Smiths Falls, Ontario Canada

Discover Smiths Falls, Ontario: A Blend of History and Recreation

Smiths Falls, Ontario, is a charming town nestled in Eastern Ontario, Canada, approximately 72 kilometres southwest of Ottawa. As per the 2021 census, it boasts a population of 9,254. Although it falls within the Census division for Lanark County, it is separate from the county. The town is a significant point along the Rideau Canal waterway, featuring four locks in three locations and a combined lift of over 15 metres.

The Early History and Naming of Smiths Falls, Ontario

Smiths Falls was first incorporated as a village in 1854, and later as a town in 1882. The town owes its name to Thomas Smyth, a United Empire Loyalist who was granted 400 acres in what is now Smiths Falls in 1786. The Heritage House Museum, also known as the Ward House, was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1977.

The town's name has undergone several changes over the years. Initially spelled as Smith's Falls, the town council voted to change it to Smiths Falls around 1920. However, it wasn't until 1968 that the Ontario legislature officially recognized the change.

The Building of the Rideau Canal in Smiths Falls, Ontario

The construction of the Rideau Canal brought significant changes to Smiths Falls. A small settlement had been established around a mill operated by Abel Russell Ward, who had bought Smyth's land. Colonel By ordered the removal of Ward's mill to make way for the canal, settling with Ward for £1,500.

Despite the temporary disruption, Smiths Falls grew rapidly following the canal's construction. By 1846, the town was described as a "flourishing little village" with a population of about 700 inhabitants and a variety of businesses and services.

The Entry of the Railways in Smiths Falls, Ontario

In the 1850s, Smiths Falls became a major focal point for the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian Northern Railway. The town's strategic location and proximity to the Rideau Canal made it an ideal spot for both companies to build their networks.

During World War II, Smiths Falls played a significant role in transporting Axis prisoners of war to Canadian POW camps. The town's railway stations have since been renovated and are now home to the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario.

Demographics of Smiths Falls, Ontario

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Smiths Falls had a population of 9,254 living in 4,311 of its 4,523 total private dwellings. This represented a 5.4% increase from its 2016 population of 8,780.

Sports and Recreation in Smiths Falls, Ontario

Smiths Falls has a rich history in sports and recreation. In 1906, a local hockey team launched an unsuccessful challenge to win the Stanley Cup. The town was also home to a professional baseball team, the Smiths Falls Beavers, for one season in 1937.

Currently, Smiths Falls is home to the Junior A hockey team Smiths Falls Bears, who play in the Central Canada Hockey League. The town also offers numerous opportunities for minor and adult league sports, including baseball, volleyball, basketball, soccer, ball hockey, and hockey.

Nearest Cities to Smiths Falls, Ontario

Smiths Falls is conveniently located near several major cities. Ottawa is about 75 kilometres to the northeast, Brockville is approximately 50 kilometres to the southeast, and Kingston is around 95 kilometres to the southwest.