Massassauga Point Conservation Area, Belleville, Ontario
This is a tucked away, quiet little spot worth getting out to if your in the Quinte/Prince Edward Area. Tucked around the bay of Quinte is offers a few hiking trails in the woods or take the shoreline water walk wrapping around the Bay Of Quinte. People also come here to picnic, or fish or just spend some quiet time.
History of Massassauga Point (Source QuinteConservation.ca)
The history of Massassauga Point dates back about seven hundred years. Evidence has been found between Massassauga and Rednersville of a people known as “mound builders” that are thought by some to be the ancestors of the North American Indians. Thirty to forty mounds have been found in the area, though there is no way to determine how long the mound builders might have lived here or what might have made them leave.
In 1615, Samuel de Champlain arrived at the Bay of Kente and explored the Counties of Prince Edward and Hastings. The Ma-se-sau-gee Indians inhabited the Point until 1856, when the last treaty was signed surrendering the area to Queen Victoria. It was not long before the Loyalists came from the colonies and gave the Point much of its history.
Once the Indians had lost claim to the land, it is assumed that the first owner was Adam H. Wallbridge. By 1877, the Point had become a beautiful resort with a large, three-story frame hotel as its central feature.
Visitors from New York, Toronto, Pole City, and even London, England came by the paddlewheel steamers common to the Bay of Quinte area before trains and automobiles.
In 1886, the Hotel was sold to Shelley Anderson and a Dance Pavilion was built. As you locate what was once the walkway between the Hotel and the Pavilion, you can still see the shagbark hickory trees that earned this place the name of “Hickory Nut Plains”. (Recent core testing of these nut trees showed their ages to be about 150 years.) There are also a number of foundations still around of the various outbuildings and cottages that surrounded the Hotel.
With excellent access by water, Prince Edward County was in its prime before the railways and roads made this travel by water virtually obsolete. This combined with issues regarding road access through private land and the Depression diminished the popularity of the resort.
In 1934 the Park was sold and the Hotel demolished.
In the late Thirties, the Ontario Rock Company began extracting limestone from a quarry at the southern tip of the shore. They only worked the Quarry until 1952 but limestone was still being taken out of the area in the Seventies
In 1971, Bruce and Dorothy Watson sold 24 hectares to the Prince Edward Region Conservation Authority (PERCA), designating it as a Conservation Area.
The Point suffered under funding and
vandalism until a proposal was accepted from the Quinte Environmental Resources Area in 1990 that moved to keep Massassauga Point a Conservation area.
It was at this time that the “Friends of Massassauga” banded together with PERCA to help save the Point from developers and to share some of the financial and maintenance responsibilities through fundraisers and volunteer cooperation.
in May of 1992, the Friends of Massassauga were recognized as “Conservationist of the Year” by PERCA for its many hours of volunteer work and fundraising. These efforts continue to day and are seen in the gates, shelter, picnic tables, signage and most recently, strategically placed benches allowing visitors to contemplate the beautiful lake shore views.
Massassauga Point is on the right