Perth, Ontario – My Top 15 Picks

Perth, Ontario – My Top 15 Picks

Established in 1816, the era when Upper and Lower Canada were British colonies, Perth was one of three strategic defensive outposts created along the Rideau Corridor after the War of 1812. Named after a town and river in Scotland, this small frontier center, located in a large wilderness tract, became the social, judicial and administrative hub for the Scottish and Irish who settled here. 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 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.

In 1823, Perth was named the capital of the District of Bathurst, and this attracted a large number of wealthy and educated settlers. When the Rideau Canal was built as a safe inland military route from Kingston to Ottawa between 1826 and 1832, it created a local economic boom. The Tay Canal, from Perth to the Lower Rideau Lake, was first constructed in the 1830s and rebuilt in the 1880s as a commercial waterway. The Tay has become a recreational and tourism area.

The last fatal duel was fought between two young law students on the banks of the Tay River on June 13, 1833, for a lady’s honor. In 1892, Perth produced the world’s biggest cheddar; it was made from 207,200 pounds of milk and was six feet high, twenty-eight feet in circumference and weighed 22,000 pounds. The mammoth cheese was shipped by train to the Chicago World’s Fair the following year.

Perth is 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.

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

31 Foster Street – Italianate – dormer in attic, frontispiece with decorative window hoods, Doric pillars supporting second floor balconies, tall decorative chimneys

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

32 Foster Street – dormer, decorative cornice, prominent voussoirs over windows, Doric pillars on stone piers supporting second floor balcony

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

36 Wilson Street East – St. John Convent – 1905 – primarily Gothic with some French Canadian features – stone – center Jacobean gable, bay window with round windows

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

53 Wilson Street West – dichromatic brickwork, spindles and bric-a-brac below porch roof; pediment

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

20 Isabella Street – Within the peak is a decorative arch with spindle and stenciling

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

22 Isabella Street – hipped roof with dormer, dichromatic voussoirs and banding

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

27 Isabella Street – Italianate, 2½ storey tower-like bay with pediment, dentil molding band

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

1 Drummond Street West – St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church – built 1832, rebuilt 1898 – Gothic Revival, lancet windows, battlemented tower, buttresses

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

26 Drummond Street West – Second Empire – mansard roof, dormers with window hoods, tower, voussoirs and keystones, turned veranda roof supports with decorative capitals

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

53 Drummond Street East – stone central portion has a mansard-type roof with dormers, oriel window, and cornice brackets

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

Corner of Gore and Harvey Streets – McMartin House – c. 1831 – erected by United Empire Loyalist descendant, Daniel McMartin, Perth’s second lawyer – basic Neo-classical style, and then embellished with unique stylistic features such as recessed arches and a cupola (belvedere) with flanking side lanterns (Federalist style) – widow’s walk on roof

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

77 Gore Street East (corner of Basin Street) – The McMillan Building – 1907 – former Carnegie Library – Beaux Arts style – pediments, pilasters with composite capitals, elaborate keystones

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

80 Gore Street East – Town Hall – 1863-1864 – local sandstone, frontispiece topped by an elaborate wood cornice, a boxed gable, elaborate bell and clock tower/cupola was added in 1874, architectural detailing in both wood and stone

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

66 Craig Street – Inge-Va (a Tamil word meaning “come here”) Museum – local sandstone house – 1824 – Colonial Georgian style of an Ontario cottage – balanced façade, sidelights and transom

Architectural Photos, Perth, Ontario

50 Herriot Street – Kininvie (meaning “where my family lives”) was built of reddish sandstone in 1906 for textile manufacturer Thomas A. Code – grand Edwardian – said to have been heated by steam from the factory across the street