Prince Edward County Municipal Services

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Welcome home to Prince Edward County! A unique island-vibe community where rural roots and creative pursuits come together, The County is a place of tranquility, inspiration, hospitality and fun. Sometimes a visit just isn’t enough – The County has a way of capturing the hearts and imaginations of visitors through our strong agricultural roots, thriving arts & cultural community, outstanding natural beauty surrounded by Lake Ontario, fresh farm-to-table cuisine and Ontario’s fastest growing wine and craft beer region. It all comes together to offer a unique and unmatched quality of life. The County is both simple and sophisticated. Experience the rural pace, the creative possibilities and entrepreneurial opportunities. Consider yourself officially invited to be a part of it. Here are 25 Things to know about building a new life in The County.

Photo Credit: Jenny Thompson

1. Make Connections

Moving to a new place means new friends and connections. Meeting people in The County can be relatively easy: there are regular networking events, support groups for female entrepreneurs, a newcomers club at the library, recreational sports
teams and the usual service clubs. Even just a visit to the post office or neighbourhood coffee shop will introduce you to the locals. There’s huge heart in The County and volunteers are its lifeblood. Whether your passion is helping the young or old, trees or turtles, you’ll find a cause needing your energy and enthusiasm. Information on volunteer opportunities can be found at Volunteer & Information Quinte. Growth in migration to The County means you’ll find a lot of people who’ve only recently arrived, and they’re usually eager to provide a warm welcome and a word of advice from their own experience of putting down new roots.

2. Explore an Island Playground

Into ice hockey? How about stand-up paddle boarding? Maybe birding is more your thing, or a leisurely bicycle ride down the back roads. Blessed with a wide variety of geographical features, from lakes to marshes to a repurposed railway bed, The County
is one big natural playground waiting to be explored. The County includes 180 acres of parkland, plus the Millennium Trail, which spans from Carrying Place to Picton, offering a level path for skiing, walking, biking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and ATV riding.
The County’s youngest residents have no shortage of places to roam. In addition to beaches, baseball fields, tennis courts and a skate park, youth can enjoy programs at The Recreation Outreach Centre (ROC) and The Prince Edward Fitness and Aquatic Centre (PEFAC).

Photo Credit: Daniel Vaughan

3. Take in a Show

The historic Regent Theatre is a small town gem, a great place to catch a live show, documentary, art film or the latest blockbuster – all for a ticket price from times long since past. In the summer months, the Mustang Drive-In comes alive, while on the theatre stage, there’s both comedy and drama to be seen, often featuring productions penned by local playwrights. The Festival Players and Marysburgh Mummers offer theatre programming, with Comedy Country bringing sketch comedy and improv to the stage. Music is more than a passion here, with karaoke, live acts and year-round festivals, including CountyPOP, Sandbanks Music Festival, JazzFest, Red White & Blues, Bluegrass Celebration, County Country Jamboree, Classical Music Fest and many more.

Photos courtesy of County Archives

4. Step into our Heritage

What we now call The County was originally the territory of the Haudenosaunee. The main thoroughfare, the Loyalist Parkway, pays homage to the County’s early settlers –
Loyalists who made the arduous journey north to Canada out of allegiance to the British Throne. History is everywhere here, from rivers that once carried fur traders, to inlets synonymous with rum-running. The County is second only to Williamsburg, Virginia when it comes to colonial architecture in North America and our five museums help bring it to life. The County Museums highlight different themes related to the heritage of the community – much like individual chapters of Prince Edward County’s story! The County
Museums are the guardians of 35 structures and an estimated 50,000 artifacts. They are also the caretakers of heritage gardens, parklands, orchards, outdoor exhibits and an early 19th century cemetery.

5. Local Weather

What’s good for the grapes is good for any gathering. The County’s proximity to Lake Ontario usually means milder winters and warm spring temperatures. If you’re not enjoying the weather, just wait five minutes. The lake can also produce localized microclimates, and it’s not uncommon for one end of The County to have sunshine while the other is experiencing rain or snow.

6. Creative Vibes

Part of what gives The County its unique vibe is its rich vein of creativity. Here, you’ll find the painter captures the light, the poet captures the process, the performer sets it to music and the actor gives it dramatic heft. Follow the muse where it leads you – you’ll find workshops to help build skills, often led by a community of makers and creators eager to collaborate. Explore studios and galleries on the self guided Arts Trail, PEC Studio Tour and Rednersville Road Art Tour. Find shows and exhibits such as The Makers Hand, Art in The County and the Busy Hands show. Find fellow artists at the Prince Edward County Arts Council or seek out workshops at the Baxter Arts Centre.

Photo Credit: Daniel Vaughan

7. Worship

A sense of community can be found at many of The County’s places of worship. A wide range of religious denominations are represented here, including Anglican, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Christadelphian, Christian Reformed, Fellowship, Free Methodist, Jehovah’s Witness, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Salvation Army and United. There is also a mosque in nearby Trenton and a synagogue and masjid in Belleville.

8. Festivals

The County works hard – but it plays hard too. The calendar is loaded with festivals and celebrations, no matter the time of year. Welcome spring with Maple in the County, the annual birding festival or Countylicious. Kick off summer with Terroir, a celebration of local wines, and return for the lavender festival, a Comedy Country show or see a Festival Players performance. Fall is a time of harvest and The County celebrates with TASTE Community Grown, a cornucopia of food and drink made here in The County. We light up the season’s shorter days with the Firelight Lantern Festival and showcase the finest in County craft beer at Homegrown. Wassail ushers in winter’s magic and Vinter Fest conjures hope of spring’s return. Flashback February celebrates our past
and helps history come alive. No matter the season, there’s a date devoted to appreciating the best of The County’s food, beverage and creative scene.

9. The Great Outdoors

The South Shore is designated and globally recognized as an Important Bird & Biodiversity Area, encompassing a 30km stretch of shoreline supporting migrating birds, bats, butterflies and several rare vascular plants. The Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory are the caretakers of this beautiful space and are part of a network of bird-banding stations across Canada, helping to monitor some of the 290 species whose migratory route includes the South Shore. Conservation areas include Beaver Meadow, Massassauga Point, Harry Smith, Little Bluff, Demorestville, H.J. McFarland, Milford Mill Pond, Rutherfod-Stevens Lookout and the quirky Birdhouse City at the entrance to Macaulay Mountain. Local Provincial Parks include Lake on the Mountain, North Beach,
and iconic Sandbanks – each providing stunning views of geological phenomena.

10. Local Shopping

While “big box” stores are only a short drive away, there’s so much between boutique and bargain that can be found locally. Designer or consignment clothing, shoes, games, antique treasures, hardware and renovation supplies, toys, books, outdoor gear, frozen foods, you name it, The County has it or makes it.

11. Farm to Table

From lavender to honey, pumpkins to mushrooms, it’s all grown close to home in The County. There are 477 farms and more than 53,000ha of active farmland. Farm-fresh produce is a point of pride and stocking up at a roadside stall is your chance to meet the farmer behind the feast. Take a bite from a place whose flavours say: this was grown here.
The County is also home to some of Canada’s top chefs, designing menus that strive to use the best the land (and lake) have to offer. Nosh your way through The County at popups, food trucks, kitchen takeovers and special promotions like Countylicious. Our spirit of creative collaboration keeps inspiring farmers, producers and cooks to push the flavour profile further. Explore the Taste Trail, a choose-your-own-adventure guide to The County’s best restaurants, wineries, craft breweries and roadside farm stands.

Photo Credit: Drake Devonshire, Johnny C.Y. Lam

12. Taste a New Wine

The County’s limestone bedrock is what gives our soil the minerality needed to produce world-class wines. From citrusy chardonnay grapes to winning pinot noirs, The County’s 40+ wineries are bottling up a bit of sunshine every season, experimenting with all the region can offer. Wine lover? Plan your trip with the Prince Edward County Winegrowers Association online map.

13. Craft Beer, Ciders & Spirits

Barley was once a mainstay of County fields, making up half of all crops in the late 1800s. Today, hops have returned, fueled by a resurgence in craft brewing. Nearly a dozen small batch breweries are open across The County producing lager styles with local ingredients, seasonal favourites and everything from stouts to sours. Fellow brewers are complementing the craft scene with hard ciders pressed from
some of Canada’s oldest orchards.

The County is proud to feature a distillery at Kinsip, and a meadery (honey wine) at Honey Pie Hives & Herbals. Explore the 15+ brewers of beer, cider, spirits and mead at VisitPEC.ca or plan a trip using the Brewery Discovery Routes. Sample the best PEC and the GCA (Greater County Area)
have on-tap during the annual Homegrown Craft Brewing celebration.

14. Real Estate

Put down roots. Like most places within driving distance of bigger cities, The County has felt the effects of a hot housing market. But housing dollars can go further here, with the average family home selling for $400,000 in 2018. Whether you locate downtown in one of our quaint hamlets and villages or are surrounded by farmland, you’re never more than a three-hour drive from a major city – even if you feel a world away

15. Schools

Photos Courtesy of HPEDSB

In addition to public and Catholic schools, there is a Christian academy and French immersion in Picton, as well as resources for home schooling. Loyalist College in Belleville and St. Lawrence College in Kingston offer renowned technical education, while Queen’s University in Kingston routinely places in the top spots in the annual ‘Canada’s Best Universities’ rankings. Adult and continuing education can be found at the Loyola Learning Centre and the Prince Edward Learning Centre.

16. Employment

The County’s local economy is ever growing and largely characterized by small companies employing fewer than 10 people. Employment in The County is concentrated in the hospitality/tourism and agricultural sectors. Trades and professional services are also in high demand and many employers with front-line staff are increasingly seeking bilingual employees. Career Edge in Picton offers one-on-one job matching resources and can help with resume and interview preparation.

17. Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is a mindset adopted by people who aren’t satisfied with the status quo. Many people move to The County with a business idea in mind; others develop an idea as they discover niches and needs within the community. This is a place where dreams become reality and you’ll find a community of like-minded individuals eager to collaborate.
The County is also keen to help. Supports are available to develop a business idea, investigate funding opportunities and navigate licensing and other regulations.

18. Healthcare Services

seniors holding hands

There are 24 physicians in Prince Edward County, as well as a small hospital with excellent emergency care, plus numerous health-related services, including dental, optometry, chiropractors and massage therapists.
The County has a strategy called “Age in Place” that encourages active living to help seniors stay in the community, facilitating transitions to greater levels of care as needs progress. Service groups such as Meals on Wheels, Escorted Transport and Caregiver Support and Respite Care help families manage and keep seniors living independently as long as they’re able.

For four-legged family members, The County has two animal clinics. The Loyalist Humane Society provides care for animals without homes and helps facilitate adoptions.

19. Immigration Services

The Al Jasem family: “We would like to thank all of the people who have helped our family. We are happy to be here and look forward to getting to know the P community. The children are very excited to go to school.” For more information please visit PECSyria.org which is an organization of people from Prince Edward County committed to assist Syrian families resettling in our region. Photo Credit: Daniel Vaughan

The County is an inclusive community that strives to welcome newcomers from near and far. Moving to The County from another country can be supported by the Quinte Local Immigration Partnership (QLIP), which offers programming and support to help recent arrivals with education, health services, language training and employment so you can more readily begin your new life in Canada.

20. Transportation

County Transit Bus

The County is accessible by planes, trains and automobiles. A daily ferry also brings passengers directly to Picton. In the heart of the golden triangle formed by Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, The County is a short hop down the 401. While there are taxis, access to a vehicle when living in a rural community is a practical necessity.

There are growing rural public transit options, including County Transit connecting larger hubs in the region. Significant investments are also being made to transform The County into a bicycle friendly destination.

21. Waste Services

The County is committed to keeping the island green, with comprehensive waste services, including recycling, e-waste recycling and weekly pick-up of household compostable materials. Curbside garbage collection is conducted weekly. Garbage bags must be at the curb by 7:00 a.m. with a $3.00 Bag Tag
clearly visible and attached to the bag. Organics recycling (green bin) is available to residents. Participation in the program is voluntary. Curbside recycling must use blue bins for curbside pickup. Green and blue bins are available at Shire Hall, 332 Main St. Picton.

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22. Local News & Media

The County has three traditional community newspapers – the Picton Gazette, Wellington Times and County Weekly News – and an online news site devoted entirely to The County, Countylive.ca 99.3 FM, a volunteer-run community radio station featuring local voices, plays an eclectic music list and frequent promotion of local events. It’s rare in today’s media landscape to have such a wealth of hyper-local outlets, whose focus on the people and places around The County helps promote a feeling of connectedness amongst newcomers and long-term residents alike. Follow The County on Facebook & Twitter at @PrinceEdwardCounty for updates.

23. Community Services

Community Services play a vital role in the health and wellbeing of our community. Here, you’re not a number. You’ll find a personal approach to the services offered that you can’t find in larger cities. In addition, many organizations partner together and collaborate, which means there is no wrong door when seeking services. Working together means better service for you and your family

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24. Property Taxes

The Tax Department of the County of Prince Edward is located at Shire Hall, 332 Main Street, Picton. For each $100,000 of assessment through the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) the annual taxes are $1,074.58 for 2018. Property taxes are payable online or in person, while TheCounty.ca accepts payment by debit or bank transfer (not credit cards). Pre-authorized payment plans are available.

25. Local Government

The County is committed to supporting residents by providing a wide variety of services to meet the needs of our residents, visitors and those who choose to invest in our area. The County’s Community Development Department provides a one-window approach to economic and community development. The municipality also provides building & planning services to residents interesting in developing, altering or renovating their properties. Learn more about The County’s municipal services by exploring TheCounty.ca.