by Madeline Kallio
Perched on the shores of the Bay of Quinte with the Moira River running through it, Belleville offers the visitor an eclectic mix of city and waterfront.The city has 450 acres of parkland, including the Corby Park Rose Garden between William and Ann Streets with its thousands of roses.
The area was originally an Indian village and then a French Mission. United Empire Loyalist Captain John Walter Meyers founded Meyer’s Creek in 1790.When the post office opened in 1816, it was renamed Singleton’s Corners for store owner, Captain George Singleton. Later that year the name was changed to Belleville in honour of Lady Arabella Gore, the wife of Lt. Governor Francis Gore of Upper Canada.
In 1794, Upper Canada’s first brick house was built near Belleville by Captain Meyers.The City Hall (613 968-6481), 169 Front Street, built in 1873 as the Town Market Building, is a well preserved example of High Victorian architecture with its musical clock tower overlooking the new Market Square. Ontario’s first school for the deaf,The Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf (613 967-2823), 350 Dundas Street West, was founded in 1870. Built circa 1880 for wealthy banker J. P. C. Phillips, Glanmore National Historic Site (613 962-2329), 257 Bridge Street East, displays exceptional Second Empire architecture, exquisite interior woodwork, furniture and paintings.
Belleville has its share of interesting restaurants that whet the appetite; and, of the 150 or so establishments, this article is able to list only a few to give you a taste of Belleville cuisine. A must-try are the infamously delicious croissants served at L’Auberge de France (613 966-2433; www.laubergedefrance.ca), 304 Front Street. Land and water customers can enjoy a casual dining experience at The Boathouse Seafood Restaurant (613 969-2211; www.theboathouselure.ca), 32 South Front Street.The Capers (613 968-7979; www.capers.ca), 272 Front Street, offers a selection of microbrewery beer, a relaxed atmosphere and food prepared with fresh local ingredients. A taste of Italy in a cozy and casual atmosphere describes Linguine’s Italian Restaurant (613 962 5444;www.linguines.ca), 257 North Front Street.
A fine dining experience is the order of the day at Dinkel’s Restaurant and Courtyard (613 966-2556;www.dinkels.ca), 44 Bridge Street,and next door at 38 Bridge Street where gourmet pizza,pasta and salads are available at Paulo’s Trattoria (613 966-6542). Kelsey’s Restaurant (613 967-2400; www.kelseys.ca), 170 North Front Street, offers an eclectic menu,including“taster plates.”Chinese and Canadian food has been prepared at the Modern Café (613 962-4182), 190 Front Street, for over 40 years. Montana’s Cookhouse (613 967-9970; www.montanas.ca), 170 Bell Boulevard, has great barbeque cuisine. Chinese and Canadian foods are on the menu at the North China Buffet (613 771-9988; www.northchina-buffet.com), 300 Bell Boulevard, and the Buffet Garden (613 967-7888; www.buffetgarden.com), 365 North Front Street.The Toro Sushi Restaurant (613 967-6478),338 Pinnacle Street,offers Japanese and Korean food and a great sushi experience.
Authentic English-style fish and chips are available at Captain George’s Fish and Chips (613 967-8088; www.captaingeorgesfishandchips.com), 150 Sidney Street. Scrumptious Greek food is the order of the day at the Greek Oasis (613 962-3332), 690 Sidney Street. Chilangos Mexican Restaurant (613 771- 9292), 394 Front Street, serves authentic Mexican cuisine. The Burger Revolution (613 966-3388; www.burgerrevolution.ca), 300 North Front Street, was credited with the “Best Burgers in Ontario” by Days Out Ontario and was featured on an episode of The Food Network’s “You Gotta Eat Here.”
There are several bed and breakfasts in Belleville. The Moira (613 967-7856; www.bbcanada.com/themoirabandb), 21 Elvins Gardens, offers a continental breakfast on weekends. A continental or traditional full breakfast is the order of the day at Aisling House (613 969-5220; www.aisling.ca), 272 CharlesStreet. Self-catered breakfasts offer self-sufficiency at the Belle Vie Bed and Breakfast (613 962-2487; www.bbcanada.com/13246.html), 194 Lingham Street. Heritage Charm Inn (613 962-8472; www.bbcanada.com/9310/html), 118 Bridge Street East, provides a continental breakfast. A continental breakfast featuring fresh apple cake is a specialty at Place Victoria Place (613 967-8560; www.placevictoriaplace.ca), 156 Victoria Avenue. A variety of breakfast options in “a taste of mediaeval England”are available to guests at St. John’s Inn (613 967-5859; www.bbcanada.com/13029/html), 263 John Street. The Occasional Scone (613 779-0326; www.bbcanada/theoccasionalsconebandb), 33 Catherine Street, delights visitors with scones-in-the-round, afternoon tea and full breakfasts. Belleville also has a number of hotels, motels and commercial inns.
Shopping in Belleville offers an eclectic variety of creative enterprises. Belleville has three major shopping areas: Downtown Belleville (613 968-2242; www.downtownbelleville.ca) has 250 shops and services along Front and Pinnacle Streets; the Bay View Mall (613 966-5333), 470 Dundas Street East, has 50 stores; and the Quinte Mall (613 968-3571; www.quintemall.com), North Front and Bell Streets, hosts 125 stores and services.A few of the unique shopping experiences in Belleville are highlighted here.The Farmers Market at Market Square behind City Hall, has over 30 vendors and is open year-round on Tuesdays,Thursdays and Saturdays. Reid’s Dairy (613 967-1970; www.reidsdairy.com), 222 Bell Boulevard, serves lots of dairy products, lunches, and is a Family Fun Dairy with animals, crafts, a play area and more. Donini Chocolates (613 967-2378; www.donini- chocolates.bellevilledirect.info), 335 Bell Boulevard, makes, on the premises, a mouth-watering selection of European-style chocolate, all natural gelato, mousse cakes and has great gift ideas.
Antique lovers will enjoy shopping at Funk & Gruven A-Z (613 968-5612; www.funkandgruven.blogspot.ca), 52 Bridge Street East. The Belleville Bakery (613 966-9490), 300 Bell Boulevard, bakes everything from “scratch” daily and offers a wide variety of scrumptious goods, as does the Crust and Crumb Bakery (613 779-1115), 37 Pinnacle Street South. Katrina’s Cakes and Treats (613 966- 1274;www.katrinascakes.com),135B North Front Street, specializes in desserts. All Good Things Home Shop (613 779-9996), 400 Front Street, is a gift shop where “trendy country meets chic decor”.
Gourmet Diem (613 779-9995), 249 Front Street, is a cookware and specialty food store with a café that serves light lunches, coffee and tea. Kate’s Kitchen (613 771-0606), 271 Front Street,has fun,funky,colourful and functional kitchen supplies.Mrs. B’s Bath, Body and Gifts (613 242-2679), 281 Front Street, offers an eclectic variety of merchandise. Maple Dale Cheese (613 477-2454; www.mapledalecheese.ca), 2864 Highway 37 North, stocks gifts, gourmet foods, cheese boxes and baskets.
The Empire Theatre and Centre for the Performing Arts (613 969-0099; www.theempiretheatre.com), 321 Front Street, is a vintage 1938 theatre showcasing independent films and live performances.The Belleville Theatre Guild (613 967-1442; www.bellevilletheatreguild.ca) presents a season of theatre at the Pinnacle Playhouse, 256 Pinnacle Street. The Belleville Lions Club (613 962-6559; www.concertsonthebay.ca) presents summer Sunday evening and Wednesday Concerts on the Bay at Zwicks Park. Information on local artists, festivals, museums, theatre, concerts, craft sales, children’s shows, and dance can be obtained from the Quinte Arts Council (613 962-1232; www.quinteartscouncil.org), 36 Bridge Street East.
Businesses downtown offer tasty treats for $2 at Savour the Summer in mid-June. Belleville celebrates Canada Day on July 1.The second weekend of July ushers in the Waterfront and Ethnic Festival (www.bellevillewaterfrontfestival.com) with great music, 11 countries’ cuisine, parasailing, helicopter rides, paddle boarding, Children’s Village, midway and vendors.The third July weekend pulls together the massive Empire Square Rockfest outdoor concert (www.empiresquarelive.com). Mid-August brings the mouth-watering Quinte Ribfest (www.quinteribfest.org). The first week in September is the Quinte Exhibition (613 968-3266; www.qer.ca).
Once you have tasted the hospitality, you will surely want to stay and enjoy the full fare.The Belleville Chamber of Commerce (613 962-4597; www.bellevillechamber.ca) at the corner of Pinnacle and East Moira Streets is housed in an old log cabin by the Moira River.The helpful staff can provide information on places to go and see, events and activities. The Belleville Downtown Improvement Area (613 968-2242; www.downtownbelleville.ca), can provide information on places and events in the downtown core. ■
There are many places to visit in and around Belleville and this article does not attempt to include them all, but has left many exciting attractions for the visitor to discover. It is meant to give potential visitors a glimpse into the community.