Bay of Quinte Tourism

The Cardinal: Downtown Trenton’s Cozy Nest for Live Music

a crowd of people sitting at tables inside The Cardinal, listening to a musician playing live music on the stage


the storefront for The Cardinal with a bright red and white sign with the business name on it Remember the bland, carpeted office on 56b Quinte Street in downtown Trenton with that distinct 80s charm? I do. Being a local marketing consultant has its perks, especially when you get a front-row seat to an amazing transformation like The Cardinal

The owners Alex Rhindress, Will Montreuil, and Mac Cairns wanted something more for the community, a place where everyone could find a beat that spoke to them. 

Now, after seven months of extensive renovations, it stands transformed into Quinte West’s very own music sanctuary. Their hands-on approach was inspiring as they stripped the old, reimagined the space, and brought to life a place where everyone in the region could connect with music on a personal level. 

tables and chairs and the bar inside The Cardinal with an industrial look complete with concrete floors, steel furniture and a black ceiling


On a recent warm afternoon, I walked into The Cardinal. It was 1:00 in the afternoon and the venue wouldn’t be open for a few hours. The room was empty, except for Alex, one of the three local owners casually playing his bass. He looked up and flashed an easygoing grin. 

It felt like I’d walked into a friend’s living room, cozy and inviting. That’s the charm of The Cardinal. “We just wanted to give Trenton a place where everyone could share the music,” Alex told me, with a spark in his eyes. 


Forget the canned music; The Cardinal is about the fresh and live tunes. “Music is something that connects us all. We wanted to create a space where that connection could happen every day,” Alex revealed. Their commitment to delivering daily live performances breathes life into the local music scene. 


One of the owners, Alex Windress, while being interviewed by the author.

While I was connecting with Alex over our shared experiences growing up in Trenton, Jon Roblin, a local jazz musician who frequently plays at The Cardinal on Wednesday evenings, casually strolled in. Despite the venue being closed, he seemed perfectly at home. The Cardinal, he commended, is ‘advocating for the arts’ and ‘keeping music live.’

Jon’s approval of The Cardinal says a lot about this place. The owners are committed to supporting the arts in many ways. 


Perhaps my favourite feature of The Cardinal is its partnership with Ardens, our local music store. This collaboration gives the budding musicians of the region a place to perform and thrive. “We wanted to involve the community as much as possible. What better way than with the kids who are just starting their music journey?” Alex mused, reflecting their community-centric vision. 


The Cardinal isn’t just a venue; it’s a story of transformation, friendship, and the undying rhythm of Quinte West. It promises that every day will be unique, filled with fresh music. “Every day is different, every day is special,” Alex shared with enthusiasm. 

When you’re in downtown Trenton next, drop by The Cardinal. Enjoy the live music, absorb the atmosphere, and you might even catch Jon Roblin belting out a smooth jazz melody. 

If you hold a passion for music, you’ll find yourself right at home.

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Bay of Quinte Region is an alliance of interdependent communities, bound together by a common history, shared economy, and the water that surrounds and defines us. We hope to welcome you soon.

© 2023 Bay of Quinte Region | © TripAdvisor 2023

Bay of Quinte Region is an alliance of interdependent communities, bound together by a common history, shared economy, and the water that surrounds and defines us. We hope to welcome you soon.