Country living at its best!
Insider tour of Montague
Wildflower Capital of Ontario
Set on the beautiful Rideau Canal, vast farmlands and heritage stone homesteads are the pride of this welcoming community. Growing settlement areas are near to the historic village of Numogate and the hamlets of Nolan’s Corners, Rosedale and Kilmarnock. Scenic vistas of open fields covered in goldenrod and asters are enjoyed by rare birds such as the Bobolink. Flocks of sheep and grazing horses are a delight and in spring it’s a common sight to see lambs, colts and fillies bounce around the fields.
Make a Memory | Things to Do
- Admire the historic stone farmhouses on Heritage Drive among fields filled with wildflowers
- Set up a tour for your group at the expansive private collection of antiques at Montague House Museum
- See the studio of pottery artist of Linda Hynes during the fall studio tour
- Visit the Numogate Historic Cemetery and learn the names of the first European settlers
- Find a quiet bench and reflect at scenic Andrewsville Lookout and Kilmarnock Lockstations on the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Cycle along the Great Trail
- Spot a glimpse of the elusive Bobolink, a red cardinal, a blue jay or a chickadee
- Find sweet corn and fresh seasonal produce at Farm Gates and Roadside stands
History: When Montague was surveyed in the 1790’s, it was intended to accommodate Loyalist and post-loyalist settlers, to continue settlement started in the 1780’s by the first Caucasian settler on the Rideau, Roger Stevens. Montague’s proximity to the military settlements of Perth, Beckwith and Richmond attracted additional settlers in the post-1812 decades; however, it was the shock of mass Irish immigration during the 1830’s through to the 1850’s which gave the Township its distinctive ethnic character by mid-century.
From the slowly growing frontier settlement at the end of the eighteenth century, through the years of large scale settlement and squatting by Irish immigrants in the early nineteenth century, to the failure of the local wheat economy by the 1870’s followed a century later by the decline of the dairy economy for many farmers, the struggle against the Township’s thin soil allowed many inhabitants little more than subsistence living.
Other forms of survival continued this pattern of Montague’s history. Attempts were made to develop schools and churches within the Township, but these gradually declined in favour of adjacent towns such as Smiths Falls, while the continual battle was waged to prevent Smiths Falls from expropriating fertile farmland for industrial development. Social groups and local fairs, villages and post offices, cheese factories and rural telephone companies all were doomed to failure as adjacent towns grew, as railroads sliced through the Township and as Montague’s population dropped between 1860 and 1940.
In addition, there were social problems – ranging from families on the brink of starvation to inadequate roads and schools to religious and ethnic intolerance – problems which would contribute to the Irish feeling of inferiority that persisted in Montague from the mid-nineteenth century onward.
Fortunately, the present day situation is more positive, with new schools being built and a modest, but steady population growth rate as people choose to relocate in Montague to enjoy the benefits of a rural setting while being within easy commuting distance of major centres.
- Showcasing a Lifelong Passion: The Private Collection at Montague House Museum
- Explore Rare agricultural artifacts in a Private Museum of Lanark County
- Epoch Times: The Enduring appeal of Antiques and Collectibles
- The Ontario Table: Cheese Tasting Notes: A review of Milkhouse Dairy’s Tomme
- PBS Travel Scope: Cruising Ontario – Canada’s Historic Rideau Canal
Township of Montague
P.O. Box 755 6547 Roger Stevens Dr.
Smiths Falls, ON K7A 4W6