While Belleville is typically recognized for its’ proximity to the Bay, the outdoorsperson should note that it also has over 500 acres of parkland and trails in fifty sites around the city. Some are small decorative flower gardens or children’s play areas, still others like the Charlotte Sills Parks cater to sports, but some of the most beautiful are the waterfront parks and trails edging the Bay of Quinte and the Moira River.
Zwick’s Island is a multi-use park just off the Bay Bridge from Prince Edward County and Dundas St W. Route 2. Most of Belleville’s summer festivals are held here including the Canada Day events and Fireworks, Pride Festival, Waterfront Festival, RibFest, and the Multicultural Festival. Throughout the summer, musical events take place on Wednesday and Sunday evenings at the Lion’s Club Pavillion. The children’s park includes swings and creative wooden mazes for climbing, nearby are shallow pools for children to cool down on a summer day. Picnic tables are everywhere under the shade of huge old trees and nearby concession stands provide the mandatory ice cream and treats that come with a day in the park. Still, Zwick’s is home to far more than festivals and family picnics. From early morning onwards, runners jog the 3.9 km of trails that wind around the shoreline and through the park. They are joined by cyclists often choosing the scenic route to get to work.
The Kiwanis’ Bayshore Park Trail stretches 3.9 km from the boat launch near Meyers Pier to the boat launch at the end of Herchimer Ave. Along the way, you’ll find a comfort station with washrooms and a concession stand for ice cream and fast food, a children’s play park, and a walkway called Memory Lane which circles a small lagoon where turtles sun themselves on a floating dock. Memory Lane is lined with many inscribed bricks in memory of former residents and tributes to organizations and community leaders. One inscription asks cheerfully “Anyone for lemon meringue pie? Jennie Brown” bringing a smile to all who read it. The Memory Lane path ends at a memorial monument to the past railroad workers who have served the Belleville area.
The Parrott RiverFront Trail starts at the base of the bridge on Dundas St East with 2.2 km of trail along the banks of the Moira River behind downtown businesses. Office workers, cyclists, joggers and seniors from the downtown apartment towers make this beautiful walk part of their daily fitness routine. There are several seating areas along the path including the beautiful large gazebo in the Lions Park off Station St. At this point, the trail takes a turn over the foot bridge which crosses the river at the rapids and continues along the sidewalks of Moira St East as far as College St. It then joins up with the Riverside Park Trail.
The Riverside Park Trail is the longest trail with 5.2 km of trails with limited traffic along the upper area of Moira St. East and Park St. It has wide paved sidewalks and gravel riverside trails for the more adventurous who risk encountering a colony of territorial Canada geese on the river’s edge during nesting season. As the trail approaches Bell Road, the park widens to include a children’s splash pad and the Rotary Club’s Pirate Ship playground. The riverside trail continues on under the Bell Road bridge to follow the river bank right up to the 401 highway with biking and hiking trails.
Beat the summer heat on the trails along the shores of the Moira River and the Bay of Quinte in Belleville.
See the Belleville Trails map on the Belleville on Bikes website