Southeastern Ontario is United Empire Loyalist country, colonised primarily by loyal British subjects fleeing the newly established United States of America at the end of the American Revolution (1776-1783). Because of the region's proximity to the US border (Morristown, New York, directly across the St. Lawrence River, is easily visible from Brockville's waterfront) this area was one of the front lines in the War of 1812. The town's name refers to General Isaac Brock, leader of British-Canadian soldiers in the Niagara region during that war.
Brockville is part of major transportation corridors between Toronto and Montréal, Canada's two largest cities. Transportation infrastructure includes the St. Lawrence Seaway, the CN Rail mainline (Toronto-Ottawa and Toronto-Montréal VIA passenger services follow the same path east to Brockville, then diverge) and roads such as Ontario Highways 2 and 401. The scenic Thousand Islands Parkway ends just west of the city.
The closest major airport is Ottawa-Uplands (YOW IATA), some 100 km distant. Montréal-Dorval (YUL IATA), while more distant, may also be a viable option as it offers relatively easy air-to-rail connections.
There is no active international crossing within Brockville, despite its close proximity to Morristown NY. A ferry once joined the two towns, but was abandoned after an international bridge opened at Prescott-Ogdensburg (1960); there's another bridge upriver in the Thousand Islands (1938).
From Ottawa, access to the region is normally by Highway 416 to Prescott, the next major town downriver. Travel time from Bayshore (in Ottawa's west end) to Brockville is nominally an hour (100 km, 60 miles). From Smiths Falls, the Brockville Road (old Highway 29) is a half-hour of driving on two-lane road.
- 1 Megabus, 3049 Jefferson Dr (Food Basics parking lot near KFC). The Toronto-Montréal service stops about 2.2 km from Brockville's Courthouse Square. There is no Brockville ticket agent; pay the driver directly.
- 2 VIA Rail, 141 Perth St, Brockvegas K6V 5E4 (1km NW of downtown Brockville), ☏ , toll-free: . Service from Toronto, Ottawa, and Montréal. The station is open 30 minutes before and after train time according to a posted sign, and is staffed.
There is a set of three local buses which operate once an hour within city limits, but no evening or Sunday service.
There are three local taxi companies, Executive +1 613-342-2000, Yellow Cab +1 613-345-5911 and City Taxi +1 613-345-5888.
As Brockville is a small city, much (at least within the downtown) is within walking distance, including the rail station. In rural areas, however, a motorcar may well prove to be a necessity.
- 1 Brockville Railway Tunnel. 9am-9pm; April to early November. Canada's first railway tunnel passes under City Hall continuing north under Victoria Avenue. It is about 500 metres long. Since August 12, 2017, visitors can walk the entire length of the tunnel on a paved walkway. The artistic lighting is a major feature within the tunnel, which changes the colour of the tunnel lining to accompanying background music. Occasionally, a flash of light will pass through the tunnel accompanyed by the sound of a train. Free.
- 4 Court House Square (Court House Avenue). Court House Square is an attractive, wide street with landscaped islands, a statue and a fountain. The square is dominated by the Court House at the north end.
- 5 Brockville Museum, 5 Henry St, ☏ . Museum: 10AM-5PM in summer; farmers market: Sa 8AM-3PM. Waterfront museum's exhibits and artifacts recall Brockville's Loyalist heritage. The museum is located in the former Aurinda and Isaac Beecher House, built ca. 1815 (rear) and ca. 1840 (front). $4.50/person.
- 6 Fulford Place, 287 King St. E, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Open 10am-5pm from the Victoria Day weekend to Labour Day; irregular hours during the shoulder season. Museum and tea room in 35-room 1901 senator's mansion with original furnishings of the Edwardian era, public tours. If the museum is closed, visitors may visit the gardens and walk the exterior veranda of the mansion. $5/person.
- 7 The Aquatarium at Tall Ships Landing, 6 Broad St, ☏ . The Aquatarium is a non-profit interactive science and education museum that focuses on the history and ecology of the Thousand Islands region of the Saint Lawrence River. The museum includes tanks with live water-based creatures, videos and child-oriented displays.
Brockville has some attractive cultural heritage buildings, some of which may not be open to the public but can all be viewed from a public sidewalk.
- 8 Brockville City Hall (Victoria Hall), 1 King St W, ☏ . This heritage building, built in 1862-64 as Victoria Hall, once had a second floor concert hall. It was remodelled after 1904 to become Brockville City Hall. The Brockville Railway Tunnel passes under the building.
- 9 Leeds and Grenville County Court House (Brockville Court House), 1 Court House Square. This monumental, grandiose court house is a National Historic Site of Canada overlooking the pictoresque Court House Square. The building contains a jail. The central portion of the building was built 1842-1844 with the west wing added in 1888. The Gaoler's House on the east side was built in 1898.
- 10 First Presbyterian Church, 10 Church St (at William St). Built in 1879.
- 11 Wall Street United Church, 5 Wall St. Built as a Methodist church built 1830-1896.
- 12 Thomas Fuller Building (former Post Office and Customs House), 12 Court House Ave. The former Post Office and Customs House built in 1883-85 was designed by architect Thomas Fuller for whom the fountain in Court House Square was dedicated.
- 13 Elizabeth and Alexander Morris House, 22 Court House Ave. Private residence. Built ca. 1835.
- 14 Jane and Newton Cossitt House, 58 Wall St (at Pearl St). Private residence. Attractive Victorian house with bay windows and a tower-like roof structure. Built in 1883.
- 15 Mary Ann and Robert Wright House, 17 Sherwood St (at Granite St E). Private residence. Attractive Victorian house with a tower-like roof structure. Built in 1880.
- 16 Two Victorian houses, 10 & 12 Victoria Ave (near Brockville City Hall). Private residences or businesses. Although these two Victorian houses have very fanciful façades, they do not seem to have official heritage status.
- Adam Fullerton House, 10 Victoria Ave. Built circa 1895.
- Margaret & Dr. Vincent Moore House, 12 Victoria Ave. Built in 1880.
- 1 1000 Island Cruises, 30 Blockhouse Island Pkwy, ☏ , toll-free: . Cruises available mid-May through mid-Oct, although not all cruises are available every day (particularly outside of June, July and August). Offers a variety of 1-3 hour cruises on the St. Lawrence River and 3-6 hour cruises on the Rideau Canal. 1000 Islands: $16-60 (adult), $8-43 (child); Rideau Canal: $35-75 (adult), $25-50 (child).
- 2 Brockville Arts Centre, 235 King St. West, ☏ . Gallery: M-F 10AM-5PM; Sa 10AM-3PM. Live theatre and art gallery.
- 3 Thousand Islands Parkway. Scenic route with walking and cycling paths, begins west of the city leading through Mallorytown to Gananoque.
There are two principal commercial districts. The town's main street, King Street (old Ontario Highway 2) is one block from the waterfront and the home of most of the city's established independent merchants. There is also some newer commercial development along the freeway (Parkedale Avenue parallels Highway 401 between exits 696 and 698; the Stewart and Parkedale area includes grocers, big-box/department stores, fast food and chain hotels as well as the 1000 Islands Mall).
- Various national fast-food franchises (McDo, Harvey's, Burger King, KFC, Swiss Chalet) are located near Highway 401 exit 696 (Stewart and Parkedale). There is a food court in the 1000 Islands Mall.
- 1 Buds on the Bay, 17 Broad St., ☏ . Pub and dining room; steak and seafood on an outdoor riverside patio.
- 2 Buell St. Bistro, 27 Buell St., ☏ . Daily 5PM-10PM, and Sa Su 11AM-4PM. Mediterranean. Live jazz on Saturday evenings. $12-20/person.
- 3 Cosies, 45 King St W (opposite Courthouse Square), ☏ . Tu-Sa 8AM-5PM, Su 9AM-4PM. British tea room offering British-style pastries and light meals. A nice combo is tea and a scone with jam and clotted cream. A local resident makes the pastries and clotted cream for the café.
- 4 Crow's Nest Riverside Bistro, 30 Block House Island Pkwy (downtown at municipal harbour), ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Apr-Oct: 10AM-11PM. Seafood and roadhouse fare, licensed, casual, overlooks the St. Lawrence River. $12-26.
- 5 The Mill Restaurant, 123 Water St. W, ☏ , fax: . A Taste of Italy main floor dining room and lower level Grindstone Tapas Lounge in the former Shepherd Grist Mill built in 1852 on Buell Creek.
- 6 New York Restaurant, 19 King St. W, ☏ . Daily 11AM-9PM. Chinese takeout/restaurant in centre of downtown.
- 7 O'Mally Kourt Fudgery, 55 King St W (just west of Courthouse Square), ☏ . M-F 11AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-6PM, Su noon-8PM. The store features varieties of fancy fudge made by the business owners as well as ice cream and coffee. The store provide tables and chairs for customers. There are also novelty items such as soap shaped and coloured as dessert items.
There are several hotels off Highway 401 at the Stewart Blvd interchange.
- A Highway 401 rest area west of the city (ONroute Mallorytown, both directions) provides 60 minutes free wi-fi to travellers.