Deseronto offers a welcome reprieve from mainstream sights and activities, while providing ease of access to both rural and urban amenities. Characterized by its beautiful open waterfront on the Bay of Quinte; historic downtown featuring specialty shops, antique & collectible dealers, artisans, dining and services; modern accommodations, cultural and recreation experiences - come explore all that Deseronto has to offer.
Some of the Town’s many great features include:
- Antique & specialty shopping experiences
- Galleries featuring works by local artisans
- Dining to satisfy every craving
- Charming, modern accommodations
- Scenic waterfront parks & open spaces
- Public boat launch & docking facilities (providing access to year round fishing opportunities)
- Recreation, cultural & social events, programs and facilities
- Distinct history shaped by loyalist, mohawk and industrial Heritage
- Unique and affordable business & development opportunities
- Close Proximity to Many Surrounding Attractions
Deseronto Tourism Information
331 Main St. - Deseronto Town Hall
Visit the Deseronto Town Hall for tourism information during office hours, or visit Deseronto’s website for information 24 hours a day.
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri: 8:30am-4:30pm
Easily explored on foot, the historic downtown and business area are just steps away from the beautiful open waterfront and feature a unique mix of retail, professional services, recreation and attractions. Home to fine and casual dining; antiques, artisans & unique retail shops specializing in home décor, gifts, books, collectibles, floral, accessories, and more - your authentic experience awaits. Browse the fine selection of shops & boutiques; experience the unique history, sites and architecture; enjoy a leisurely or convenient lunch or snack at one of our cafes, bakery, tea room or restaurants.
Festivals & Events
A variety of seasonal and community events take place throughout the year in Deseronto. Events include: the annual Santa Claus Parade/Tree Lighting Ceremony, Canada Day, Easter Egg Hunt/Celebration, Family Day, sales vendor & auction events, community yard/sidewalk sales, Rathbun Park Market, concerts/performances, social activities, and other seasonal and onetime events.
A variety of local groups and organizations also host a wide range of events. Organizations such as the Deseronto Arts & Culture Society, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 280, Fixed Fur Life, Community Care for South Hastings, Deseronto Yacht Club, Quinte Singers and Public Library; host several events including concerts, performances, arts/ culture displays, classes & demonstrations, and social functions. The Deseronto Community Centre is also home to a variety of sports/recreation and community functions throughout the year.
For details regarding Deseronto’s festivals/events, view the community events calendar to the left of this page.
Antiques/Collectibles, Artisans & Specialty Shops
Hunt for one-of-a-kind treasures in Deseronto’s vast assortment of antique & collectible dealers. Discover the creative works of local artisans featuring soapstone & metal sculptures, photography, paintings, jewellery/accessories, pottery, woodworking and more. Browse the variety of specialty shops where you’ll find jewellery, accessories, home décor and more.
Experience the array of local foods & beverages at our restaurants/cafes, tea room and bakery. Enjoy a fantastic meal amongst a magnificent waterfront setting that offers spectacular views, immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings of our Victorian Tea Room, and savor the renowned pizza and selection of bakery goods and offerings at the many dining establishments.
Waterfront & Outdoor Spaces
Nestled on the shores of the beautiful Bay of Quinte, Deseronto is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts; the town is home to world class year round sport fishing and a wide array of water-based activities, amenities and supplies. Centennial Park on Deseronto’s waterfront features a scenic accessible waterfront just waiting to be explored. Available amenities include boat launch/docking, playground facilities, trails, viewpoints/rest areas, refreshment services, and more. Celebrate your inner nature lover by exploring the many green spaces in and around Deseronto.
Travel the Waterfront Trail to discover Deseronto’s waterfront, much of which is accessible to the public. Deseronto’s signed nature trail leads from Main St. to Dundas St. through a scenic area located at the western edge of town. Many biking/hiking trails and driving tours are also nearby; some of which include Hastings County Arts Route, Lennox & Addington’s County Trails, the Prince Edward County Taste Trail, Studio/Gallery Tours & Wine Routes, the Loyalist Parkway, and the Rideau Heritage Route.
Take in the hustle & bustle of downtown Deseronto from picturesque Rathbun Park -a focal point of the community - the park features a stately fountain and gazebo, flowers/foliage, benches, cobblestone paths and wonderful views of heritage buildings and sites.
The Deseronto Yacht Club hosts several fishing derbies including Walleye, Bass, and family fishing derbies. Club facilities include docking, launching, boat storage and the club house features a lounge/bar for members. New members are always welcome. Moore Marina, adjacent to the Yacht Club, offers boat sales, marine/boating services and rentals/charters. See the Marine/Boating Services section of the directory for details regarding the Yacht Club & Moore Marina.
Heritage & Culture Deseronto was founded on Loyalist, Mohawk, military and industrial roots, which has contributed significantly to its history, and continues to both define and be embraced by the Town today.
The Founding of Deseronto - Led by Deserontyon (Captain John), a group of Mohawks, supporters of the British during the American Revolution, in 1784 became this area’s first settlers. Lands to the east of the Mohawks’ reserve were patented by John Culbertson in 1837. He began selling village lots in his tract in 1840. Culbertson registered a survey for a village, “Deseronca”, in 1850, although the settlement was called “Mill Point” 1850-81. After 1855 Hugo B. Rathbun acquired many village properties and built one of the province’s earliest “company towns” here to house employees of his shipyard and sawmill. A county by-law of 1871 provided for the incorporation of Mill Point as a village. It was renamed “Deseronto” in 1881 and became a Town in 1889. - Caption from “Founding of Deseronto” heritage plaque located in Centennial Park.
Hugo B. Rathbun’s son E.W. Rathbun (Edward) - elected as first Mayor of Deseronto in 1889 - led the company to great heights. At the peak of the company’s Deseronto operations it owned two sawmills; a sash, blind and door factory; flour mill; terra cotta works; chemical works; railcar works; shipyard; machine shop; cedar mill; grain elevator; coal shed, docks and wharves; a steamboat company, and railways including the Bay of Quinte Railway; Napanee, Tamworth, Quebec and Thousand Islands Railway.
Heritage/cultural influences are evident at every turn; from a wide array of historic and cultural sites, programs, and activities - to the town’s rich stock - to the town’s rich stock of 19th & 20th century residential and commercial properties.
The Deseronto Post Office, constructed in 1901 and designed by Chief Dominion Architect Thomas Fuller, was designed to function as the Deseronto Post Office and continues to do so today; it also provided accommodation for the Customs Service, the Indian Agent, and living space in the third level for an employee or caretaker. Life in Deseronto, and in the third-level residential space, has been portrayed in Frances Itani’s novel Deafening (2003).
The Deseronto Town Hall, built in 1904, as a branch of the Bank of Montreal, the main floor housed the bank and offices, while the upper floors provided accommodation for a bank employee. The building became the Town Hall in late 1945, with the Council holding its first meeting there on November 15th. The design reflects the Queen Anne Revival Style, and key features include large plate-glass windows, slate roof, entrance stair with low, Kingston limestone wall and brass rail, impressive vault, and wood fireplace mantle in what is now the Clerk’s office with art glass in the flanking cupboards. The Town Hall welcomes visitors, provides tourism and community information and is open to the public from Mon-Fri, 8:30am-4:30pm.
Naylor’s Theatre, an iconic property bordering the eastern edge of downtown Deseronto, was once a Vaudeville performance theatre built in the late 1800’s that was the most prominent of its kind between Kingston and Toronto during its glory days. The Deseronto Arts & Culture Society is working to restore and re-open the theatre.
Hollywood dancers, Vernon and Irene Castle, performed at Naylor’s. Vernon Castle was a flying instructor with the Royal Flying Corps at Camp Rathbun, a World War I pilot training camp located in Deseronto. During 1917 and 1918 Deseronto was home to a World War I pilot training facility (Camps Rathbun and Mohawk) which trained around 4,000 Royal Flying Corps fighter pilots. The pilot training camps are portrayed in C.W. Hunt’s novel Dancing in the Sky: The Royal Flying Corps in Canada (2009).
Centrally located amongst many Bay of Quinte attractions including golf courses, recreation facilities, museums/galleries, provincial parks and nature preserves, trail systems, historic sites, points of interest, shopping and culinary experiences -come experience all Deseronto has to offer.
__________________________________Points of Interest
Dundas St. East/County Rd. 2
Deseronto’s Cemetery is located on County Rd. #2 just east of Deseronto overlooking the beautiful Bay of Quinte. Operated and maintained by the Town, it is a beautiful resting place featuring stately trees, perennial plantings, walkways, seating areas and can accommodate both upright memorials and flat markers. The cemetery is unique in that it has both a Catholic and Protestant side, and an area designated for WWI RAF/RFC airmen and officers as well.
Historic Naylor’s Theatre
377 Main St.
President: Barbara M. Thompson
The Deseronto Arts & Culture Society (DACS) is a non-profit organization formed in 2004. This organization is working towards restoring and re-opening the Naylor Theatre as a performing arts centre.
332 Main St. (southwest of Town Hall)
The community war cenotaph honours veterans of war, and is the site of annual Remembrance Day Ceremonies.
Heritage Plaque - Founding of Deseronto
Centennial Park (Main St. West, south of Community Centre)
Community heritage plaque commemorating the founding of Deseronto.
Heritage Plaque - Captain George Fraser Kerr, V.C., M.C., M.M.
Centennial Park (Main St. West, south of Community Centre)
Military Captain born in Deseronto who was awarded for his courage and leadership. He won the Military Medal, the Military Cross, and was awarded with The Victoria Cross (The British Empires highest decoration for valour).
Heritage Plaque - Camp Rathbun WWI Pilot Training Site
Deseronto played a key role in the development of the Allied air forces during WWI. For a 19-month stretch between the spring of 1917 until the end of 1918 the Deseronto Wing was home to a training facility that helped churn out some 4,000 Royal Flying Corps fighter pilots, in turn paving the way for Canada’s increasing influence on the international stage.