Westport, Ontario: Feel the Beat of ‘The Heart of Rideau Lakes’
Friday Jul 09th, 2021
Located at the west end of Upper Rideau Lake, Westport is known as “The Heart of Rideau Lakes.” The pulse is found in independent shops, sandy beaches, sunsets, boating, and free outdoor MUSICwestport festival (held annually in August). Oh, and it’s only 40 minutes north of Kingston, 20 minutes south of Perth, and 100 km from Ottawa (the closest international airport)!
The village’s historic Main Street will satisfy the whims of every window shopper with art studios, cottage furnishings, a thrift store, flowers, water sports rentals, and cool tees for you (and your dog)!
With a population of 700, which swells with summer tourists and cottagers, this bijou lakeside spot offers a big dose of nature, golf, and some of the best Portuguese custard tarts around. Westport also has a public wharf on a man-made island with dock space for up to 30 vessels. Whether you like to watch boats or birds, be prepared to be wowed.
Did you know?
Foley Mountain Conservation Area overlooks the iconic Upper Rideau waterway and the Village of Westport. Ten kilometres of trail loop through the woods offering meditation, potential muskrat and beaver sightings, and vantage points like Spy Rock. The 387 km Rideau Trail that links Ottawa and Kingston splits through the conservation area. There’s also a Forest School for parents seeking alternative education options for their kiddos.
See the doors of the hearse that carried Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald and other quirky artifacts at the Rideau District Museum. Located inside a former blacksmith and carriage shop, it’s an informative meander through Westport’s industrious history.
The Country Cove Inn is the original home of one of Westport’s earliest merchants and lumbermen, W.H. Fredenburgh. Built around 1876, it became the Lexana Hotel in the 1930s (a play on the owners’ names, Alex and Lena Brown).
Where to live
Westport is a juxtaposition of landscapes: expansive lakes, rolling farmland to the south, and Foley Mountain to the north. Elementary students will be able to walk to school (there’s a public and Catholic school) while Rideau District High is 20 km away in Elgin.
For those who choose to live around Mulvilles Bay and Westport pond, it’s a pedestrian-friendly life with a strong community vibe. An all-volunteer, non-profit organization called Westport in Bloom keeps the village colourful with flowers in memorial planters, hanging baskets, and gardens. Welcome to Westport banners feature designs by local school children–they’ve even painted the garbage cans! In addition to erecting purple mountain houses, the group sells trees and flowering shrubs “in an effort to maintain and expand our traditional tree canopy.”
According to the Rideau-St. Lawrence Real Estate Board (RSLEB), MLS® sales totaled 121 units in March 2021 which was an enormous leap of 42.4% compared to the previous year. “Residential sales haven’t hit this level in the month of March since the all-time record set in 2006,” RSLEB states.
In March 2021, the average price of homes was a record $476,484—a 53.9% upward spike from March 2020. The “more comprehensive year-to-date average price was $439,078, a substantial increase of 50.5% from the first three months of 2020” according to RSLEB.
Things to do
Rock on at the Rox Rock Shop! Discover unique formations such as the black star flares found in crystalline tourmaline. Geotourists will fawn over the selection of minerals and fossils from Ontario and southwest United States. It’s a gem!
As part of the Rideau Lakes system, Westport is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Westport Pond, Westport Sand Lake, and Upper Rideau Lake (one of the larger lakes in the system), offer opportunities for dog-paddling and picnics on Goat Island, or smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing. Boats, sea-doos, and kayaks can be rented from local outfitters. Or, grab a book at the Village Green and find some sand real estate on Sand Lake (also known as Lions Beach).
At Scheuermann Winery and Vineyard, experience the “Wood Grill” parking lot nights. Bring your own picnic supplies, steak knife, wine glass, and lawn chair to enjoy a dinner with all the fixings. Yes, we’re talking sirloin and scallops with a little pinot noir!
Westport is a destination that appeals to all ages, with experiences for history junkies, anglers, foodies, hikers, and ice cream-licking window shoppers. Year round, the tiny shops and big lakes entertain families, solo travelers, and couples looking for an indulgent time steeped in nature. You’ll be back, that’s guaranteed.
If you’re eager for lakeside life in a small and vibrant community, have you been to Sharbot Lake in Frontenac County? Maybe you want the best of both worlds? In the Niagara region, Grimsby puts you smack dab between wine country, Lake Ontario, and bigger cities such as Hamilton and St. Catharines. In Lion’s Head, you’ll find a small year-round population, studio tours, the Bruce Trail and secret beaches on Lake Huron. Visit REALTOR.ca or contact a local REALTOR® to stay informed about current listings and to get the most out of your journey to buying or selling a home.