Based on the popularity of my “10 Things to do In Kenora” post, I’ve decided to make it a series! And my adopted hometown of Almonte Ontario is next on the shopping block. (Har dee har.) So here we go!

10 THINGS TO DO IN ALMONTE ONTARIO (By a proud Almonte resident of  nearly one year!)

1. The Almonte Riverwalk

View of Almonte from the Riverwalk

The Almonte Riverwalk is actually pretty spectacular. At the top of the hill is a bench they made from an old millstone (yes, its a mill town!) In the summer there is a little ice cream shop at the end of it, a reward for your trek. (Your 2 block trek!)  Best to start at the Old Town Hall, and head down along the river, as then you have gravity on your side. There’s a boardwalk and series of bridges that lead along the various sets of falls. The water is shallow and you can see little fish and fun condos from the back. Grab a root beer float from the ice cream shop (Waterfall Delights!), then continue down Mill Street and across Almonte Street and down to the boat launch, which has a pretty great view at sunset.

2.Mill Street Shops!

If you have time, turn it into a shopping expedition! There are loads of cute shops, but check out some of my favourites:

  • Find fun vintage clothes and housewares at Vintage Wear/Ware
  • Browse books and games at the Miller’s Tale
  • Stock up on gourmet condiments and chocolates at Foodies Fine Foods
  • Blackbird and Design by Destination have uber cute gifts, notably gorgeous housewares at the former and fantastic import scarves at the latter!
  • Then run one of my favourite errands: Buy a birthday card from Robin’s Paper Thin, head over to the Groundz Cafe (Now the Palms Cafe) for a coffee and panini, and write your birthday wishes from Almonte! The post office is just across the street. Buy a fancy stamp – those always make people’s days.
  • Summer 0f 2010 Update – We now have a Creperie! Check out the Mill Street Crepe Company in Heritage Court at the bottom of Mill Street. Yummm….

3. Festivals!

North Lanark Highland Games - Almonte Fairgrounds 2009

North Lanark Highland Games - Almonte Fairgrounds 2009

Almonte takes it’s festivals pretty seriously. Really – there’s one about every two weeks. So chances are, if you’re by in peak season, there will be a festival to check out! The ones I can think of:

Surely I am missing some… They are nonstop! But this should give you a good start! Check the Calendar at missisippimills.ca before you come. Also there are ongoing events like:

And so on and so forth. The days are just packed! Check it out!

4. Take a bike ride!

Bicycle Month Sign

Bicycle Month Sign

Almonte people like to bike. Take a scenic (or challenging!) ride around the country roads – here is a handy map of some different routes that they put together during Mississippi Mills  Bicycle Month! You can check out bridges, an alvar area, a handful of cemeteries. I recommend working an iced coffee  from Equator Coffee Roasters into your route! Its on Houston drive, down the street from the Independent Grocer’s.

5. Cross country skiing at Mill of Kintail (Or hiking in summer!)

There is a network of great trails all around a beautiful creek and this old building, which was once the studio of Dr. R. Tait McKenzie, and is now a museum with his works. Its a beautiful piece of land – people get married there! There’s nowhere in Almonte (that I know of?) to rent skis, but you can rent them from Bushtukah or MEC. Then, maybe a hot chocolate at the Groundz Cafe?

6. Take a pottery class at Almonte Pottery Guild! I haven’t actually done this yet, but once I finish upholstery at My Upholstery Shop, I will! Almonte has a great community of artisans (check some of them out during the fall Crown and Pumpkin studio tour!) and there are loads of classes. This one I am excited about, because I find pottery to be pretty much like therapy – its so relaxing. You could also try jewelry classes from Kehla Design or fine woodworking at the Rosewood Studio.

7. Saturday Morning – Breakfast and a Farmer’s Market

If you can make it out early enough, the third Saturday of every month, the Almonte Legion hosts an egg and bacon breakfast for $5. It is pretty much the best deal around! You get eggs, bacon AND sausage, pancakes, homefries, and coffee and juice! They put a sign out front on the Friday before, or I guess you could call them to make sure that its running. : )  It runs from 8-11AM usually. More importantly, every Saturday morning during the summer in the library parking lot, there is a small but spectacular Almonte Farmer’s Market! Check it out for delicious baked goods, local produce, meat and eggs, and bedding plants and cut flowers. It is my new favourite farmer’s market.

8. Lunch at the Barley Mow Pub during High Water

This is one of my favourite places to bring visitors, just because it has a great view and a very relaxed atmosphere. The serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and it is pretty good! Also there is loads of patio space in the summer, so lots of room to while away a summer evening with a pint. More importantly, if you come in the spring, the water rushes past the windows in the hall where you walk to the back room, and it makes you feel like you’re in a boat heading upstream. Its a very cool location! And last time I was there the waitresses were super nice.

9. Visit a SugarBush! And Pakenham!

There are several sugar bushes around Almonte (did you know Lanark County is the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario? It IS!) but the closest one is Fulton’s Pancake House. Its actually closer to Pakenham, but hey, we’re amalgamated now! They are open all year, and have pancake breakfasts throughout the winter. The day we went, there was live music, which was fun to eat pancakes to. There’s a gift shop, a maple taffy stand and sleigh rides. All the maple goodness!

While you are in Pakenham, stroll over the 5 span bridge (one of Lanark’s Seven Wonders!) and go to the General Store. I have also heard great things about the Copper Kettle, which is a little restaurant run by a Hungarian (I think) couple. Call ahead, but it sounds pretty amazing. The same friends also run Riverbend Campground in Pakenham if you want a scenic place to pitch your tent (or RV?). Play a round of horseshoes on the banks of the Mississippi!

10. Play in Blakeney falls

Probably you won’t want to play in the falls when it looks like this, but in the summer, its very fun to hop along the rocks and try not to soak yourself. There is a short trail and some bridges, as well as a grassy picnic area. To get to the falls from Almonte, you take Martin Street West to Blakeney Road (South).

Well that should give you a start on getting to know my little town! I hope you like it as much as I do.

This post is dedicated to all of my friends who travel across Canada and want to get a taste of my hometown. This is a completely biased list of things to do in Kenora! This is what I would do, if I were there with you. In no particular order!


  1. Buy some chips from Ye Olde Chip Truck (either one!) and eat them on the town docks. Watch out for seagulls. And no ketchup!! Only loads and loads of vinegar. All the vinegar you can drink…
  2. Rushing River Provincial Park

    Rushing River Provincial Park

    Go to Rushing River Provincial Park (1/2 an hour southeast of KTown) and play in the falls. There’s a little gully near the bottom that acts like a whirlpool when the water level is right! When its wrong, you go tumbling over the edge and get all scratched up. Fun stuff! Bring some BBQ and use one of the grills and have some lunch, or you can even camp here! Also, about three minutes down the road there is a pretty sweet (read: ghetto-licious) miniature golf course. Check it out!

  3. MS Kenora

    MS Kenora

    Take a spin on the MS Kenora! I recommend a dinner cruise which gives you a nice sunset view of everything. Tour the stars homes, see an eagle’s nest and possibly an eagle (we are pretty sure its stuffed) The food is kind of overpriced and somewhat hit and miss, so if you are on a budget, skip the dinner and head straight to Hap’s when you get off the boat! (See #4) You will get the best seat on the patio because you will be there earliest. Very important.

  4. Haps Patio is a must-do Kenora experience. It doesn’t have much of a view, but the locals can be pretty entertaining. Get a seat and grab a Little Amik (A frosty mug of beer with a shot of gin and some bar lime) and some chicken fingers (with the best dill sauce ever!) Make sure you aren’t driving home. Mom’s house is within walking distance! Watch out for bears.
  5. So now you need some morning after breakfast… there are a few choices, but the old standby is the restaurant across from the Tim Horton’s on Hwy 17 W. I think its called Pattie’s now. Get the perogies on the side! While you’re in the neighbourhood, you can take Mikana way to Anicinabe Park and go for a quick swim! There’s also a nice golf course nearby, if you are into that.
  6. Go shopping! Yes there is some good shopping in KTown. You will be surprised! I like Indira on Second Street for clothes, and kericFunk a little farther down has nice jewelry and bags. Go to Abundance and get some Lake of  the Woods Sunrise Soap! It is the greatest. The Blue Heron is also cool. Lots of souveniers, if you are collecting. And while you’re downtown:

  7. Tour the Lake of the Woods Museum! It has lots of info about the history of Kenora, the aboriginals, the lake, the mining and fishing industries and its cheap. Its little, but there’s a lot to read, and partway through the summer they have an amazing quilting exhibition. Its cooler than it sounds!! Its also a nice thing to do if its raining. Just behind the museum is the Wharf Marina, where you can get an ice cream and sit on the dock! Yes, we do a lot of sitting on docks. You can also see the Grace Anne II, if she is in.
  8. Now to spread out a bit – go to Keewatin! OK, Norman. There is a nice trail, the trailhead is just on the side of the road (Hwy 17 between the Super 8 and the Bridge before the Husky). You can see the dam and lots of water rocks and trees! Its about a 1 hour hike, depending how fast you are and which sections you do. This is a map of what it will be like in the future – the trail part is right! Maybe you can find a better map in town, or just ask someone.

  9. Still haven’t had enough nature? Rent a Kayak! You can paddle around the lake and see the sights from up close, or take Laurenson’s Creek – watch out for the jail at the end! Rent kayaks at The Hardwear Company on Main Street. You can paddle to Coney beach and go for a swim. Its also a good place for some frisbee golf! Or, if you are tired from all the awesomeness, take a boat taxi from the Wharf Marina.
  10. You’ve worked hard. Time for dinner!
    Husky the Muskie, Kenora Ontario

    Husky the Muskie, Kenora Ontario

    Wait, one more thing. You have to walk over to the Huskie the Muskie and take your picture under it. Something to show the grandchildren. NOW! Go to the Plaza for dinner. It is my favourite restaurant on this earth. Try the Kalamari Appy, the Chicken Souvlaki and DEFINITELY the Avgolemono Soup.

And that is basically everything I try to cram into a Kenora visit. That and a giant family to visit. I see now that its a lot of eating. What can I say, they have good food in Kenora! Good luck, and send pictures!