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Culture & Heritage
Come to Know the Algonquin Nation

The rich and longstanding culture and heritage of Ontario’s Highlands can be experienced through the architecture, festivals, food, and historic landmarks found throughout the region. Immerse yourself in the region’s history with a daytrip to one of the many museums. Or simply wander the town streets and read historic markers that explain how the area’s diverse past has shaped its people and culture.

Maple Syrup

What a delicious way to mark the end of winter! Come and get your fill of the sweet golden nectar that flows from the maple tree. You can tour an operating sugar bush and learn more about the process of making maple syrup or simply stock up on some tasty maple treats in Lanark County, the Maple Capital of Ontario. Maple syrup production takes place in the months of March and April, but some attractions are open year-round.

Lanark County – Welcome to the Maple Capital of Ontario
National Geographic’s Top 10 Foods to Eat in Ontario – Featuring maple syrup in Lanark County
Festival of the Maples, Perth – An annual festival featuring maple syrup, vendors, and amazing music
The Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario – Learn more about maple syrup, the sap that rises with the onset of spring
Wheelers Maple Heritage Museum – Listed as one of the best maple experiences in Canadian Geographic Magazine

Rideau Heritage Route

The Rideau Heritage Route is a popular landmark in Ontario’s Highlands and can be enjoyed from many of the region’s towns and communities. The waterway is listed as one of 936 UNESCO World Heritage Sites declared to be an important part of cultural and natural heritage and perceived as having outstanding universal value. The route covers 202 kilometres of the Rideau and Cataraqui Rivers and the canal, located in Ottawa, is the only remaining operational canal that was built in the early 19th century.

UNESCO World Heritage Centre – Preserving and bringing awareness to World Heritage sites
UNESCO World Heritage list – Includes 936 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value
Rideau Heritage Route – Learn more about the villages, towns, and cities along the Rideau Heritage Route along with things to see and do, festival and events, and nearby accommodations

History of Ontario’s Highlands

Ontario’s Highlands is home to the Algonquin First Nations, the first people to greet Samuel de Champlain when he arrived from Europe in 1603. As the first European settlers began to arrive, the dawn of the historic fur trade industry saw voyageurs paddle down the Rideau Heritage Route all the way to Georgian Bay. The lumber, mining, and farming industries were also crucial contributors to the region’s economy and you can see remnants of their past at some of the area’s historical sites.Many of the festivals reflect the traditions of these first settlers, and today you can still experience Irish, German, Polish, and Scottish customs and cuisine at the many festivals and local restaurants.

Genealogy, Wikipedia – Learn more about the study of families and tracing lineages and history
Lanark County history – The history of Lanark County, from the First Nations and first European settlers to the 20th century and today
Lanark County Genealogical Society – Assisting those interested in family history in the local geographical area of Lanark County
The Wilno Heritage Site – Information on the oldest Polish settlement in Canada, also known as Canada’s Kashub Heartland
Extension Notes: Forest History in Eastern Ontario, PDF – Learn about the types of forests in the region, historical forest patterns, the status of forests pre- and post-European settlements, and the logging industry
Mining, Hastings County Heritage Atlas – Information on mining deposits in the region, including the first discovery of gold in Canada at the Richardson farm near Madoc
Algonquins of Pikwakanagan – About the Algonquin community, history, and culture
Algonquin Nation, Omamiwinini – About the culture, traditions, customs, practices, heritage, language, and arts of the Algonquin Nation
Hastings County history and genealogy – Sources for genealogical and historical information in the Count of Hastings
Land O’ Lakes history and genealogy – Links to websites, resources, and information about the history and genealogy in the Land O’ Lakes region
Haliburton, Ontario History Geography – The history of Haliburton County
County of Renfrew history – The origins of the Ottawa Valley and the Renfrew community

Annual Cultural Events

All across Ontario’s Highlands, people are coming together to celebrate their heritage and community roots or to learn about another culture and what makes it unique. Through song, dance, and delicious food, you too can take part in the festivities – from drumming and dance to bluegrass festivals.

Palmer Rapids Twin Music Festival, Palmer Rapids – An annual summer festival of bluegrass and country music
Calabogie Blues & Ribsfest, Calabogie – Class axe guitars, Calabogie blues, and ribs for an entertaining summer family event
Drum Nation Festival, Madoc – Come celebrate music and dance as an art form and the presence of the drum in each culture
Minden Hills Bluegrass Festival, Minden – A weekend full of live music and camping

Annual Heritage Events

Appease the Scottish in you with pipes and drums at the Haliburton Highland Games; get in touch with your Polish side at the Kashbub Day Festival; and join in the sacred ceremony at the Annual Algonquins of Pikwakanagan Traditional Pow Wow. With annual heritage events and some county fairs that have been returning annually for more than 100 years, you’ll find plenty of ways to celebrate the local heritage and join in the fun.

Haliburton Highland Games, Haliburton – Food and music and large men throwing stuff
North Lanark Highland Games, Almonte – Celebrate the Scottish culture and heritage of the Ottawa Valley
Almonte Celtfest, Almonte – A free afternoon of Ottawa Valley and Celtic entertainment performed in the natural amphitheatre of Gemmill Park in the heart of Almonte
Timberfest, Barry’s Bay – A weekend of family fun celebrating the timbering heritage of Barry’s Bay and the Madawaska Valley
Kashub Day, Wilno – A celebration of the rich Polish heritage and unique Kashub culture in the Ottawa Valley
Algonquin Pow Wow, Pikwakanagan – Join hundreds of dancers, numerous drums, and thousands of spectators in the festivities that celebrate this annual festival
Rockfield Farm Pioneer Day, Boulter – Features demonstrations of farming with horses such as ploughing, discing, cultivating, potato planning, rock pulling, logging, and manure spreading

Farmers’ Markets

Find fresh and quality farm products for purchase direct from the producer. These markets provide you the chance to support local communities directly and purchase products you won’t find anywhere else.

Farmers’ Markets Ontario – Buy top-quality, farm-fresh products at a local farmers’ market near you
Carleton Place Farmers Market, Carleton Place – The place to find farm fresh produce and meats, homemade preserves, and baking as well as handmade crafts and artwork
Ellenberger Organic Farm, Coe Hill – The only providers of certified organic seed potatoes in all of Ontario; also offering beef, pork, strawberries, corn, and other seasonal products
Stirling-Rawdon Water Buffalo Food Festival, Stirling – Featuring cheese products produced from local water buffalo milk, raised water buffalo meat, and additional tastes with an authentic Italian twist
Hastings County Beer Festival, Stirling – Enjoy the bounty from the local harvest
Ontario’s Artisan Cheese Region – Local cheese events and announcements in Ontario’s Frontenac, Hastings, Lennox and Addington, and Price Edward regions
Perth Garlic Festival, Perth – One of the world’s top 10 garlic festivals
Harvest Hastings, Hastings County – Local food and other products according to what’s in season and fresh


Maybe you’re a history buff or you’re spending a getaway weekend with the family and want something educational for the kids. Maybe it’s raining outside and you’re looking for an indoor attraction to take in. The numerous museums you’ll find in Ontario’s Highlands can entertain and inform on anything from the lifestyle of the mid 1800s to the origins of maple syrup in Canada.

Rideau Canal Museum, Smiths Falls – See a real working hand winch, wooded lock gates, and audio interpreted interactive displays
Heritage House Museum, Smiths Falls – Visit this restored, classically styled Victorian home depicting the lifestyle of an upper middle class family living in Smiths Falls around 1867 to 1875
Matheson House Museum, Perth – Enter the world of the 1840s at the elegant Matheson House, home of the award-winning Perth Museum and a National Historic Site
Wheelers Maple Syrup Museum, Lanark County – The world’s most extensive collection of maple related artifacts
Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario, Smiths Falls – A museum located on 10.5 acres including a station building built in 1912 which has been declared a National Historic Site
42nd Field Regiment RCA Regimental Museum, Pembroke – Located in Pembroke and open to the public
Hastings Museum of Agricultural Heritage, Stirling – Celebrate the culture of rural Ontario, the importance of agriculture, and the farmers who provide us with safe, local food
Waba Cottage Museum and Gardens, Arnprior – Full of memories of the past and heritage buildings such as a school house, reading house, and small stone house

Location: 177 Victoria Street, Pembroke

Military Museum Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment

(613) 588-6166
Location: 127 Sine Rd. R R # 1, Stirling

We've been breeding award winning alpacas since 2003. Our annual fibre clip is processed locally and all of our product is Made in Canada using Canadian alpaca fibre. We welcome farm visits by appointment - please email or call ahead.

(613) 395-6406
Location: 19503 Opeongo Line (Hwy 60), Barry's Bay

Cultural Center for railway and arts through visitor info, art and history.

(613) 756-5885
Location: 142 Franktown Road, Carleton Place

If you are looking for farm fresh produce and meats, home made preserves and baking, as well as hand made crafts and artwork the Carleton Place Farmers' Market is the place to be!

(613) 253-3561
Location: 3230 Hwy. 620, Coe Hill

A Farmers Market on Saturdays from May 24 to September 17, 2011. The Coe Hill Farmers Market Bakery and Cafe open all year round for breakfast, lunch and dinner. the food is locally produced whenever possible. Home cooking. Artisan breads. Pizzas.

(613) 334-1007
Location: 2822 Stone Road, Douglas

Dwyer's Farmhouse is a very unique farm experience for your family. The century old farmhouse is rented out exclusively to you. Bring the family and stay on a working farm...and have the place to yourself!

(613) 649-2211
Location: 12340 Hwy 35, Minden

The Haliburton Highlands Visitor Information Centre has all the information needed for visitors to the Highlands including maps, event listings, accommodation info and more.

(705) 286-1777
Location: 437 West Front Street, Stirling

The Hastings County Museum of Agricultural Heritage has eight buildings featuring dairy and cheese industry, antique tractors, harvesting, tillage, an one-room school house, Disc Heritage Village a typical small town with 18 different storesand a church.

(613) 395-0015
Location: 11 Old Sly's Rd PO Box 695, Smiths Falls

In 1860-1861 Joshua Bates built his home along the Rideau Canal with his two mills. Heritage House Museum is a restored classically styled Victorian home depicting the life style of an upper middle class family living in Smiths Falls around 1867 to 1875.

(613) 283-6311
Location: 58 Gore Street East, Perth

We are a Celtic gift shop. We carry Celtic jewellery, cd's, dvd's, tartan ties and scarves. Cozy tartan capes and matching hats. Unique Christmas ornaments,wedding and anniversary gifts, rugby shirts, t-shirts and a wee something for everyone.

(613) 264-9000
Location: 11 Gore St. E, Perth

Built in 1840 this beautiful stone dwelling now houses the Perth Museum. The Museum houses a rich collection of local history and is located in downtown Heritage Perth. Open 7 days a week.

(613) 267-1947
Location: 65 Arthur Street, Renfrew

The McDougall Mill Museum holds three packed floors of artifacts, many from Renfrew’s early industrial days as well as wedding dresses, military uniforms, sports memorabilia, a kitchen, tools, appliances, milking equipment, bottles, dishes, and more.

(613) 432-2129
Location: 638 Mill Road Box 56, Madoc

The O'Hara Mill Homestead is a pioneer farm homestead tourist attraction consisting of 10 pioneer buildings, including the oldest water-powered sawmill operating in it's original location in Ontario. Nature trails. Picnic areas. Special heritage events.

(613) 967-2466
Location: See notes for maps and guides, Pembroke

As of 2012, there are 33 Heritage Murals in Pembroke's Outdoor Art Gallery. Mural Tour inside City's All Season Guide book or download a free Audio Mural Tour at Open 365 days a year and free for everyone to enjoy.

(613) 735-3413
Location: 176 Civic Centre Rd, Petawawa

The Petawawa Heritage Village which is Situated on 3.5 picturesque acres in the heart of the of Petawawa where history is alive and ready for your visit. Stroll the pathways of the past and experience life in Petawawa as it once was from 1850 to 1910.

(613) 687-5054
Location: 90 William St. W. P.O. Box 962, Smiths Falls

Housed in the station built by Canadian Northern in 1912, the museum displays many interesting railway artifacts covering more than a century of history. We encourage you to explore our site featuring a variety of rolling stock.

(613) 283-5696
Location: 34 Beckwith Street South, Smiths Falls

The Rideau Canal Museum is housed in a 19th century stone building which was once a mill: the Woods Mills Complex. Inside, high-technology displays and a variety of artifacts bring to life the history of the canal - its construction from 1826 to 1831, its

(613) 284-0505
Location: 720 Hass Rd., Boulter

wagon rides sleigh rides garden market pioneer day

(613) 332-5423
Location: 60 James Street P.O. Box 1684, Deep River

THE CANADIAN CLOCK MUSEUM opened in May 2000 as Canada's ONLY clock museum. Its collections focus on Canadian-made clocks from the early 1800s to the present time. Guided tours of the exhibits are included in the admission fees. Many related artifacts.

(613) 584-9687
Location: Ottawa Valley, Renfrew County

Step Back in Time -- Living Canadian History, 1740-1885. Interactive Pioneer Encampment, and Heritage programming. We are mobile! So look for us at an Event near you.

(613) 629-6846
Location: Box 665 40 Victoria St. N., Tweed

The Tweed Heritage Centre, a one-stop introduction to the Tweed area, features an Information Bureau, Local Arts & Crafts room, Art Gallery, Museum, Reference Room and Archives, and a Genealogical Centre. Discover our extensive, comprehensive collections.

(613) 478-3989]ta[ofniegatirehdeewt
Location: 1701 Concession 3 RR#3, Lanark

Come to Victory Farm Alpacas for an experience to be remembered. Open 10 am to 4 pm Saturday, Sunday or by appointment. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Interac, cash or cheque. At the barn, experience the fluffy, shy, intelligent alpacas up close. Kids OK

(613) 259-0228
Location: 2508 Russett Drive RR#2, Arnprior

Waba Cottage is a faithful reconstrustion of the house built in 1835 by Archibald 13th Laird of McNab (c. 1781-1860). A colourful and controversial character,In addition to the historical buildings and artifacts there are 11 themed gardens created in 2000

(613) 623-5756
Location: 1001 Highland Line, McDonalds Corners

The Worlds’ most extensive collection of Maple related artifacts. National Hisotric Plaque commemorating Maple Products as a Culturally Significant Heritage Event in Canada. Open daily 9-3 all year. Admission by donation.

(613) 278-2090


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