Smiths Falls

Protected Properties

Designated Properties

Town Hall

Town HallTown Hallh


77 Beckwith Street North
About the Property:

This building was constructed in 1859 to be used for municipal offices. It was designed by architect Ezekiel Shipman, and built by contractors Dodds and Ballantyne. The Classical Revival architectural style, with its straight lines and balanced proportions, is representative of town hall construction during that time.

The exterior of the building is of rough cut grey-brown limestone with some granite parts. Heavy evenly lined quoins jut out at all corners, and resemble pillars supporting the building, with capitol and base. The heavy overhanging cornice is of simple design. The façade features a central projection topped by a medium pitch gable with the date 1859.

Apart from the façade, much of the original structure is hidden by additions. In 1876 a hose drying tower was added at the south-east corner. In 1890 a four room brick building was added to the north-east corner, and an addition to the jail at the back of the building was completed in 1947.

The Town Hall was designated a heritage property in 1977 for its historic and architectural value or interest.

Old Central School

Old Central SchoolOld Central School


79 Beckwith Street North
About the Property:

This building features Neo Classic and Classical Revival architecture. It was constructed in 1871 for use as a public school. It is contiguous to and complements the Town Hall, being of the same architectural design and constructed with similar materials. The exterior is rough cut grey-brown limestone with some granite parts, heavy quoins at the corners, a prominent cornice and frieze decorated with dentils. The bell tower remains at the front, but the bell was moved to Chimo School in 1973.

The balanced façade features a central projection flanked by two windows on either side, on both floors. The projection is topped by a medium pitch gable with the words Public School and the date 1871. The sides and back of the building are also balanced, in the classical architectural style.

In 1871 the school housed all grades, with one classroom for high school students. The student population soon outgrew the building, and in 1878 an addition was built. In 1884 the high school students moved to the new school at 46 Russell Street West. Central School housed the office of the Supervising Principal, who directed elementary education in Smiths Falls until 1957.

Central School is the oldest school building in Smiths Falls. It closed in 1973, when Chimo School opened, and in 1975 became the town Recreation Centre. This building was designated a heritage property in 1977 for its historic and architectural value or interest.

Waterworks Buildings

Waterworks BuildingsWaterworks Buildings


25 Old Mill Road
About the Property:

The three storey brick building was the original pumping station built for the purpose by Captain Adam Foster in 1886. Foster received a contract to put a water pipe system below ground on the east side of Beckwith Street to supply the water tanks at the CPR yard. Over the next decade he expanded this private system through the major town streets. The waterworks was run as a private business until the town purchased it and took over its operations in 1899.

The three storey stone office building was originally a flour mill and bears the date 1854. It was purchased by the town in 1910. The first filter plant was built in 1924 in a brick building south of the original Foster building, with a further extension added in1952.

The waterworks complex was designated a heritage property in 1977 for its historic and architectural value or interest.

Heritage House

Heritage HouseHeritage House


103 Old Slys Road
About the Property:

This house was built in 1862 by Joshua Bates, who also constructed nearby grist and carding mills at Old Slys. The building’s elegant features for the time include perfectly balanced facades on the east and west fronts, with tall palladian windows over the entrances. The symmetry was completely planned and executed. Window treatments with horizontal divisions exactly one pane and a half are carried on into the west front of the carriage house. Unique architectural features include a two storey privy, an indoor brick oven, and the mirror image façade.

Joshua Bates was an enthusiastic railway promoter, who risked everything to bring the Brockville and Ottawa railway through Smiths Falls and past his mills and home. Thus it was important to him to make the façade of his house facing the railway as impressive as the one facing the road.

Bats dies in 1864, and Truman R. Ward, the first son of Abel Russell Ward, became the owner of the mills and the house. By 1867 he was living in the house with his wife Annabella and their children Alice and Walter. The family left the house in 1893 when Truman died, and it was taken over by the Smiths Falls Electric Power Company.

In 1919 the house was sold to Denis McGrath, who handed it over to his aunts. They lived there until 1941. Florence Gleeson was the owner from 1960 to 1968. In 1977 the town of Smiths Falls bought the derelict property and designated it a heritage property for its historic and architectural value or interest. In 1981 it was opened as the Heritage House Museum, the first museum in Smiths Falls. It has been restored to circa 1867.

Old Post Office

Old Post OfficeOld Post Office


30 Russell Street East
About the Property:

This building was designed by architect Thomas Fuller in the Romanesque Revival style, and was constructed for use as a post office in 1894. The original building was two and a half storeys with a single storey wing on the north end. In 1914 an addition on the north end filled in the corner of the courtyard and raised the L wing to two storeys. The clock tower was added in 1915.

The exterior of the building is of local red-brown sandstone on a foundation of Beckwith limestone, with red sandstone trim from New Brunswick. The front rectangle of the building presents a balanced façade, with a cottage roof of metal shingles and a belvedere on top with a flagpole. The heavy overhanging wood cornice is decorated with rounded brackets.

The building was up-to-date for its time, with electricity and indoor plumbing, and a coal furnace to heat the water. Originally the Post Office occupied the first floor and the second floor housed the Customs Office. The caretaker and his family lived in an apartment on the top floor.

The Post Office was closed in 1964, then bought by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kingston in 1965. There was a separate high school for grades 11 and 12 on the first floor, a retreat on the second floor, and nuns’ living quarters on the third floor. In 1977 the property was bought by Heritage Holdings. There are law offices on the first floor, and apartments on the second and third floors.

The old post office was designated a heritage property in 1978 for its historic and architectural value or interest.

Rideau Hotel

Rideau HotelRideau Hotel


20 Beckwith Street North
About the Property:

This building, constructed in 1901 by Charles O’Reilly, is a fine example of turn of the century commercial architecture. The four storey, flat-roofed, brick structure features repeating round arched windows on the second floor, four oriel windows on the third floor south façade, and four terraced windows with iron ballustrades on the fourth floor south façade. It also features a decorative, bracketed cornice, with prominent dentils and elaborately sculptured frieze.

The Rideau Hotel added a note of refinement to the town. The hotel featured fine dining and transportation to and from the CPR station by horse and carriage and bus. The front of the hotel originally boasted a prominent, elaborate, covered two-storey front entryway where vehicles could pull up to the front doors, thus keeping the hotel patrons safe from the elements.

The Rideau Hotel was designated a heritage property in 1986 for its historic and architectural value or interest.




90 William Street West
About the Property:

This Edwardian railway station building, which now houses the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario, was built in 1912 for the Canadian Northern Railway by John Grant of Toronto. It is an outstanding example of small station buildings in Canada. Its decorative turret, port-cochere and wide projecting eaves were a unique departure from Canadian Northern’s usual design of conservative buildings from standard plans.

The station was exceptionally large for the size of the town. The Canadian Northern railway Company hoped to impress the public and compete with the well-established Canadian Pacific Railway station across town.

The station building features red brick walls, a broad slate roof and a breezeway connecting the two separate buildings. The high-ceilinged main waiting room in the southern building has hardwood floors and mahogany woodwork. This building also contained a smaller ladies waiting room, an operations bay, and baggage room and washrooms. The northern building contained the express room.

The first vehicle travelled on this Ottawa to Bellville line in 1914. In 1919 the Canadian Northern became government owned. The Canadian National Railway (CN and later VIA) used the station until 1979. Abandoned by CN, the building was saved from demolition in 1983 and restored by the Smiths Falls Railway Museum Association.

The Canadian Northern Railway Station was designated a National Historic Site in 1985.




Detached Lock Park, Abbott Street
About the Property:

Built in 1912 for the Canadian Northern Railway, the bridge is a 60 foot span over the Rideau Canal. This manually operated bridge is unique in its engineering structure, and is one of three known to exist in Canada. It represents an outstanding early example of a novel concept in moveable bridges and is the oldest surviving structure of its type.

The bridge was originally electrically powered, but was operated manually from 1915 to 1978. Very little power was needed to operate the bridge due to its rolling lift action which minimized friction. The overhead concrete counter-weight balanced the 21 metre plate girder lift span.

The Bascule Bridge was designated a National Historic Site in 1983.

The Ward House

The Ward HouseThe Ward House


57 Chambers Street
About the Property:

This Neo-Classical stone house was built in the early 1830s for Abel Russell Ward.

The house is constructed of natural cut brown sandstone laid in an uncut broken course, with quoins lighter in shade and smoother in texture.  The rectangular house is two and a half storeys high with a low pitched roof and a balanced three bay façade.  The dark oak  front door has heavy thick leaded glass and sidelights with raided wood panels of the same dark oak.

The square bay window on the west side of the house has stained glass panes in the top sections held together by heavy lead work. The south end of the west side is very asymmetrical with windows placed at random and the bay windows off centre. The east side originally housed the kitchen, laundry and servants’ quarters. There were three maids and a cook. On the southeast corner is a brick structure thought to be almost as old as the main section of the house. It served as a woodshed and an entry to the stairs to the basement.

There are three columned porches, two of which have upper wooden railings, and decorated brick chimneys. At some point all the eaves on the house were changed, probably when the back stone section was built in the early 1900s. The eaves now have decorative moulding underneath. The house is surrounded by an ornamental iron fence.

Abel Russell Ward is considered the founder of Smiths Falls. His house was the largest and finest in the village at the time. Ward owned grist and carding mills, and granary and a sawmill on what became known as Ward’s Island. He also owned a large farm property south of Lombard Street, where he encouraged higher standards in agriculture.

The property remained in Abel Russell Ward’s name until 1873. It also belonged to two of his sons, John B. and George A. Ward, but was later given back to Abel Russell. It was sold in 1881 to Charles B. Frost, and was owned by the Frost family for many years. Although the interior has been divided into apartments, the character of the house has not been destroyed. There is an impressive main hallway with a wide ornate staircase, a built in dining room buffet, and interior stained glass.

This property was designated a heritage property in 1983 for its historic and architectural value or interest.

Wood Mill Complex

Wood Mill ComplexWood Mill Complex


34 Beckwith Street South
About the Property:

This property contains two historic three-storey stone mill buildings, with a two storey office building connecting the other two buildings. It is prominently located in the centre of the town of Smiths Falls, on the bend of the Rideau River adjacent to the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The first mill building, the West Mill, was constructed by Abel Russell Ward in 1852. The East Mill, the other stone building fronting on Beckwith Street, was built by Alexander Wood in 1890. Wood purchased Ward’s Island and all the mills on it in 1880 from Ward, and it became known as Wood Island. The island had grist, oatmeal, carding and saw mills, and a granary.

The East Mill is constructed of contrasting dark and light limestone from Beckwith township, in keeping with the materials used for the Town Hall, at the other end of Beckwith Street. The casement windows in the attic storey were traditional in Smiths Falls architecture at that time.

Alexander Wood, who was a partner in Frost and Wood, brought wheat by rail from Western Canada to mill into flour at his roller mill. The flour was stored in the adjacent frame elevator building. Wood’s flour was destined for the urban markets of Montreal and Toronto.

After Wood died in 1895 the milling complex was leased by a variety of individuals. It was owned by Mary Chalmers Wood from 1907 to 1919, and was then purchased by the United Farmers of Ontario. Area farmers started this movement during World War One, and set up a co-op store in the mill. In 1923 the Smiths Falls Waterworks Commission purchased the property. During the 1950s the East Mill was used for offices and apartments. In 1981 the Canadian Parks Service purchased the run-down property, and restored the East Mill building for their offices and established a museum devoted to the Rideau Canal in the adjoining rebuilt elevator building. There were plans at that time to restore the West Mill as a working stone grist mill.

This property was designated a heritage property in 1979 for its historic and architectural value or interest.

9 Russell Street West

9 Russell Street West9 Russell Street West


9 Russell Street West
About the Property:

The building at 9 Russell Street West was recommended for designation as being of architectural value. The circa 1880 building is a one and one-half storey red brick structure with curved yellow brick window heads and quoins. Other features include a narrow pair of windows in the front, a matching single window at the rear and an attached frame shed. The interior has a curved staircase. The building once sported a large “L” shaped verandah with ornamental newals, spindles and brackets.

The purpose of the designation is to preserve the exterior of the building and the interior staircase.

Maconic Hall

Maconic HallMaconic Hall


46 Russell Street West
About the Property:

This building was constructed in 1884. It was originally a high school, and is representative of early school architecture. The imposing brick structure is set back from the street in an elevated position on the surrounding grounds, providing a distinctive element to the streetscape. The building features yellow brick quoins and frieze, a mansard roof, and repeated vertical windows with contrasting lintels.

By 1911 the building was no longer considered adequate for proper secondary education, when a new collegiate building was constructed across town. It later became Johnston Public school, and is now the Masonic Hall.

This property was designated a heritage property in 1988 for its historic and architectural value or interest.

Jonathan Gile House

Jonathan Gile HouseJonathan Gile House


36 Elmsley Street South
About the Property:

Built in 1899 by Jonathen Gile, this “L” shaped yellow brick dwelling is two stories, with two expansive front bays rising the full height of the house.  The hip roof features a railed roof walk and the eves have ornamental paired cornice brackets.  A rounded veranda fills the space supporting a metal clad roof.  The veranda is complimented with three windows per floor, one over one, topped by a segmental arch.  At the rear is a single storey brick wing with a framed garage attached.

Smiths Falls Library

Smiths Falls LibrarySmiths Falls Library


81 Beckwith Street North
About the Property:

The Smiths Falls Public Library was constructed in 1903 of yellow brick on a limestone foundation and is one of the last remaining Carnegie Library buildings in the area.  The façade features a large portico supported by four smooth, circular columns and four pilasters, all of which are crowned by ionic capitals.  The façade is also highlighted by two symmetrical round windows, with contrasting ornamental brick work, raised quoins, decorative bricks over windows and an elaborately decorated entablature.

The Craine House


2 Bay Street North
About the Property:

This building is a fine example of local early stone buildings. It was built in the 1850s by James Rose, and was home to the Craine family from the late 1800s until Agnes Craine died in 1937. It features two split double flue chimneys and an original board and batten attached shed.

This was the home of Dr. Agnes Craine, one of Canada’s pioneer women in medicine. She was born in Smiths Falls in 1861, attended Kingston Women’s Medical College in the 1880s, and set up her medical practice in Smiths Falls in 1889.

It was designated a heritage property in 1983 for its historic and architectural value or interest.

SFDCI Archway

SFDCI ArchwaySFDCI Archway


2 Gould Street
About the Property:

Built in 1911, for $60,000, Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute (SFCI) became a symbol of the growth and prestige of education in the early 20th century.  Built for 300 students, SFCI was modern for its time.  By 1924, enrolment had swelled to 418, of who over 300 came from the Town of Smiths Falls.  The three-storey brick building was also used in the evening for a night vocational school, thus cementing its role in the community.  By 1951, it was evident a larger secondary school was needed and construction took place just being the Collegiate.  SFCI’s top floor was removed and the building became Rideau Public School, to accommodate the increase in the elementary student population.

When the building was eventually demolished it was the Rotary Club that championed the preservation of the arch (originally the girl’s entrance) as the only remaining portion of this building that has served so well.  The arch is the only remaining part of the building (represents a 40-year era).

The Greek Revival architectural details of the new building, at the time, continued the civic style in the Town Hall, Central School and Public Library.  Physical arch attributes include an emphasis on straight lines, symmetry and proportion, classical moldings, semi-circulate arch openings and a lot-pitched gable roof.

What is a Property of Interest?

A property of interest is a property that is identified as a built heritage resource in the Smiths Falls Heritage Properties Inventory.  Maintaining a registry can have lots of benefits for the community including:

•   recognizing properties of cultural heritage value;
•  promoting knowledge and understanding of the community’s cultural heritage;
•  provides easily accessible   information about cultural heritage properties for property owner, developers, the tourism industry, educators and the general public,
•  provides interim protection from demolition

What does this mean for your property?

Being included on the Inventory does not mean you cannot make alterations and/or additions to your property.  In certain cases, major alterations like the creation of a new lot or a change in the land use may require the submission of a Heritage Impact Assessment prior to planning review.

It also means that your property is recognized as a culturally significant landmark in the community!  And it is intended to encourage you or a future owner to consider having your property properly conserved.  In some cases, heritage designations and appropriate restorations can increase property values.

Properties of Interests

78 Brockville Street 78 Brockville Street
About the Property:

The cultural heritage value of this property lies in the primary structure being a fine example of the Queen Anne Revival architectural style situated in a prominent location at the junction of two highways in Smiths Falls. Typical of the Queen Anne style, the house, known locally as the “Roclyn House” was built in 1895 and features an irregular outline, with broad gables, multi-sloped roofs, a belvedere, tower, recreated ornamental cast-iron railings on the roof, and a long, graceful veranda.

The building’s cultural heritage value also lies in its association with Ogle Carss, mayor of Smiths Falls from 1890 to 1891. His wife Isabella designed the house for him. Ogle Carss was the owner and captain of the steamer “Olive”, which traveled the Rideau Canal.

30 Chambers Street

30 Chambers Street30 Chambers Street

30 Chambers Street
About the Property:

The cultural heritage value of this property lies in the primary structure thought to be the oldest stone building in Smiths Falls, built during the late1820s to early 1830s. The unusual chimney is an integral part of the building, rather than something added on. This building has housed many businesses. It was originally the shop and residence of Alexander Williamson, a tailor from New Bond Street in London. It then became the Pig’s Ear tavern, with rooms for rent above. In the 1850s, the building became a shop selling stoves, and in the 1860s was used by Frost and Wood as a store where farmers exchanged produce for manufactured goods. In 1874 this building was connected to the Rideau Hall (later the Albion Hotel) next door on the corner of Market Street.

16 Maple Avenue North

16 Maple Avenue North16 Maple Avenue North

16 Maple Avenue North
About the Property:

The cultural heritage value of this property lies in the primary and secondary structures being a fine example of the Victorian cottage style. Built in the late nineteenth century, the house displays many elements of Victorian architecture, including double bay windows, high gables decorated with detailed wood trim, an upper exterior porch, and an elegant entrance. Between the upper and lower storeys the brickwork is decorated with a course of a moulded pattern of swirls. The house has a fireplace with a window above it, with the chimney being curved within the wall. The property also features an original two-storey carriage house.

Additionally, cultural heritage value lies in the association of the property with Bert Soper, who built the Rideau Theatre (later the Capitol) in 1912. He also represented Lanark as a Liberal Member of Parliament from 1940 to 1945.

Are you interested in having your property listed?

Call the Planning Department at the Town of Smiths Falls to see if you are eligible for listing! 613-283-4124 ext. 1116 or fill out the form here.