SmithS Falls Ontario
Today we’re going to explore Smiths Falls Ontario, a Rideau Canal town founded in 1783 on land originally granted to United Empire Loyalist Thomas Smyth.
Smyth sold the land to Abel Russell Ward, who did what every smart landowner near moving water did—he built a mill. By 1846 the village had 700 people and a host of bustling businesses including two taverns and 11 shoemakers.
Taming the Rideau River near Smiths Falls was a challenge requiring a series of four locks in three lock stations to make it navigable. Two of the original lockmaster’s houses remain standing today.
The arrival of railways in the mid-1800s marked a period of rapid growth and development for Smiths Falls. Two major railways went through town, bringing with them both workers and commerce.
The town became an industrial centre, home in the 20th century to such notable companies as RCA Victor, Coca-Cola, and Hershey’s Canada.
Smiths Falls has both history and fun things to do for the whole family. Located about an hour southwest of the city, it’s a great place for people living in Ottawa to escape for a weekend.
Downtown SMITHS FALLS
Downtown Smiths Falls is charming, practical, and historic. Stop by C’est Tout Bakery for home-baked sweet treats and sandwiches or drop in at Boomtown Fusion Eatery, where their huge menu has something for everyone.
As you head down Beckwith Street you’ll see the historic Town Hall. A Classical Revival style building, it was completed in 1859 and saw three additions over the next century.
You’ll also see the East Mill, part of the Wood’s Mill Complex. East Mill, completed in 1892, is a Federal Heritage Building representing the town’s industrial history and the solid craftsmanship of its commercial buildings.
Full of good food and good history, you’ll want to stop by Arlie’s Books and browse their enormous selection of new and used titles. Or pop into Pearl’s Gem for local crafts and gifts.
SMITHS FALLS Railway and Railway Museum
The Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario is a National Historic site set on over ten acres of land in Smiths Falls. Located in a station building constructed by the Canadian Northern Ontario Railway in 1912, the museum represents the heart of the town’s history.
The museum has historic train cars and thousands of artifacts on display for visitors. There are train rides and special events, educational programs, and group tours. You can even sleep overnight in a caboose! Live some history in one of the museum’s two available cabooses while enjoying the convenience of a few modern luxuries (that means you’ll have Wi-fi).
Perth and Smith Falls District Hospital
Smiths Falls and nearby Perth are home to the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital, with sites in both communities. While that might not seem extraordinary, having a state-of-the-art medical centre in a town of fewer than 10,000 people is quite special.
If you’re living in Ottawa or relocating to Ottawa and want a historic, rural setting with a modern healthcare facility, Smiths Falls is calling your name.
SMITHS FALLS REAL ESTATE
Smiths Falls is active in heritage conservation and contains some privately owned historic homes. If that’s not your style, there are several new developments under construction as well as townhomes, condos, and neighborhoods of homes built during the last century.
Smiths Falls offers a historic small-town vibe and the convenience of nearby Ottawa.
Nature lovers flock to the Rideau Canal towns for their plentiful outdoor recreation. One of Smiths Falls jewels is the Cataraqui Trail. A former railway bed, the trail is 104 kilometres of beautiful, quiet nature connecting Smiths Falls and Strathcona.
In the summer it hosts bicyclists, horseback riders, and hikers. In the winter the flat, even grade is perfect for cross-country skiers and snowmobilers. The well-maintained trail is home to plentiful wildlife and beautiful scenery.
The Rideau Canal is both a historic construction achievement and a sparkling place to play in Smiths Falls. Hit the beach, do some fishing, or stop in at the Visitor’s Centre. Enjoy a picnic near the locks and watch the boats pass or enjoy some time on the water in a kayak.
The Rideau Canal is the backbone of Smiths Falls and offers something for every member of the family to enjoy.
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