Visiting Perth, Canada With Dog
There is a little town along the Rideau Canal, about an hour from Ottawa, that really lives up to its reputation and tag line: Aged to Perfection. This little Ontario town – Perth – is a favourite day trip getaway for those of us living in our Nation’s Capital.
Perth offers a lovely scenic stroll even when, as on our last visit, it is the end of winter (or very early spring for the optimists) and the North Wind is still blowing cold. It only takes minutes upon arrival to see that the citizens of Perth take their historical preservation very VERY seriously, which is a good thing because the town is a true gem.
Perth’s entire downtown has been designated as a “Heritage Designation.” That means the town, citizens and those living in that area:
· RECOGNIZE the importance of a property to the local community
· PROTECT the property’s cultural heritage value
· ENCOURAGE good stewardship and conservation
· PROMOTE knowledge and understanding about the property.
A Quick History
The Perth Military Settlement, 1816-1822, was created following the War of 1812 mainly as a response to the perceived threat of another American invasion. Large numbers of Late Loyalists from the United States had proven to be either unreliable or treasonous during the recent conflict. More alarmingly to military strategists, the vulnerable and crucial supply line of the St. Lawrence River had been nearly severed several times during the hostilities.
For these reasons, the British wanted a secure defensive line removed from the frontier and peopled exclusively by reliable settlers with loyal ties to Great Britain. Perth was thus created; first in a string of military settlements north of the proposed canal system of the Rideau-Cataraqui Rivers that would also include Richmond and Lanark by 1820. (I sense more road trips!)
This “instant” community is an oddity in Canadian settlement history. The large number of moneyed and educated settlers, all younger sons of good families, meant that fine stone homes were built in the first generation, not the second or third, and standards were maintained no matter what the circumstances. Being a small, isolated community was not considered a stumbling block when trying to develop the town and influence provincial and national affairs. That pride is still palpable today.
Visiting Perth, Canada With Dog
But enough with the history lesson … walk with me and discover Perth.
Dining With a Dog
Like most North American towns, restaurants will not allow a pet indoors. But where Perth is not like the rest is with its relatively relaxed attitude towards dogs on patios. This is good news if you are visiting during the warmer months. With frequent farmers’ markets, coffee shops and cute little bakeries, another option is to put together a lovely picnic and settle in one of the parks.
In review: Perth is a stunning open air museum that is easy to visit all year round. With adorable shops, bakeries, restaurants and pubs, farmers’ markets, festivals and regular events, you are sure to find fun activity in addition to touring the town. You can even kayak the smaller river – the next item on our Perth “to do” list! Perth will celebrate its 200th Anniversary in 2016. I hope to return before then but will most certainly attend those celebrations; they promise to be spectacular!