Cool things you might not know about Lanark County

We’re going to let you in on a few secrets about Lanark County. You’ll be amazed how much we have going on! And if you’d like more details on any of them, just ask. We’re happy to share.


Lanark County is the home of the man who invented basketball. Dr. James Naismith grew up in Almonte. Today, you’ll find a museum dedicated to his life and work in the historic Mill of Kintail.


Upper Canada’s last fatal duel unfolded in Perth. On June 13, 1833, two young law students pulled out pistols to battle over the honour of one Miss Elizabeth Hughes, a local schoolteacher. John Wilson thought his former friend Robert Lyon had been a bit too cuddly with Hughes—whom, coincidentally, Wilson had an unrequited crush on. In the duel, Wilson fatally shot Lyon. He was later acquitted, married Hughes, and became a politician and judge.


Canada’s largest collection of orchids blooms at Purdon Conservation Area. In the early 1930s, Joe Purdon came upon a wild cluster of Showy Lady Slipper orchids. He nurtured the colony, and now some 16,000 plants flower for three weeks each June.


Speaking of flowers, the village of Franktown bills itself as the Lilac Capital of Ontario and holds a lilac festival each spring.


Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site forms part of Lanark County’s southern border. A treasured destination for boaters and paddlers, the 202-kilometre Rideau Canal was constructed between 1826 and 1832 to connect what are now Ottawa and Kingston.


You can see ice underground in August. That’s just one of the cool things about the Silver Queen Mica Mine in Murphy’s Point Provincial Park. Miners dug up mica, apatite and feldspar here from 1903 to 1920. Today, visitors can take a guided tour to the chilly depths (hence, the ice in August) to see a wall coated with moss, ferns and flowers that flourish in the cool mine atmosphere.


The beautiful Pakenham Five Span Bridge is a double engineering marvel. First, it is one of the only five-arch bridges in North America. And, second, it was laboriously taken apart, stone by stone, in 1984 so that a concrete understructure could be built. Then the stones—including one that weighs five tonnes—were carefully replaced in their original positions.


Lanark County hosts festivals dedicated to garlic, puppets and Volkswagen buses. BusFusion takes place in Almonte in June, which is also home to the Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival in August. The Perth Garlic Festival takes over Perth the following August weekend.


Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival:

Perth Garlic Festival:


A labyrinth in Carleton Place is designed to foster meditation and reflection. The landscaped, circular labyrinth opened in 2011 and is wheelchair accessible.