Today we are heading about an hour south of Ottawa to the picturesque town of Perth. Situated along the banks of the Tay River, Perth Ontario was originally a military settlement. Shortly after the war of 1812, many former soldiers moved into the area. Not only Canadians but folks from many Western European countries such as Ireland and Italy made their homes here. Men who had fought in the war and were awarded land for their services. In 1824 the military handed the town over the citizens, and it became a municipality and was for many years the judicial and social centre of the Ottawa Valley. Perth takes great pride in its Canadian and International roots, hosting both the Festival of Maples in the spring and the Perth Kilt Run each summer. Today the city is a beautiful mixture of new and old, with modern amenities such as restaurants and breweries nestled next to hundred-year-old stone buildings in the downtown area. Perth is also home to a vibrant art scene. They have the local community theatre as well as the bandstand behind Town Hall, where local musicians have been performing since 1901. Like much of the Ottawa Valley, Perth is beautiful not only architecturally but naturally too. The city is home to the fantastic Stewart Park, and just outside of town, you can find Murphy’s Point Provincial Park, where you can enjoy a multitude of outdoor activities.
Downtown PERTH ONTARIO
When you cross the bridge into Downtown Perth, you will feel like you have stepped back in time. The Downtown area is located on an island between two channels of the Tay River and is a designated Heritage Conservation District. These old stone walls have housed numerous businesses over the last century. For example, in 1840, Code’s Mill was a tanner; today, it is home to boutiques, as well as BlackFly, which serves gourmet doughnuts and Perth’s Chocolate Works. One of Downtown’s most interesting buildings is the Crystal Palace. This one-of-a-kind building is constructed from old street bus enclosures and hosts many of the city’s events, such as the summer Farmers Markets and many activities during the Festival of Maples.
While you are strolling through Downtown, be sure to check out some of the local restaurants. There is an abundance of them, and you are sure to find something you like. For example, hideaway Cafe specializes in breakfast and brunch, and their s’mores French toast is a delicious cross between comfort food and decadent dessert. But be sure to pop in early as they are only open until 2 in the afternoon. If you are looking for something a little more exotic than eggs and bacon, Kothu Labs is a fun and tasty Sri Lankan restaurant located on Foster St. At Kothu Labs, you can mix and match ingredients to make a meal catered to your liking. They also have a wide range of vegan and gluten-free options. Finally, be sure to save room for dessert because you wouldn’t want to miss out on Perth Pie Company which offers a diverse range of flavors from butterscotch meringue to maple and just about every combination of apple and berry you can imagine.
Not only does Perth have an impressive selection of places to eat, but they also have a wide variety of local beers, thanks to the city’s three breweries. Weatherhead Brewery is located in the town’s last remaining Wampole building, which has been beautifully renovated. So sit out on the deck and take in views of the original Bridgemasters house and Swing Bridge while sipping a brew named after a piece of local history. Perth Brewery has been perfecting their craft since 1993 and has a wide range of ales that come in fun, loudly colored cans. In addition, they are known for their excellent customer service and willingness to help folks find the right drink. Top Shelf Distillery is a whole different experience, offering whiskeys, moonshine, and spirits. You can also purchase one of their cocktail kits or sign up for their monthly cocktail subscription box.
Full Circle Theater
While you are in Perth Ontario be sure to take in a show by Barn Door Productions at the Full Circle Theatre on Craig Street. Barn Door has been putting on shows around the Perth area since 1995, but found a more permanent home in the Full Circle Theatre eight years ago. The building itself dates back to 1947 and was originally the home of Charlie’s Car wash. Through extensive renovations and countless volunteer hours it has been transformed into the most comfortable and accessible theatre in Perth.
In addition to the many social and cultural highlights, Perth Ontario is also home to some beautiful outdoor and recreation areas. One of the most popular green spaces in town is the picturesque Stewart Park, located right in the heart of town. Situated on the same island as Downtown, Stewart Park is the perfect place to take a stroll or have a picnic lunch while watching the herons along the banks of the Tay River. If you are in town during the summer months, this is the popular Stewart Park Festival site, and you can often find local musicians playing at the pavilion. When Mrs. Stewart gifted the park to the city in 1947, it was with the condition that any events held there be free, making the park beautiful and cost-effective.
Murphy’s Point in PERTH ONTARIO
Murphy’s Point Provincial Park is just the spot if you are looking for something a bit more rural than a Downtown Park. Located a short drive outside of town, this park is excellent for a day trip or take advantage of the camping areas and spend a weekend. Murphy’s Point has several hiking trails that lead to historical landmarks. For example, the Silver Mine Trail will take you to the site of a partially restored 1900s silver mine. Or take the Loon Lake Loop Trail to the McParlan house and view the early 1800s sawmill and farm, now an archeological site. Being located on Big Rideau Lake, the park provides ample opportunity for swimming, canoeing, and kayaking.
Kiwi Gardens is technically a nursery, but it is also so much more than that. Located on over 10 acres, Kiwi Gardens incorporates walking paths, show gardens, art, and a nursery. During Art in the Garden, you can admire and purchase art from numerous local artists. On any visit, you can pick from Kiwi’s selection of over 1000 perennials and succulents. If you are having trouble deciding, feel free to ask any of the gardners on staff who will be happy to help you plan your own outdoor oasis.