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It's Kind of a Big Deal

Big things are happening in the Bay of Quinte. While the region has long been known as an attractive destination to live, work and play, the interconnected communities are kicking it up a notch for residents and visitors looking for one-of-a-kind experiences. Here’s the proof!

Written by Fiona Campbell

a modern living room with muted tones, hardwood floors and wood beams


501 Harmony Road, Belleville

Black Bear Ridge is a golfer’s haven. Designed and owned by the late Brian Magee and opened in 2005, the 18-hole championship course ranks #19 on SCOREGolf magazine’s list of the top public courses in Canada.

But childhood friends Cale Fair and Alex Sharpe, who acquired the 900-acre property in 2021, saw it as more than one of the best places to golf in the country. They saw the potential to build a world-class destination that would put Belleville on the map.

an aerial view of a golf course surrounded by trees.

“There are a lot of positives about the region, especially with Belleville making a push to be a destination itself,” says vice president Cale Fair. “There are great businesses, outdoor amenities, events—that momentum attracted us to the opportunity of Black Bear Ridge.”

Phase One has seen the reinvention of Black Bear Ridge from a golf course to a four-season resort. The duo tasked designer Carlo Colacci, the visionary behind Toronto’s Drake General Store, with the reinvention of three stay-and-play properties less than 800 metres from the first tee. Sleeping between four and twenty guests, the interiors are fresh and contemporary, with nods to more traditional golf- inspired plaids and stripes. Adding to the wow factor: a massive bear mural by Toronto-based street artist BirdO on the side of the cart building.

Golf gets a bad rap for being stuffy and pretentious, but, says Fair, “We’ve learned a lot about Black Bear Ridge’s role in the community, and we believe we must make it more inclusive and accessible to folks in Belleville and the surrounding regions.”

Black Bear Ridge is much more than just a challenging 18-hole course. The vibe is “laid-back luxury,” and all levels of play are welcome at the resort. There’s a 9-hole short course, a 300-plus-yard driving range, and a new bocce golf course (think bocce meets mini putt). And for those who (gasp) don’t like golf? There’s a seasonal restaurant, not to mention hundreds of acres of woods to explore in any season by foot, cross-country ski or snowshoe. The Black Bear pro shop is Quinte’s only authorized Lululemon retailer.

Phase two of the project will feature a $1.56 billion residential build—the largest development project in Belleville’s history. When complete, the community will include 3,000 mixed residential units integrated into the property’s existing natural setting, along with commercial areas, wooded parks and trails, and a destination spa.

Provincial zoning approval has been granted for the project; the next steps include studies and consultations with key stakeholders. While the full build is expected to take 20 years, shovels will hopefully be in the ground in early 2024.

a painting of a brown bear on the side of a building.


Glen Miller Road & Douglas Rd, Quinte West

Mike Eden has a vision, and he can sum it up in three words: Eat, Shop and Play.

That’s the catchphrase for Homestead Marketplace, a new commercial development in Quinte West owned and operated by Eden and his wife, Nickey, that’s going to change the way families look at how they shop and play.

“The idea for Homestead Marketplace was a destination for Quinte-region residents, but also a place for travellers and visitors to go and experience our community,” he says.

Located on 18 acres of land with easy access to Highway 401 (just look for the 80-foot flagpole and colossal Canadian flag), there are 85,000 square feet of retail space offering everything from furnishings to outdoor power equipment. (Phase Two will see 8 new businesses join the original 12.)

a group of people sitting around a fire pit.

Located on 18 acres of land with easy access to Highway 401 (just look for the 80-foot flagpole and colossal Canadian flag), there are 85,000 square feet of retail space offering everything from furnishings to outdoor power equipment. (Phase Two will see 8 new businesses join the original 12.)

For the foodies (and because no one likes a hangry shopper), there’s an Eggsmart for the early birds, BeaverTails to satisfy that sweet tooth, and Shoeless Joe’s for watching the game. Kick back and watch the sunset on one of several outdoor patios, including the largest in Quinte Region—a 5,000-square-foot space decked out with an indoor and outdoor bar, fire pits and Muskoka chairs.

Kids (big and small) can play at the Adventure Park, where thrill seekers can test their balance and dexterity on a high ropes course with 16 vertigo-inducing obstacles. Down below, golfers can practice their putting at an 18-hole mini-course. There’s even a pond, with remote-controlled boats and, in the centre, a massive 30-foot water tower with a rotating water wheel, water diverters and log cutters—an ode to Trenton’s history as a logging community.

This nod to the past is important to Eden, a self-professed history buff, who plans to integrate information about the RCAF, the Trent-Severn Waterway and Hollywood North throughout the development to create a sense of place and heritage.

“It helps people understand more about the community, whether you’ve lived here forever or you’ve just moved to the area,” says Eden.

There will be a pavilion to host onsite events, such as car shows, concerts or a market, to raise money for the community. “We like to think that our people and infrastructure are our biggest assets for lending support to various initiatives within the community,” says Eden, adding, “Communities aren’t built for us, they’re built by us.”

Eden expects the project to open in summer of 2023.

an artist's rendering of a children's play area.


4159 County Rd 9, Napanee

The north shore of Hay Bay in Greater Napanee is on its way to becoming a new four-season waterfront destination for both visitors and locals.

Ken Dunn, owner of Cottage Dream Vacations based in Ontario, purchased the former Perfect Vue Resort property in the fall of 2022 and quickly got to work on the site plans and building permits to bring his vision to life.

The goal is to turn the property into a 5-star, family-friendly resort that will benefit the local community with a restaurant accompanied by a large patio and a beach.

a group of people standing on top of a sandy beach.

Ken and his team are doing a complete renovation of the property, including replacing the previous cottages (which had been there since the early 1960s. In their place will be 30 brand-new cottages ranging from one to four bedrooms, a pool with a swim-up bar and lounge areas, plus a cabana bar on the beach. Canoe and kayak rentals will be available for anyone looking to get out on the water if they didn’t come by boat. The plan also features a general store with locally produced foods and an LCBO on-site.

“We’re taking down as much as we can and rebuilding to turn it into this beautiful vision that we have for Hay Bay,” says the resort’s General Manager, Richard Reid, who recently moved to Greater Napanee from Niagara-on-the-Lake, where he spent 19 years as General Manager for White Oaks Resort and Spa.

For those living nearby who want to set their out-of-office reply and take a mini-vacation close to home, Hay Bay Resort will offer day passes for the beach and pool. The restaurant and boat launch will also be open to the public.

“Our entire property will be open for public access. We want to be a part of the local community as much as possible,” says Reid. “All are welcome.”

Phase one is set to open in July 2023, with nine of the 30 cottages and the restaurant, pool and beach available to guests. Phase two will see the completion of the remaining cottages, a 300-person event space perfect for weddings and corporate events, a spa and a marina with docks to accommodate boats up to 60 feet. Reid anticipates the resort will be complete at some point in 2024.

a house with a pool in the middle of it.
an open book with a pencil sticking out of it.

A collection of all our stories from the BOQ

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a man riding a wave on top of a surfboard.

Let’s see what we got!

a black and blue logo with the words bay of county.

The Bay of Quinte RMB Land Acknowledgement

The Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board is committed to acknowledging, appreciating and understanding the Indigenous peoples’ historic connection to this land and to raising awareness by building relationships in collaboration with Indigenous partners and communities. 

We recognize and acknowledge that we are living and working on the traditional territory of the Wendat, Mississauga, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee which includes the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka (Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte) with whom we work in direct partnership with. 

This partnership focuses on the common goal of celebrating the region with the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka who are equal partners within the organization and at the Board of Directors table contributing to the mandate and operations.

This mandate includes listening to, learning from, and collaborating with the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka and actively incorporating their culture and heritage into the practice of responsible destination marketing and management of the region.

We understand that this land acknowledgement is only a small step towards the larger process of reparations and reconciliation.

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