Trent Severn Waterway

Trent Severn Waterway is a National Historic Site of Canada

The Trent-Severn is an operational canal linking Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay in Lake Huron. The waterway is 386 km long, with 45 locks, and 15 swing bridges.

Originally built between 1833 to 1920 to carry commercial shipping, the Waterway is now a major centre of tourism and recreational boating, as well as a source of hydroelectric energy and community water.

The south end of the Waterway begins at Trenton, Ontario, located at the western end of the Quinte area, a protected cruising area from Kingston to the Murray Canal (leading into Lake Ontario).

Sailors who wish to transit the Trent Severn Waterway must take their mast down, and make sure of water depths before beginning their journey. The waterway winds though lakes, rivers, canals, locks, and even a marine lift at Peterborough (see photo above). The waterway is a shortcut to Georgian Bay, instead of cruising through Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron. Read a letter from a happy Trent Canal tourist (1997).

If you're headed to Georgian Bay, be sure to listen to (The Little Current Cruisers Net) on VHF radio channel 71. During July and August at 9:00 am, you'll hear broadcasts of weather, sports, and news, followed by a check-in for boaters cruising Canada’s beautiful North Channel.

Compare Rideau and Trent Waterways

Rideau CanalTrent-Severn Waterway
Distance202 km386 km
Lockstations, Locks24 stations, 49 locks43 stations, 45 locks
EndpointsOttawa (Ottawa River)
Kingston (Lake Ontario)
Trenton (Lake Ontario)
Port Severn (Lake Huron)
Paddling time6+ days (from Kingston)
7+ days (from Ottawa)
11+ days


The charts for the Trent Severn waterway cover Trenton, Ontario on Lake Ontario to Port Severn, Ontario on Georgian Bay. Note: many navigational aids shown on pre-2007 charts have been removed from the Trent system (see NOTMAR for changes). Here are some chart numbers for the Trent Waterway: 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, 2028, 2029.

  1. Trent Severn Waterway charts (image)
  2. Map of waterways: Ontario, Quebec, New York (image)
  3. Map of waterways: Great Lakes, Mississippi, ICW (image)
  4. Government Directory: Hydrographic Services and Notices to Mariners (NOTMAR)