VILLAGES OF THE RIDEAU LAKES AND AREA
Discover the magic at the midway point of the Rideau Waterway. Only 1 hour from Ottawa and Kingston and 1 1/2 hours from Upper New York State. One of the most diverse areas in Ontario east, you can boat, canoe or fish in the morning, golf, cycle or hike in the afternoon and dine or dance in the evening. There are dozens of lakes suitable for all water related activities. Hike the 300 km long Rideau Trail which snakes its way from Kingston to Ottawa, loops around Westport on its way through the Rideau Lakes region. Foley Mountain Conservation Area with wildlife and vegetation together with the Interpretation Centre, have made Foley Mountain an educational and fun place to bring the family. The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority maintains the mountain’s natural beauty as well as the beach, nature walks and cross-country ski trails. Cycle the backroads and the new Cataraqui Trail, the perfect opportunity to enjoy the countryside. There are fine boutiques and wonderful antique shops. There’s family fun or romantic getaways. Something for everyone.
ELGIN . . .
A bustling community in the Rideau Lakes district, Elgin has a long and storied history. The lot where the Village of Elgin now stands was first granted to Ebenezer Halladay in 1802. As settlers moved into the area over the coming decades, it became known as Halladay’s Corners.
The first stone house to be erected in the area was built on the Halladay homestead in 1844 and some time later the first cheese factory was built on the same far.
During the building of the Rideau Canal, rocks were pulled one by one, from a quarry and transported to Jones Falls. The site of this quarry, located at the intersection of two roads seemed like the natural place for a village.
In the early 1800’s, Mormons had settled in the area of the Halladay farm and named the village Nauvoo, but it eventually became known as Elgin after Canada’s Governor General Lord Elgin.
Two years after the Rideau Canal opened, 135 covered wagons left the area for Mormon settlements in the United States. Businesses such as the Seven Dollar Store and the General Store sprouted up on the one street, now the main street of the Village of Elgin. Industry developed in the form of a tannery, a potash factory and a cheese factory.
In the 1890’s, J.R. Dargavel was a major businessman in Elgin. A member of the local legislature in Toronto, Mr. Dargavel owned a large general store and cheese factories. The general store is now the site of Mainly Antiques. Besides the antique store, Elgin’s downtown consist of shops, grocery stores, restaurants, furniture store, service stations, beer and liquor. Accommodations, marina, cottages and Sand Lake Campground & Cottages can be found nearby.
Now with a population of approximately 350 people, the village celebrates its heritage each year. Elgin Day, the second Saturday in July, combines a book sale, a flea market, a parade, horseshoes and a chicken barbecue.
Because Elgin is surrounded by Chaffey Lock, Jones Falls, Davis Lock, the Rideau Canal, Sand Lake, and the Big Rideau Lake, Elgin Day attracts many cottagers as well as locals. About 4,000 to 5,000 people come to town each year to celebrate Elgin Day.
For more information contact Elgin & District Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 86, Elgin, Ontario K0G 1E0 (613) 359-5108 or (613) 359-5344
This beautiful scenic hidden marvel of the past and the present is a short drive from Highway #15 with the turn at the Hamlet of Morton, Ontario. Established in 1832, Jones Falls remains a cozy community.
In 1828, Col. John By and his royal engineers built a stone dam that is 350 feet long and 60 feet high using hundreds of men with pickaxes, shovels and wheelbarrows. At the same time it was necessary to build four locking systems to step the boats up and down the sixty-foot drop. A blockhouse and a blacksmith’s shop, still in use from May to October, were necessary for the completion and protection of the Rideau Canal Waterway. The house of Peter Sweeney, a lockmaster, has been restored and his diaries transcribed.
Spend some time in the past and watch from the banks of the Rideau Canal as the watercraft move through the locks system. Visit the blockhouse, the blacksmith’s shop and tour the history contained within the walls of the lockmaster’s house. Relive history and look up the stone dam, which was the largest in North America when it was built. Spend a night or two at the Hotel Kenney, or at Sand Lake Campground and Cottages, and enjoy your relaxation as you take in the areas miracles of historic technology.
CHAFFEY’S LOCK - 1832
The small settlements of Chaffey’s Lock Village and Opinicon Lake offer a beautiful setting on the Rideau Waterway. The landscaped lock was built prior to 1832 to serve the Rideau Canal. The Lockmaster’s house, built in 1844 has been lovingly transformed into a museum by the local historical society with a new exhibit every summer. Today, by turning off Highway #15 (part way between Elgin and Crosby), and travelling a short distance on a paved road you will happen upon this little haven.
Chaffey’s Lock boasts several campgrounds, craft shops, bait shops, marinas, a museum, and of course the famous Opinicon Hotel.
The rural scenery of this area is second to none, and visitors to the area can watch boats move through the lock while enjoying a pleasant picnic and viewing the magnificent scenery. Chaffey’s Lock is one of Canada’s best kept secrets.
Celebrate Canada’s birthday with Canada Day celebrations on July 1st. The annual craft market, featuring works from local artisans, is featured at the end of July. The ever-popular Cornfest draws many people from the area for corn roasts and a variety of activities running at the end of July.
The Lockmasters House Museum in Chaffey’s Lock is open from June 26 until Labour Day weekend.
This little village has been drawing visitors to the area since the early 1900’s when vendors flocked to the tiny community to sell their turkeys. Today, that event is celebrated in the fall with a day-long Turkey Fair that revives the tradition of a Turkey Fair to a fall festival featuring craft sales, wagon rides, food and entertainment.
Originally known as Furnace Falls, the village flourished after the building of a gristmill in 1827. In 1851 it was named Lyndhurst after John Singleton Copley, Baron Lyndhurst. Lyndhurst is proud to be one of many communities in the area that has developed a walking tour of its local historic sites. Among the buildings that still stand today are blacksmith shops and the iron works building.
The oldest stone bridge in Ontario is found in Lyndhurst. The stone masonry constructed three span bridge - built in 1856-57 - is still in regular use today. Situated beside the famous bridge, Kendrick’s Park makes for an excellent family day trip. An ideal spot for a picnic, the park includes a boardwalk, public swimming and a children’s playground.
Docking and a boat launch make getting on to the water ways for visitors. Cottage rentals are available on nearby lakes, and bed and breakfasts are scattered throughout the region.
The Gananoque River is divided at Lyndhurst by the falls and the bridge. A dock and boat launch area in the park on the north side of the bridge allows for easy access and the river is accessible on both sides of the village.
Seeley’s Bay was named for one of its early landholders, Justus Seeley. The village was created around 1812 with the flooding of the Cranberry Marsh during the building of the Rideau Canal. The "Bay" became a regular stop for the sternwheelers like the Rideau King and the Rideau Queen. Wanting to preserve the village as a regular stop for the recreational boats that now ply the Rideau, volunteers built a dock system providing space for 30 boats in 1995.
The sheltered harbor and launch area provides access to a long stretch of the Rideau Canal without locks. The waters attract fishermen and sightseers alike. The area is a sports person’s paradise. It is equally inviting for canoe and small boat trips.
Contact Lyndhurst - Seeley’s Bay Chamber of Commerce, Box 89, Lyndhurst, Ontario K0E 1N0 or phone 1-613-387-3062WESTPORT
The largest village in the Rideau Lakes area, is nestled on the banks of the Upper Rideau Lake. With several wonderful B&B’s, cottage rentals, a motel and a country inn, you are sure to find the perfect accommodation to suit your needs whether for a day, a week or a month. Unique shops offer everything from gifts and one of a kind fashions to antiques and original art. There is also a choice of restaurants, a piano bar, a road house and a British style pub in which to dine or relax. Boaters can take advantage of Westport’s Municipal Dock on the Rideau Canal system.
Westport is a popular spot for fishing northern pike, pickerel, small and largemouth bass and perch.
Antiques from all over the province are available for sale during the Westport Antique Show held in June. Besides selling treasures, the show is also about highlighting Westport’s heritage. Historical furniture, quilts, jewellery, china and glass are on display. People dressed in period costume serve coffee and tea in a Victorian Tea Room.
Located on the shores of Big Rideau Lake, the largest lake in the Rideau Waterway, has antique stores, gift and collectable shops, an art gallery, B&B, restaurants, 4 marinas, a public dock, a bank and a liquor store.
The community also boasts a number of events throughout the year, speed skating in the winter from barbecues, weekly concerts, a regatta and a parade to spectacular fireworks on Canada Day, July 1st.
Situated between Newboro and Upper Rideau Lake is known for its great fishing. One of the four Rideau Canal blockhouses is located here. Originally known as "The Isthmus", it marks the watershed divide between waters flowing north to Ottawa and those flowing south to Kingston.
Founded by Abel Stevens in the late 1700’s. Situated on a section of land that feeds into Lower Beverley Lake, the focal point of the village today is the Old Stone Mill. Built in 1810 by William Jones, the current mill is one of the earliest surviving fully automatic gristmills in Upper Canada. In 1973 the mill was declared a National Historic Site and has undergone restoration. The Old Mill Museum, a designated historic site, is the only mill with this distinction in eastern Ontario. The museum is now open and the mill story and artifacts will be presented there. Delta is also home to the Delta Fair, the Delta Maple Syrup Festival.
A stop at the dairy in Forfar where quality cheddar cheese has been made with care and tradition for over 130 years is a delight for the taste buds.
For more information contact Westport & Rideau Lakes Chamber of Commerce at 1-613-273-2929 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.westportrideaulakes.on.ca