6 Best Things To Do In And Around Perth, Ontario

While at first glance Perth might seem like an ordinary snack and gas stop off the highway, make no mistake: this charming little town of 6,...

While at first glance Perth might seem like an ordinary snack and gas stop off the highway, make no mistake: this charming little town of 6,000 is a full-blown cultural, culinary, and historic destination. Conveniently located just an hour drive from Ottawa, Perth is well-worth a separate day trip. I'm going to tell you what I think the six best things are to do in and around Perth, but you should definitely come visit this town on your own and see why locals and tourists alike fall in love with it. 
1. Stroll along Gore Street. 
Surprisingly and unlike anywhere else in Canada, Perth's Main Street is actually called Gore Street. This is where you want to park your car and start your exploration of this cute little Victorian town on foot. Town Hall, Perth Museum, fancy restaurants and bakeries, galleries, antique stores, and even a theatre are all located on this street. 
Remarkably, many stone buildings in Perth were built 150-200 years ago when Canada was not yet Canada, but disparate British colonies. It's very cool to see what the country once looked like.

2. Relax at Stewart Park.
Stewart Park is a gift from Mrs. Stewart to the people of Perth in memory of her late husband. There was one condition she made though: there would never be admission charged to visit the park. 
The park is beautiful and tranquil any time of the year. The old-growth maple trees and arch bridges make a great spot for taking pictures. This is where you want relax and listen to the Tay River burbling. Kids especially like to do rock hopping and water wading, but beware of snakes (harmless, non-venomous), especially on sunny days after heavy rains. 

3. Paddle the Tay Canal.
The Tay Canal was the only transport artery that connected Perth with the rest of the country before railways and highways were built. It's still in use today by recreational users - paddlers and boaters. 
The length of the Tay Canal is 10 km / 6 miles, which should be more than enough for a good day workout. However, if you crave for more mileage, the Rideau Canal, where the Tay Canal ends, is at your disposal with 202 km / 125 miles of paddling. If you don't have your own kayak, canoe or stand-up paddle board, not to worry: you can rent one at the local outfitter in Perth. 

4. Have a Dinner with a View. 
The only restaurant we tried in Perth so far, besides the chip truck, is Mex & Co. The food is pretty good, but you know what's even better than food there? The million-dollar view from the restaurant deck that sits right on the canal. 
The famous bakery called Perth Pie Co. delivers their delicious pies as far as Wakefield, QC. Perth Chocolate Works, a family-owned business that started on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario, makes high-end artisan chocolate for over 20 years. Both places sound like great spots to have morning coffee on weekend morning.
People highly recommend the Stone Cellar for its gourmet food prepared by an award-winning chef. I've added it to my bucket list for a special occasion. 

5. Visit a Festival. 
For a small town of 6,000, there is a lot going on in Perth. Pre-Covid, the town would host at least three annual festivals: the Festival of the Maples in April, the Perth Ribfest Music Festival in July, and the Perth Garlic Festival in August. I haven't visited neither one of them yet and I doubt there would be any in 2021 due to Covid restrictions, but I'll keep an eye on the news from Perth, especially related to the Garlic Festival. It sounds delicious!
The Festival of the Maples does not surprise me at all as Lanark County, where Perth is centrally located, is dubbed "The Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario". When my kids were younger, we would go to those maple syrup festivals in other parts of Ontario and my favourite treat would always be a maple syrup taffy - a maple sugar on snow.

6. Make a Trip to Murphys Point Provincial Park. 
I've camped, hiked and paddled at Murphys Point Provincial Park a few times already, and I always look forward to come back. It's definitely one of my favourite provincial parks in Ontario - never crowded, always beautiful no matter the season, and offers some distinct attractions.  
One of those attractions is the Silver Queen Mica Mine. The area was rich in mica, an igneous soft rock which was widely used in flame lanterns. Apparently, mica is still in use today in electric insulation and even makeups! 
We happened to visit this mine on an open house day with actors dressed like people in the 19th century. Each told their story what their life was like at a mine a century ago. I remember that people (often kids) would make 60 cents per day, but those who took rocks up with their hands would make up to 1.25 dollars per day. It was a hell of a 10-12 hour work day for such a small wage. 

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