Arts & Culture

Smiths Falls is home to a vibrant arts community that includes world-famous photographers, live theatre, museums, public art, festivals, and crafts. Many juried artists and artisans have made Smiths Falls their home and the community is working to develop and enhance the Town’s creative capacity and economy together.

 

Smiths Falls Municipal Cultural Plan

The Smiths Falls Cultural Plan 2021-2025 is a guiding document used by the Town of Smiths Falls to guide the strategic and integrated planning of cultural resources in urban and community development.

 

 Smiths Falls & District Arts & Culture Council

The Smiths Falls and District Arts and Culture Council's Mission is to provide services, resources, and opportunities for the pursuit of artistic and cultural endeavours in this community.

The SFDACC is helping arts and culture to grow in Smiths Falls by providing services, resources and opportunities for individuals and groups to get involved in the arts. SFDACC also assists in public exhibitions, raises awareness of local artistic and cultural expression, and educates the community about the positive contribution which culture contributes to the community. For more information, please visit their website.

Smiths Falls Public Art
The Town of Smiths Falls is looking to develop a Public Arts Master Plan to help guide the commissioning, installation and maintenance of public art in Smiths Falls.  Please stay connected to share your ideas and help our community to showcase its vibrant talents. 
 The Station Theatre

A jewel in the cultural community of Smiths Falls is the Station Theatre. Located in a former Canadian Pacific Railway station which when faced with the possibility of demolition had the community’s resourcefulness come to its aid and save the building. Year round live community theatre, including a summer musical, Christmas pantomime, International Film Nights, a world renowned illusionist, and other entertainment is offered at this 140 seat theatre. Discover more about this one of a kind theatre on their website.

History

The Town’s name is derived from the original owner of the land, Thomas Smyth, and the once-magnificent falls that were diverted in order to create the Rideau Canal and the three lock stations.

The history of Smiths Falls dates back to the American Revolutionary War between the Americans and the British when land grants were issued to United Empire Loyalists who lost the lands they owned in the United States as punishment for supporting the crown. The area now known as Smiths Falls was granted to Lieutenant Thomas Smyth in 1786, a total of 400 acres. Rights to his land and mill were contested in 1824, and Smyth lost his land for having defaulted on mortgage payments. The area was then purchased by Abel Russell Ward, a self-proclaimed United Empire Loyalist, in 1825.

When Lieutenant-Colonel John By, a member of the Royal Engineering Corp., was charged with constructing a navigable canal linking Lake Ontario and the Ottawa River; he included the Rideau River running through Smiths Falls. The opening of the canal in 1832 is seen as a milestone for the area since it allowed for economic growth.

The true economic boom came after 1884 when the Canadian Pacific Railway constructed part of its line through the area. This provided a direct trade route to Montreal and its shipping lines. The population of the region increased rapidly.

Due to those early ventures, Smiths Falls has a diverse history of important industries, such as the Frost and Wood Co. Ltd., Coca-Cola, RCA Victor Ltd., and Hershey’s Canada Inc.

Rideau Canal

The rich history of the Smiths Falls waterway dates back to 1826 when Lieutenant-Colonel, John By, was tasked with the construction of the Rideau Canal. In a remarkable feat of engineering, the over 200km long Canal was built in just six years. Fast forward to 2007, the Rideau Canal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the first of its kind in Ontario. Being located in the heart of the Canal, Smiths Falls continues to play an important part in the preservation and celebration of this beautiful waterway.

The Rideau Canal is the best preserved slack water canal in the world, and the only one from the 19th century that still operates along its original watercourse, with its original structures intact. This engineering marvel illustrates a globally important stage in human history – the clash for control of British North America. Smiths Falls encourages everyone to experience this unique historical site!

Smiths Falls Heritage House Museum
Located on the Rideau Canal waterway, the Smiths Falls Heritage House Museum is a community museum and cultural centre, depicting the upper middle-class life of the Smiths Falls families circa 1865-1875. It also includes a permanent collection of Smiths Falls artifacts, as well as travelling exhibits and art shows. Tours are available both indoors and outdoors by appointment.
Lanark County Genealogical Society - Reference Library
 LCGS Genealogy Resource Centre is located at the SSmiths Falls Heritage House Museum, 11 Old Slys Road, Smith Falls.

A varied and interesting collection of genealogical resource materials, family trees, family histories, scrapbooks and other publications illustrating local history and community events are available to the public.

The Resource Centre operates on a self-help basis with a volunteer Librarian on-site at various times or by appointment.

$5.00 Researcher Pass will be required by the day or $25 for the year to access the resources.

Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario

While visiting the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario, you’ll find rail heritage comes alive at this National Historic Site. Visitors can climb up into the cupola of a caboose, enjoy a dental car, a gorgeous 1880's CN dining car or inspect the track in a Speeder Car. Enjoy the glamping experience of staying overnight in a vintage caboose. New exhibits, events and programs take place all season. Please contact the museum directly for more information.

 

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