Picton | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Picton, Ontario, unincorporated place, population 4,508 (2021 census), 4,395 (2016 census). Picton is on a peninsula of rolling farmland and sand beaches jutting out into Lake Ontario about 160 km east of Toronto. It is the administration centre for Prince Edward County.

Located on an arm of the Bay of Quinte, Picton developed as a harbour and distribution centre for the surrounding countryside. It was originally settled by Loyalists in the 1780s and was first named Hallowell. During the 1820s, the introduction of steamboats made the harbour more accessible to lake traffic. For two years (1833–35), Sir John A. Macdonald practised law there. An adjacent village called Picton was laid out, and the two communities were amalgamated as the town of Picton in 1837. It is named after Sir Thomas Picton, a British officer who died at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

In 1998, Picton, the other nine municipalities in Prince Edward County and the county itself amalgamated into one municipality under the county’s name. Picton is the administration centre for the county. It has remained a small lake port and service centre for the surrounding agricultural area. Tourism is an important part of its economy and that of Prince Edward County in general.

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