Almonte, which is part of the larger town of Mississippi Mills, straddles the Mississippi River west of Ottawa. The boundaries are roughly Appleton Side Road to the east, Cara Street to the north, County Road 29 to the west and Jamieson Street to the south.
Almonte was founded around 1820. It was once named Waterford but, to avoid confusion with another Waterford in what was then called Canada West, it was renamed Almonte (likely after a Mexican general) in 1855. Textile mills sprang up around waterfalls on the Mississippi River, spurred by the arrival of a train line from Brockville. A catastrophic 1942 crash between two passenger trains in the town claimed 39 lives. In 1998, Almonte amalgamated with nearby Pakenham and Ramsay townships to form the Town of Mississippi Mills. The train line was removed in 2011. Limestone buildings — some of them former mills now converted to condos — lovely Victorian homes and small shops define Almonte.
Claim to fame
Almonte was the boyhood home of Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball. Today, a statue of Naismith holds pride of place downtown on Mill Street, and you can learn more about him at a small museum at the Mill of Kintail.
Almonte is the biggest community in the Town of Mississippi Mills, which also includes the communities of Pakenham and Ramsay.
Who’s building where
- White Tail Ridge: Phoenix Homes
In the area
Almonte is attractive to homebuyers looking for heritage charm, a vibrant main street and local festivals. It has a thriving arts scene and a growing cycling culture. Attractions include:
- Mississippi River
- Mill of Kintail Conservation Area
- Mississippi Valley Textile Museum
- Gemmill Park
- Metcalfe Geoheritage Park
- Boutique shopping
- Pedestrian/cycling-friendly routes
Almonte has two English public elementary schools, one English Catholic elementary school and an English public high school. The nearest English Catholic high school and French Catholic elementary school are in Carleton Place. Other French schools are more distant:
- English public: Upper Canada District School Board
- English Catholic: Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario
- French public: Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario
- French Catholic: Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est
T.R. Leger School has a campus in Almonte offering the Skills Training and Employment Preparation (STEP) program for adults.
Almonte is packed with independent stores and restaurants, including:
- Hummingbird Chocolate
- Dairy Distillery
- Wee Bee Children’s Shop
- L.G. Lee and Sons
- Tin Barn Market
- Gilligallou Bird
- Mill Street Books
- CRUSH Marketplace
- Doree’s Habit
- Pêches et Poivre
- Don’s Meat Market
- Equator Coffee Roasters
- Mill Street Crepe Company
- Carriageway Studios
Gemmill Park has a basketball court, a skateboard park, a splash pad, soccer and football fields, a 400-metre track, baseball diamonds, tennis courts and more. Other Almonte amenities include:
- Almonte Old Town Hall
- Almonte Lagoon Birding Complex
- Stewart Community Centre
- Cedar Hill School House
- Almonte and District Community Centre
- Union Hall
- Almonte Fairgrounds
- Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail
- Almonte Beach
- Mississippi Golf Club
Almonte has doctors and dentists, a general hospital, veterinary clinics, churches, schools, florists, a dry cleaner, law offices and other services. The Town of Mississippi Mills organizes a range of sports and recreation programs.
It’s a 15-kilometre drive from Almonte to the March Road onramp (exit 155) to the Queensway (Highway 417). Leduc Bus Lines runs weekday commuter bus service between several stops in Almonte and multiple stops in Ottawa. Non-profit Lanark Transportation provides affordable transportation to medical and other appointments.