Yesterday, June 30th my mom and I did a day trip to drop off a few packages 2 hours and 15 minutes West of Havelock to Stittsville, Ontario. Picnic lunch in hand (sandwiches, fruit, snacks, chocolate and water) we were ready to head out for the day. Stittsville is a suburban area that is part of the city of Ottawa (an area I’ve never been too). We took Highway 7 East (I’ve only been as far as South Frontenac). The drive did not disappoint, there were beautiful old farmhouses and barns with incredible pastures, forests and beautiful views of water all around. We also drove through some very small towns that had seen better days – many had defunct old motels that may have one day been well cared for.
We planned our day out to maximize what we could do between 8:30am and 4pm – a full day (5 hours driving).
History of Stittsville, Ontario – Wikipedia
“The first settlers to the area were Irish soldiers, arriving in the 1820s. The town itself was born in the 1850s by Jackson Stitt, for whom the town is named; he was also the first postmaster in the area.
By 1866, Stittsville was a post village with a population of 100, situated in the township of Goulbourn. The village contained one general store, one common school, with an average attendance of seventeen pupils. The Loyal Orange Lodge, No. 210, met in Orange Hall, on the first Thursday in each month. The citizens included John S Argue, general merchant and postmaster.
The Great Carleton Fire of 1870 devastated the community, destroying nearly everything. Kemp’s Tavern on Hazeldean road, built in 1868, which now houses “Cabotto’s Restaurant” and a handful of other buildings were all that was left standing. This was an extremely large fire, encompassing over 250,000 acres (1,000 km2) from Ottawa to Smiths Falls to Carleton Place.”
Driving through Stittsville I noticed that most of the properties were not that old. Maybe I was in the wrong area but we didn’t see any homes that had the architectural history or character found on our journey East. Many new subdivisions. Some of which were very cute. Once we dropped off the packages we made our way West towards Perth, Ontario. But before leaving Stittsville we stopped at a little pop up booth for some fresh picked Ontario Strawberries – YUM!
History of Perth, Ontario – Wikipedia
“The town was established as a military settlement in 1816, shortly after the War of 1812. The settlement of Lanark County began in 1815. In that year “the Settlement forming on the Rideau River” as it was officially referred to (and which soon became known as “Perth Military Settlement”) began to function under Military direction. The settlement was named Perth in honour of acting Governor-General Sir Gordon Drummond, whose ancestral home was Perthshire.
Several townships were surveyed to facilitate the location of farms for military and other settlers; and the site of the future Town of Perth, which had been chosen as the headquarters of the Military Establishment was surveyed in 1816.
Many of the first settlers were military veterans on half pay, while others were military veterans from France, Germany, Poland, Italy, Scotland or Ireland who were offered land in return for their service. The Rev. William Bell, who arrived in June 1817, noted in his diaries that the settlement was more European than the Scottish settlement described to him. The first Scottish settlers came in 1816. Many of the Scottish immigrants were stonemasons; their work can be seen in many area buildings and in the locks of the Rideau Canal.
The military regime lasted until 1824, when settlers were granted municipal rights, i.e., ‘the right of self-government’. For many years Perth was the military, judicial, political and social capital, not only of the County of Lanark, but of the whole of the Ottawa Valley, north and west, until owing to the construction of the Rideau Canal, and the development of the lumber industry further north and west along the Ottawa, it finally was eclipsed by the town called “Bytown”—the present City of Ottawa, the Capital of the Dominion. But for many years the people of the town of Bytown, while it was still ‘Bytown’ had to come to Perth for their law and justice, for the law courts of the whole great district were located there.
The first secretary/stores-keeper (and eventually postmaster and superintendent) of the settlement was Daniel Daverne, brought up from the Quarter Masters General Department in Kingston, Ontario, to assume these positions.
Perth is home to a pioneer burial ground, St. Paul’s United Church Cemetery, formerly The Old Methodist Burying Ground. This cemetery is at the south-east end of the Last Duel Park on Robinson Street. The Craig Street Cemetery, sometimes referred to as the “Old Burying Grounds” also contains many historic graves and saw use from 1820–1873.
The town’s motto is “Pro Rege, Lege et Grege” (“For the King, the Law and the People”), which is shared with the City of Perth in Scotland, and which was adopted in 1980 along with a new crest. The previous motto, “Festina lente sed certo” (“Make haste slowly but surely”), and original town crest appears on the uniforms of the Perth Citizen’s Band. Founded in 1850, this band continues a tradition of community music with numerous concerts each season.
Near the town is the home of world show jumping champion Ian Millar and Millar Brooke Farm where his great horse Big Ben (1976–1999) is buried. The town has erected a bronze life-sized statue of the horse and Ian Millar, in John A. Stewart Park, across from the Code’s Mill building.
This town was the site of the last fatal duel in Upper Canada. Robert Lyon, a law student, was killed on June 13, 1833, after fighting over a woman (Elizabeth Hughes) with a former friend, John Wilson. A local park is named “Last Duel Park” to commemorate the event.
Perth is also the site of the first installation of a telephone other than Bell’s experimental installations. A town dentist, Dr. J. F. Kennedy, a friend of Alexander Graham Bell, installed a direct telephone connection between his home and office. By 1887, there were 19 telephones in Perth, with a switchboard in Dr. Kennedy’s office.
In 1893, a 22,000 pound cheese known as the ‘Mammoth Cheese’ was produced in Perth to be exhibited in Chicago at the World’s Columbian Exposition to promote Canadian cheese around the world.
In 2010, Perth held the historic “Kilt Run” in which 1,067 kilt-clad runners crossed the finish line. The idea to hold a kilt run in Perth was conceived of in October 2009 by Terry Stewart after the Mayor submitted a letter to the Perth Courier requesting town residents come up with an idea to help Perth, Scotland, celebrate its 800th anniversary. The Perth, Ontario, Kilt Run has since become an annual event. The 2016 Kilt Run attracted 5,000 runners as part of the town’s 200th anniversary. The Kilt Run normally takes place at the end of June but the 10th anniversary of the Kilt Run is scheduled for August 17, 2019. It holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest kilted run with 3,670 runners<.”
Some of you may already know I love to shop for Antiques. I’ve only gone as far as Kingston, Ontario and so we would take this opportunity to do and see something new (masks in hand). Perth (Gore Street) has some of the most spectacular historical buildings I’ve seen in Ontario – all on one street. The history is so well preserved – plaques with details on the buildings histories can be seen all around. If you are a history buff you should make this a stop on your list.
I got caught up looking at all the detail I almost forgot to take pictures. But I am thankful I did to share with you. Now Gore Street is not the only street to see this kind of history in the area, the homes on many of the side streets are equally as stunning.
We stopped in at Gore St. Antique Market (147 Gore Street) – I have to say it was nice doing something that is such a big part of my life that I haven’t been able to do in months – browse antiques. This is a decent size market – not the biggest and definitely not to smallest. Very well laid out (indoors 2 floors and a small outdoor section) pricing wasn’t to bad. And there were some really neat pieces. I however, came out empty handed.
We had only a few hours to spend in Perth before it was time to jump in the car and head West. We walked Gore street and stopped in to many of the little boutique shops that lined it. All very cute – all very expensive. We stopped in to The Perth Cheese Shop – because cheese! (64 Gore Street) which had a small display of fancy cheeses, kitchenware and charcuterie boards and supplies. The person working the shop was super friendly – Meredith (quite the chatter). We got a few small sample size cheeses to go for today (July 1st – Canada Day).
After spending a good and fun 2.5 hours in Perth we had to start our journey home taking Highway 7 West. Since we were ahead of schedule we opted to take a mini detour to Tweed, Ontario another little town we had never seen. We only stopped for a brief second at the bank and then continued on our way home to Havelock. We took Crookston Road to Highway 62, Springbrook Road to County Road 14 which would take us to Marmora and jumped back on to Highway 7. I love taking random side roads – you never know what you’re going to see.
What a fun day! I love seeing the sights. And maybe – since gas doesn’t cost that much this is what I will do every so often with my days (since the renovations are on hold). Visit some where new – take in the sights, visit little mom and pop shops (offer my support), and take pictures to remember this time.
I hope you learned a little something new about Stittsville and Perth – I did. Wishing everyone the happiest CANADA DAY!