, establishing itself as a sought after destination offering a vibrant outdoor natural environment for agricultural and recreational pursuits combined with endless retail and entertainment opportunities.

At the heart of Quinte West is the southern entrance to the Trent-Severn Waterway, a unique 386 kilometre system of lakes and rivers stretching from the Bay of Quinte in the south, to Georgian Bay in the north. Quinte West is home to Canada's largest military air force base, 8 Wing/CFB Trenton.

The Wards


Located at the mouth of the River Trent and the Head of the Bay of Quinte, this area was first visited by Samuel de Champlain in 1615. The first permanent settlers of the Trenton area were the United Empire Loyalists who arrived in the Quinte area around 1784. The first settlers at the mouth of the Trent River (present day downtown) arrived in 1790, establishing an economy based primarily on the lumber industry.

The Old BridgeThe first bridge was built in 1833, linking the west and east sides of the Trent River.  Trenton grew steadily in the years that followed attaining the status of village by 1853 and town by 1880. The economy in the area has shifted throughout the years from a primarily lumber and agricultural-based economy to the industrial-driven economy now present. The town was greatly aided with the opening of the RCAF training centre in 1931, which has evolved into Canada's largest air force base.



Sidney Ward is known most significantly for its strong agricultural base and rugged landscape. It is here that Thomas Bata established the Bata shoe manufacturing plant in 1939, resulting in the development of the inlet of Batawa. Sidney is also home to Canadian Forces Base 8 Wing Trenton and the National Air Force Museum of Canada.

Sidney Township claims a place of honour in the history of municipal government in Ontario as the township with the oldest continuous local government. On May 15, 1790, a group of pioneers assembled here and recorded the minutes of a town meeting to elect officials to administer their affairs.


Like many areas in Quinte West, Murray Ward is rich in local history. Located south of the swing bridge in Carrying Place is the Kente Portage, a route that was used by Joliette, Champlain, LaSalle, and scores of missionaries, traders, and settlers to cross the 1.5 miles between the Bay of Quinte and Weller's Bay. To this day, many old homes and buildings can be seen along the Kente Portage, the oldest road in continuous use in Ontario.

The township was first surveyed in 1791 and was incorporated in 1851. Records from 1878 show a population of 3,734 living mostly on the lower concessions.


Frankford Train Station

The area originally known as Cold Creek and Scott's Mill was first settled by United Empire Loyalists in the 1780s. At this location, they were able to ford the river just below the rapids.

The village of Frankford was named following a visit in 1837 by Sir Francis Bond Head, Lt. Governor of Upper Canada. Although it was a small village at that time, a proper name was of paramount importance to the developing community. The name Frankford represented a combination of the first name of the visiting Governor and the ford in the Trent River running through the town. To this day, the village is called Frankford.

Visit the Quinte West Public Library for more information, photos and books about our local history.


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City of Quinte West Public GIS

Welcome to the City of Quinte West Public GIS map application.  It is a multi-platform app that will run on devices with Windows, Apple, and Android operating systems. 

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