It’s only about a half hour’s drive from the cabin we are staying in on Otty Lake, Ontario, to Smith Falls. We dropped by for lunch at a delightful cafe called The Vault (apparently it’s a former bank), and spent some time walking through a small town that played an outsized role in the transportation history of Canada.
Landlocked to be sure, but Smith (originally Smyth) Falls was strategically located to move goods and people by rail and water.
It’s glory days long gone, Smith Falls has a struggling downtown, but in recent years has made significant improvements, including more attractive streetscaping and protected bike paths running through the business center of town.
Jill’s father was born in Smith Falls, where his father worked for the railway.
And the museum offers a fascinating look at railroad days of glory. You can even get a train ride.
Fun fact. For many years the railroad offered rolling dental services to remote towns and settlements.
But if the railroad days of glory are gone, a two century marvel of engineering is still funneling boats through Smith Falls.
The raw power of water is on full display here.
Boats wait patiently for their turn through the locks. Le boat is a popular rental option in Smith Falls.
Mostly they are pleasure craft. Making the Ottawa to St. Lawrence Seaway trip is a big deal and Smith Falls is at the epicenter of the journey.