Perth is 45 minutes southwest of Ottawa on Highway 7. The fast food strip on the main highway gives way to the main downtown. Look for the "Business Section" signs and take a left on Wilson Street. Traveling from Kingston, take County Road 10 north from Highway 401 through Westport.
The century-old downtown huddles around the Tay Basin, the end point of the Tay Canal that connects Perth into the Rideau Canal system, which in turn connects Ottawa to the Great Lakes at Kingston. Many of the downtown buildings have been preserved in their original condition - others have been carefully restored.
The downtown parking lots are $4 to park all day. There is "2 hour free parking" on the street, but the rules are complex (you can park once up to 2 hours, but cannot repark anywhere within a 5 hour window). The entire downtown core is within walking distance of any of these lots.
The entire Heritage Downtown Core is situated on a few square blocks. Every store and restaurant is within easy walking distance of any of the downtown parking lots.
Many of the stores are wheelchair friendly, and a new program to provide portable wheelchair ramps for older style stores has been initiated.
The "big box stores", "strip mall" and most motels are situated up on Highway #7. Generally you will need a car to get to any of these places.
The Downtown Core can be reached from the Rideau Canal system via the Tay Canal - teminating at the Tay Basin in downtown Perth. Large boats will find they can get no further than the Last Duel Campground due to very low bridges between the campground and the Tay Basin. Smaller boats, canoes and kayaks should be able to navigate under these bridges.
Hours: M to F 10AM - 5PM; Sa and Su 1PM - 5PM. The Perth Museum is open year round.
The Perth Museum is housed in Matheson House, c1840, on the main street of Downtown Heritage Perth. Matheson House is named after the well-to-do Scottish merchant, the Honourable Roderick Matheson, who lived in this house with his family for over 90 years. This nationally designated historic stone dwelling features 4 period rooms restored to depict the life of a wealthy 19th century family plus two galleries where changing exhibitions are displayed. Displays include the last fatal duel fought in Canada, the Mammoth Cheese, and the famous Marks Brothers (the most remarkable theatrical family in Canadian history - definitely NOT the Marx Brothers).
The museum is air-conditioned and municipal parking is available. Group tours are welcome. Admission is by donation.
Stewart Park was deeded to the Town in 1947 by Mrs. Jessie Stewart, in memory of her late husband, John A. Stewart. The park, right in the middle of Downtown Heritage Perth, is a cool oasis during hot summer months. The Tay River meanders through the park providing soothing background sounds while you enjoy the large maple trees, gardens, or perhaps on a warm Thursday evening the sound of the Perth Citizen's Band playing in the band stand behind city hall. This Citizen's band has been in existence since 1852 and is probably the oldest operating Citizen's Band in Canada.
The annual Stewart Park Music Festival held in this park provides a free, 3-day summer musical event for citizens and visitors alike. You might also experience Sunday night church services, or watch a wedding as young couples start out on life's journey. The Park is not to be missed.
From the park you can see Code's Park across the river where a life sized statue of equestrian Olympians Ian Millar and his mount, Big Ben has been erected.
The Tay River Trail is a new attraction built around the historic pathway and portage site that dates back to the military settlement of Perth-upon-Tay in 1816, when the waterways were the major means of transportation. Six information plaques have been erected along this waterway along with "navigational trail markers" that will help you navigate the trail. Each marker has a circular viewfinder, through which you can sight the next trail marker and chart your course along the trail. Starting at the Tay basin you can navigate either upstream and downstream.
Perth is famous for its year round Festivals. A few of these are:
April - Festival of the Maples Perth's welcome to spring with Maple Syrup and street festival
July - Stewart Park Festival Three days of free music in Stewart Park behind city hall.
August - Perth Garlic Festival "It's Chic to reek"
September - Perth Fair an agricultural fair that showcases the past, present and future
October - Perth Autumn Studio Tour a very special showcase for contemporary fine crafts
November - Festival of Good Cheer. Experience a shopping trip back to 1840
This life size bronze honours one of Canada's most successful partnerships in Canadian sport and arguably the greatest team in equestrian history. Ian Millar and Big Ben, the 17.3hh Belgian Warmblood who died in December 1999 at age 23, won the hearts of a nation and made their mark in the equestrian world. As a lasting tribute, the Perth and District Chamber of Commerce erected this arresting bronze statue in Downtown Heritage Perth not far from Millar's home and Ben's final resting place. The life-size statue depicts Ian and Ben in full flight over a 5 and-a-half foot jump.
Perth is home to a large number or writers, performers, artists and artisans. A local newspaper The Humm keeps an extensive list of ongoing activities of arts in Perth and surrounding district.
You can keep up with the events and productions at the downtown Perth Studio Theatre via their monthly Studio Theatre Newsletter. Once again they will mounting some classic Marks Brothers melodramas this summer.
There is a long and unique history of theatre in Perth dating back to the mid 19th century. The era of the fabulous Marks Brothers is one of the most exciting stories in the town's colourful past. They have been called (Maclean’s Magazine, 1958.) "the most remarkable theatrical family in Canadian history. The dazzling Marks Brothers were the greatest impresario performers of our small town stage in the era before the nickelodeon." They truly earned the title of "The Canadian Kings of Repertoire".
The Balderson Theatre building at 12 Gore Street East in which they performed in Perth still stands today (now a Home Furniture store). In it's time the Balderson Theatre was the largest theatre between Montreal and Toronto.
If you are interested in all the theatre and festival events in town, then check out Whats Happening in Perth.
A Garden for the Blind has been constructed that caters to the Blind. It features smells, sounds and taste. A round walkway lets the visitor move from raised bed to raised bed. Signs in English, French and Braille let you discover the various garder plots. Garden fountains and surrounding woods add to the sounds. There are plenty of seating areas around the garden to let you enjoy the various senses. During the summer, the Perth Farmers' Market operates on the same property.
Adventure Agent provides kayak adventures in the Perth area, and is located about 45 minutes away at the historical hamlet of Snow Road Station. An instructor, certified to teach anywhere in Canada, gives instruction, moonlight and evening paddling trips, eco-tours, trips for seniors, First Nation/historical tour, and nature tours.
First class roadways wind through scenic hills, valleys and waterways within the watershed of the 200 kilometer Mississippi River. For day-trippers, this is the ideal day outing. But overnight camping, B&Bs are available, as well as food services. And we're just fifteen minutes to the next town, Sharbot Lake, at Highway 7.
If convenience is an issue, consider Adventure Agent for your eco-touring kayaking or canoeing. Pricing starts at $40/per person for a nature tour, and $60/per person for most events.
For further information, visit the Adventure Agent website at www.adventureagent.net.
The Crystal Palace (or Under Glass Building) is situated on the Tay Basin across from City Hall. The structure is manufactured from the remnants of the glass street enclosures that used to cover Rideau street in nearby Ottawa. From the Mother's Day Weekend to the Thanksgiving Day Weekend, the building will house the new Crystal Palace Market run by the Town of Perth. The market features local artisans and craftspeople as well as local produce. The market is open Saturday mornings and may include Wednesdays in the near future. Come on in and meet some great people and see some exciting local talent.
The Farmers' Market that used to operate out of the Crystal Palace now operates from a new larger space at 99 Sunset Blvd. On Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings, visitors can enjoy fresh produce, baked goods as well as products from local artists and artisans. Come for the Freshness - Stay for the Fun!
The downtown area features 1800 era buildings housing more than 80 specialty boutiques, shops, antique stores, restaurants and flea markets. Visitors can expect a shopping experience as far away as you can get from the global multinational mall experience. Come back in time to experience the future of shopping.
These downtown stores provide the visitor with an impressive line up of products. Giftware, souvenirs, high tech kitchen gear, clothing, linens, inflatable kayaks, scrapbooking supplies, antiques and so much more can be found within a couple of block radius.
A popular shopping destination for local art is [Riverguild Fine Crafts]. This artist cooperative features the works of many local artists and artisans. Everything from fine arts, to the most wonderful kaleidoscope you will ever see, to cooperative games are available in this shop.
A great deal of local arts and crafts can be found throughout the town. For example, the paintings, prints and art cards of internationally known Nostalgic Realism artist - Craig Campbell - is available at urbanMarket - Perth at 40 Gore Steet East and the local Office supply store. Craig's nostalgic portrayal of the steam train era is particularly attractive to visitors.
Perth Ontario boasts over 20 eating establishments in the downtown heritage core.
A very unique spot to dine is "The Hungry Planet"  located in the beautifully restored, vintage GM building at the corner of Foster St. and Wilson St. The Hungry Planet is featured in "Where to Eat in Canada". Owner Judy Dempsey travels yearly to Asia and beyond for new ideas and recipes to feature in the restaurant.
O'reilly's, 43 Gore Street East, Probably the favorite pub in Perth, located in the the former Apothecary shop. They offer lunch specials and 12 draught beers on tap, in addition to wireless internet access.
Imperial Tavern, 27 Wilson Street West, +1-613-267-6655 The Imperial Tavern is a no-frills dive bar that has a few pool tables and a shuffleboard. No beers on tap, on a small select set of beers in bottle.
There a number of ways to get some sleep in Perth:
1) Bed and Breakfast
2) Boutique Hotel and Motels
Perth Manor  is just a short walk from Downtown Heritage Perth at 23 Drummond Street West. This Boutique Hotel and reception Facility is housed in what was originally known as the "Thurreson Place". J.T. Henderson constructed this family home at a cost of 12,000 Pounds in 1878. This building was put to many uses over time. In 2002 it was purchased by Michael Dwyer & David Marshall who decided to restore and renovate the Manor into a Boutique Hotel & Reception Facility with on-site Event Planning for Corporate and Special Events. The Manor has 6 suites available, named after historical figures.
The Code's Mill Inn is a major downtown hotel planning to open in the Fall of 2006 adjoining the peaceful Stewart Park. The main hotel will offer up to 55 rooms. The first phase of this new facility is now open. The White House Annex on Wilson Street, bordering on the tranquil Stewart Park, offers 7 deluxe suites each with a boutique Bed & Breakfast feel. Each suite is decorated with a mix of antique and contempory furniture, with internet access, LCD TV's, oversized spa tubs and more. Prices start at $149 CDN per night.