Just outside the city of Ottawa, Kemptville straddles Kemptville Creek around the intersection of county roads 43 and 44, but also pokes up along County Road 44 to just south of the Rideau River. Otherwise the northern boundary is around Veterans Way. The western boundary is roughly Heritage Boulevard and just west of Somerville Road. The southern boundary is generally Concession Road, with a dip down along County Road 44, and the eastern boundary weaves along Highway 416.
Kemptville’s origins date to the early 1800s, when a saw mill and grist mill were built, attracting further development. The town became known as Kemptville, in honour of then-governor general Sir James Kempt, in 1829. By 1861, the population had grown to over 1,000. Eleven years later, much of the downtown would be destroyed by fire. Today, Kemptville is the largest community in the municipality of North Grenville, accounting for close to 70 per cent of residents.
Claim to fame
Given that Kemptville was born of the forest, which still accounts for much of its land, it’s fitting that Kemptville is home to Eastern Ontario’s largest tree nursery, the 800-acre Ferguson Forest, which produces some 1.5 million trees a year.
Kemptville is also located along the historic Rideau River and Rideau Canal. The section of the route that passes through the area is part of The Long Reach, the longest section of the canal uninterrupted by locks (40 km).
And, until recently, the town was known as the home of the University of Guelph’s Kemptville College, focusing on agriculture and set on 600 acres that has since been acquired by the municipality. Today, the campus is home to two school boards and other enterprises, including the Ryan’s Well Foundation.
Who’s building where
In the area
In many ways, Kemptville is a self-contained town, offering just about all the services one would want, including its own hospital, library and big-box shopping. About the only thing missing would be a large variety of clothes shopping.
There are multiple elementary and secondary schools in the area, representing three school boards, as well as a Montessori school. The boards are:
- Upper Canada District School Board
- Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario
- École catholiques Centre-Est
From big box retail to unique downtown shops and service industries to commercial enterprises, Kemptville has a wealth of businesses, including:
- Rideau Woodland Ramble
- Food Basics
- Shoppers Drug Mart
- The Flower Shop
- Canadian Tire
- Giant Tiger
- Kemptville Family Restaurant
- New Rideau Restaurant
- Blue Gypsy Wines
- Geronimo Coffee House
There are many. They include:
- Kemptville District Hospital
- Public library
- Extensive parkland
- Paddling and fishing on Kemptville Creek
- Urbandale Arts Centre
- Sports fields
- Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary
- A giving garden
As a well-established and robust community, Kemptville has virtually every service needed. There are churches of various denominations and several associations, including:
- Kemptville & District Community Association
- Kemptville Players
- North Grenville Concert Choir
- Kemptville Youth Musical Theatre Company
- Kemptville Horticultural Society
- A snowmobile club
- Organized hockey and curling
- And there are several service clubs, including:
- Knights of Columbus
- Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Girl Guides
With the completion of the four-lane Hwy. 416 in the late 1990s, Kemptville has become much more easily accessible as a bedroom community. There’s little in the way of public transit, although there are week-day shuttle services affiliated with OC Transpo.
Within the town, the multi-use Rail Trail connects pedestrians, cyclists and snowmobilers from Wellington to Bedell roads.