Matheson House / Perth Museum – 11 Gore Street East
A National Historic Site! Matheson House, home of the Perth Museum invites you to come and explore the rich History in Heritage Perth! We have a little something for everyone with four period rooms restored as the 1840’s Matheson home, pistols from the “Last Fatal Duel in Upper Canada”, a piece of the Mammoth Cheese, Perthite and Wilsonite from Dr. Wilson’s Geology collection, archival research, inventions from Perth, recreation and leisure in Perth and so much more…
Outdoors, visitors will find a charming enclosed Scottish garden on the South side bursting with flowering plants and shrubs true to the era. An outdoor bake oven, and herb garden can be found on the North side.
Perth Town Hall – 80 Gore Street East
Built in 1863, the Town Hall is prominently situated in downtown Perth. Built in local sandstone, it has a slightly protruding frontispiece capped by an elaborate wood cornice, a boxed gable and tower/cupola.
As opposed to the many more simply designed stone building on Gore Street, the Town Hall is more imposing in scale and features an extensive amount of architectural detailing in both wood and stone. The elaborate bell and clock tower/cupola assembly were added in 1874. These details portray a building designed to distinguish a significant public edifice at the period of its construction.
Tay River Trail
The Tay River Trail is a historic pathway and portage site that dates back to the military settlement of Perth-upon-Tay in 1816.
Using the Tay Basin as the hub or home port of the trail, you can either travel upstream – toward the river’s source at Bob’s Lake – or downstream to the Tay delta, where the River spills into the Lower Rideau Lake. Watch for the “navigational trail markers” that will help you navigate – much like the buoys to be found in the Tay River. When looking through the circular viewfinder in each trail marker, you can sight the next trail marker and chart your course along the trail. The trail markers’ coloured faces will indicate to you whether you are heading upstream (green side facing) along the trail or downstream (red side facing) along the trail.
Last Duel Park, Campgrounds and Cemetery – Located off Highway #43
The Last Duel Park & Campgrounds is a 27-acre site located on the banks of the Tay River. The Park owes its name to the infamous last fatal and most publicized duel to take place in Upper Canada where, in 1833, law students Robery Lyon and John Wilson duelled over the honour of Miss Elizabeth Hughes.
The duel was fought on the banks of the Tay River where the Campground is situated. Although Lyon was considered a crack shot, both he and his opponent missed their mark. The two combatants were willing to give up, but Henry LeLievre, Lyon’s second, would not agree to an amicable settlement. The pistols were reloaded and fired simultaneously. Lyon fell, mortally wounded, and was transported back to the foyer at Inge Va (66 Craig Street), where he succumbed to his wounds. He was buried in the cemetery adjacent to Last Duel Park.
Wilson, Simon Frazer Robertson (Wilson’s second) were arrested by the Sheriff and tried in Brockville; both were acquitted.
The Old Fire Hall
The Tower is unique in that it is one of the few remaining fire halls dating as far back as 1855, and its excellent condition is a tribute to the fine skills of the craftsmen of the day.
The engine house of the Perth Fire Hall was erected in 1855 and the second storey additions as well as the tower were completed by October 1883. There were three alarms; one rang out from the Town Hall, one near the present United Church, and one near the corner of Gore and Brock Streets. The alarm bell indicated the possible direction of the fire. In the 1940’s this fire hall was abandoned in favour of a larger facility across town. Subsequently this building has served as an Art Gallery (known as the Fire Hall Gallery) and is now home to the Perth & District Chamber of Commerce office.
Inge-Va is a stone cottage and frame garage outbuilding located on a 1 1/2 acre property on the south-east corner of the intersection of Craig and Wilson Street East in Perth, Ontario. Built in 1823/24 of local sandstone, Architectural studies of Inge-Va have frequently referred to it as the quintessential example of the Eastern Ontario stone cottage. Following the establishment of the Perth Military Settlement in 1816, this home was the first substantial stone house constructed in the community. In 1832, the house was leased and then sold to Thomas Radenhurst, one of the first lawyers to set up practice in the newly established legal centre of the district. His nephew by marriage, Robert Lyon, was the victim of the last fatal duel in Canada, an event that has been forever linked to the house.
This property, located at 50 Herriott Street, was built by T. A. Code starting in 1906 and finishing in 1907. The house was to be a gift to his wife Jessie Leslie who unfortunately passed away soon after the house was completed. T. A. Code was a well-known merchant and mill owner at this time, owning The Code’s Mill just a block down from the house. In the winter this house would receive steam head through underground tunnels from the mill to keep the house warm. Thomas A. Code, who started his woollen mill in Innisville, was one of several entrepreneurs active in Eastern Ontario’s woollen industry. He moved to Perth in 1876 and, by 1883 acquired the Kilpatrick tannery at Herriott and Wilson. Larry Turner compares Matheson and Code complexes and refers to the Code complex as reflective of the “City Beautiful” movement, with buildings set out almost as is on public display. This complex includes Kininvie, an Edwardian residence, the imposing three storey Royal bank complex and his Mill. Thomas A. Code was Mayor of Perth 1889-90.
Old Armories in Perth- now Methodist Church – 144 Gore Street East
In 1821 a small log chapel was erected by the Methodists in Perth on this site. Subsequently, this early building was enlarged and replaced in 1863 by a larger building in Gothic style. The land was deed by the Crown to James Richey, 16 January 1833, and sold to the Methodist Trustees on 11 March 1835. By 1884, the present building was erected and the former building removed. In 1892, the church was named Ashbury Methodist in reference to Bishop Francis Asbury. In 1925 Ashbury voted in favor of church union, and in 1926 joined the Knox Free Presbyterian Church. From 1926 to 1928 the building was rented to various groups until, in 1928, it was leased to the Government of Canada for use as an Armories. The Government purchased the building in 1935 and it remained an Armories until 1965 when it was acquired by the Free Methodist Church from Crown Assets.
St. John’s Convent (next to the Rectory)
Erected in 1905 to house the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul. Archbishop James Vincent Cleary established a convent in Perth. The first convent was a brick house near the school and was purchased for a cost of $1750. At that time it was agreed that four sisters would reside in Perth. In 1905, a new and spacious stone convent was built beside the parish rectory. This was the home of the Sisters of Providence in Perth for eighty-one years. In 1986 the Sisters moved to a new Convent at 15 Church Street. Although a mixture of architectural styles, primarily Gothic with some French Canadian features commonly seen in Quebec this stone building unifies St. Johns Church, Rectory as a cultural landscape in Perth. The existence of all three original buildings provides visual documentary evidence of the importance of the Catholic faith in Perth from the beginning. The Church, Rectory, Convent and school are located up over four acres of land so that they command a splendid view of the whole vicinity.
Bridge Master House and Swing Bridge – Beckwith Street
The bridge is a king post swing bridge and is the last surviving bridge which was built over the Tay River in 1888. When the Tay Canal and the Tay Basin were completed in 1889 there were three such bridges. At the edge of the bridge on the left side of Riverside Drive is the Bridgemasters House which is a frame one-and-a half storey building.
The Robertson Building – Music Hall
On the north side of D’Arcy Street, these two joined two storey buildings in local stone in a vernacular style are reputed to have been built using only Edinburgh trained Scottish masons. Both built for James Robertson, a local cordwainer. The historical connections of these houses are quite different. The west end was designed to provide a large music hall on the second floor as well as a shop and residential space on the main floor below. The space was used for concerts, meetings of various Temperance societies and political gatherings. It also provided space, briefly, for the First Baptist congregation while its church was built next door in 1888 (replacing the original building of 1842). The east end is known for having been owned by Dr. J.K. Kennedy, from 1871 to 1920. Dr. Kennedy, a local dentist, was related by marriage to the Rev. Thomas P. Henderson who had persuaded the family of Alexander Graham Bell to move to Canada from Scotland. This connection resulted in the installation of the first privately owned telephone in Canada in 1877, linking Dr. Kennedy’s home with his dental office on Foster Street. Dr. Kennedy then became an agent of the Bell Telephone Company. The first switchboard in Perth was located in this house from