Almonte, self-labeled the “Friendly Town” and the home of the founding founder of basketball, James Naismith. This little town just thirty minutes from Ottawa in Lanark County has streets of winding heritage buildings perched on the rushing rapids of a grand waterfall.
9 bucket list things to do in Almonte
Stroll on the Riverwalk
Riverwalk, a boardwalk, and path along the river in the historic downtown of Almonte. You start at the Old Town Hall and make your way to the right-hand side of the building and follow the boardwalk.
The walk is roughly 1 km long and has plenty to see along the way.
Get some Ice cream
At the end of your Riverwalk journey, you will find yourself next to a small blue building, similar to a food truck. This is where you will find Almonte Ice Cream, the best ice cream in town.
Almonte Ice Cream is only opened seasonally and starts the day at noon.
Shop Mill Street
To head back to the car, go up Mill Street and do a little shopping on the way. Here you will find antique stores, book stores, and everything in between.
Enjoy the view from the Barley Mow patio
Established in 2009 situated on the Mississippi River the original Mill building was restored to show off the original exposed stone and wood beams.
Near the end of the Riverwalk trail, you will find a great meal and an even better view. During social distancing protocols, you will need to make a reservation before getting a seat. Check them out here for more information.
Discover the history of basketball with James Naismith
If Almonte is famous for just one thing, then it’s that the inventor of basketball, James Naismith, was born and raised on a farm outside of town.
Mill of Kintail
The Mill of Kintail Conservation Area is 152 acres of heritage property. The mill is home to the R. Tait Mackenzie Museum, which features many of the artist’s sculptures and memorabilia, and the Naismith Museum about James Naismith
We had a severe storm warning on the way home so ended up not having time to visit the Mill of Kintail on this adventure but we will be back soon to check it out.
Visit the Mississippi Valley textile museum
The entire mill complex is one of a few surviving Ottawa Valley textile manufacturing complexes from the late 19th century. In 1988, the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum acquired the Annex of the mill complex for use as a museum.
Donuts at Healthy Food Technologies Inc.
On the way into town, take the 3rd exit from the roundabout instead of the 2nd and you will find yourself in an Industrial park. This is the unlikely home of the most amazing donuts I have ever eaten.
Flavors are similar to your traditional Tim Hortons menu; Apple Fritter, Bostom Cream and Strawberry Filled. However, they have added their own selections like Hamburger donut (two white donut layers and a chocolate layer, nothing crazy), a BlackForest donut and a few other amazing offerings.
The best part is that you won’t have a heavy stomach after eating them. I have started avoided Timmie donuts because they were too heavy and too sweet. Healthy Food Technologies make amazing tasting donuts but with 50 to 70% less fat and less than half the calories of a normal doughnut.
Visit the Five Span Bridge
While exploring the Ottawa Valley, don’t forget to take the “long way” back into the city and explore the Five Span Bridge. The Pakenham Bridge is a stone bridge with five arches that crosses the Mississippi River in the town of Pakenham. It is the only one of this type in North America.
With a parking lot and rapids right at the bridge, it is a popular picnic spot. Here the Mississippi River drops a few meters over a wide cascade with exposed bedrock, but below the rapids, there is a strong undertow. There are signs around the parking area that request guests not swim or wad in the waters.
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