Perth was named for a town and river in Scotland and became a frontier home for Scottish and Irish settlers who journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean more than 200 years ago.

The Perth settlement, in Lanark County, began in 1815: in that year the "Perth Military Settlement" began. By 1816 Perth was an established military settlement because of the war of 1812. Many of the first settlers were from France, Germany, Poland, Italy, Scotland or Ireland who were offered land in return for their military service. The military regime lasted until 1824, when settlers were granted municipal rights of self government.

Perth is home to Canada's oldest pioneer burial ground, St. Paul's United Church Cemetery, formerly The Old Methodist Burying Ground. This cemetery is at the south-east end of the Last Duel Park on Robinson Street. The Craig Street Cemetery (the Old Burying Grounds) also contains many historic graves from 1820 to 1873.

Perth is also the site of the last fatal duel in Upper Canada. Robert Lyon, a law student, was killed on June 13, 1833, after fighting over a woman (Elizabeth Hughes) with a former friend, John Wilson. Field of Blood, Locating the Site of the Last Fatal Duel by Ron W. Shaw

In 1893, a 22,000 pound cheese (the Mammoth Cheese) was produced in Perth to be exhibited at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition to promote Canadian cheese around the world. A monument resides at the Tay Basin in the heart of town.

Today, the heritage downtown of Perth consists of boutiques, restaurants, specialty and antique shops which operate out of historical 100-200 year old stone buildings in town.

MAP of PERTH - 1863

Perth Designated Historic Buildings

A wee bit of Perth's Chronological History:
  • 1816   April 18th, Perth established as a military settlement. Land for the settlement was obtained from the Algonkians.
  • 1816   Captain Joshua Adams builds the first tavern on Foster St.
  • 1816   John Adamson builds the first house, the Red House, on Craig St.
  • 1816   Fall: 20 houses in Perth, 250 houses in the area, population 1,505.
  • 1817   settlers face starvation.
  • 1817   settlement's first minister arrives in Perth.
  • 1817   1,890 residents in the Perth area.
  • 1819   first Presbyterian church is built.
  • 1820   first Roman Catholic church.
  • 1821   Methodist church starts up in Perth.
  • 1823   Perth has seven general stores.
  • 1823   Summit House built from brick.
  • 1823   Inge-Va House erected.
  • 1824   Perth gets its first lawyer, James Boulton.
  • 1828   The first newspaper in Eastern Ontario founded in Perth; the Bathurst Independent Examiner.
  • 1830   Perth has a population of 350.
  • 1830   McMartin House built.
  • 1833   the steamship Enterprise is launched in Perth.
  • 1833   June 13th, last fatal duel in Canada fought in Perth.
  • 1834   Tay Canal opens.
  • 1836   Perth had 8 taverns, seven stores selling liquor, trhree distilleries and a brewery.
  • 1836   population 1,000.
  • 1841   Haggart Mill built after a fire.
  • 1842   first Baptist meeting house.
  • 1845   Perth's fair begins.
  • 1850   population 1,581
  • 1851  Perth becomes a separate municipality.
  • 1851   Perth Public School erected.
  • 1854   Perth was incorporated as a town on January 1st., population 3,500
  • 1858   the Mallock House was erected, what is now part of Perth's Great War Memorial Hospital.
  • 1859   The B&O (Brockville & Ottawa) railway reaches Perth.
  • 1861   first Anglican church opened.
  • 1863   Perth Town Hall is built.
  • 1874   Perth's community has expanded along the streets of Gore, Drummond and Beckwith.
  • 1875   Perth High School opened.
  • 1880   Economic boom in Perth.
  • 1882-92   Second Tay Canal built.
  • 1887   electricity lights the town of Perth.
  • 1887   nineteen phones and a switchboard in Perth.
  • 1887   one-fortieth of all the money in Canadian banks was in Perth.
  • 1891   Perth's population 3,136.
  • 1892   World's biggest cheese, the Mammoth Cheese, was produced.
  • 1906   Kininvie House built for T.A. Cole.
  • 1908   first car in Perth.
  • 1911   Perth's population 3,588
  • 1914   first Perth library erected.
  • 1915   the old power house at Haggart Dam is demolished.
  • 1923   Great War Memorial Hospital opened.
  • 1925   Stewart Park was a gift to the town by the Stewart family.
  • 1930   Post Office opens across fron the Town Hall.
  • 1947   Stewart Park is developed as a public park.
  • 1953   population 5,000
  • 1961   82 retail stores in Perth.
  • 1964   Haggart Mill destroyed by fire.
  • 1965   town installs a sewage lagoon to stop contamination of the Tay River.
  • 1968   Algonquin College opens.
  • 1974   Inge-Va House donated to the Ontario Heritage Foundation.
  • 1980   first Perth library destroyed by fire.
  • 1991   Perth's 175th anniversary.
  • 1992   St. John's High School opens.
  • 1994   The amalgamation of the Great War Memorial Hospital and the Smiths Falls Community Hospital to become The Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital.
  • 2003   Perth's population 6,003
  • 2006   Perth's Population 6,232
  • For a great source on Perth's History visit the "Perth & District Historical Society's website" >>>

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