Almonte, Ontario: Best Things To Do On A Weekend Getaway

almonte ontario

Almonte, Ontario is a charming town filled with history, delicious food, interesting shops, and picturesque streets. It is so beautiful that it is the backdrop to many cheesy holidays and Christmas movies. We call them cheesy to sound cool, knowing we always watch a few when Christmas rolls around. 

The 19th-century mill town is surrounded by the Canadian Mississippi River (not to be confused with the Mississippi River in the United States) and is only 40 minutes from downtown Ottawa. This spot is a true gem and perfect for a weekend getaway or day trip if you’re nearby.

Exploring this quaint village town is a one-of-a-kind experience and will satisfy everyone’s travel needs.

Whether you are looking for a couple’s retreat, something for the whole family, or travelling solo, you can’t go wrong with Almonte. It’s the perfect weekend escape for locals and should be added to all the itineraries of travellers visiting Canada from afar. 

Check out our list of top things to do, including where to eat and our recommendations for Almonte accommodations. But be prepared; this town will steal your heart, and you may want to extend your trip by a few days.

If you do, add a stop in Ottawa to your itinerary.

Last Updated: June 6, 2024

This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.

The History of Almonte, Ontario

  • Most notable is James Naismith. For those who don’t know, he is the man who invented basketball in 1891. While most of us know that the sport was invented in Canada, we bet you didn’t know James was born in Almonte, Ontario. 
  • Almonte underwent several name changes, from Shepherd’s Falls to Shipman’s Mills, Ramsayville, Victoriaville and Waterford.
  • Almonte is named after a Mexican General, Juan Almonte, purely because he was in the news when the town had to choose a new name. By the way, it’s pronounced “AL-mont” instead of the Spanish “al-MON-day.”
  • The first European settler to Almont was David Shepherd, and after receiving a grant of land from the Crown in 1819, he began construction of a grist mill and sawmill. 
  • In the later part of the 19th century, the textile industry became a very lucrative business with a national market for fine woollen goods.
Google Doodle animation showing two kids playing basketball with a man watching and taking notes
Google Doodle – Celebrating Dr. James Naismith (Jan 15, 2021)

Where is Almonte, Ontario?

Where is Almonte, Ontario? Before we dive into what you will be doing in Almonte, let’s make sure you know how to get there. Located in the Ontario highlands in Mississippi Mills’ municipality, it’s a four-hour drive from Toronto, making it an ideal weekend getaway. You can also add Ottawa in as a day trip. 

Plane VS Car

With limited public transport options to Almonte, the best solution is to rent a car. You can take a road trip from Toronto or fly into Ottawa International Airport and rent a car from there (or get a taxi from the airport into town, but it could be pricey). It’ll be about a 45-minute drive to Almonte from here. Hertz Mobile

Having a car also allows you more freedom when exploring the town of Mississippi Mills. You’ll easily be able to get around the area, doing and seeing the things you want to.


The other option is to take a bus from Toronto to Carleton Place and then a taxi into Almonte town, about a 15-minute drive.

Things to See and Do in Almonte, Ontario

Almonte Ontario may be small, but it’s jam-packed with awesome activities and incredible scenery. Here are a few fun Almonte attractions that we recommend checking out.

Almonte Riverwalk on Mississippi River

This boardwalk along the Canadian Mississippi River is exquisite and shouldn’t be missed. Start outside Almonte Old Town Hall and mozy along on the riverwalk through the historic downtown area. You’ll pass the old mills renovated for commercial use and the cascading waterfalls of the river. The walk ends at Metcalfe Geoheritage Park, and the geology is worth checking out if you have some time.

winter view of a waterfall in Almonte, Ontario

Mill of Kintail

This 152-acre conservation area in Almonte is gorgeous. There are several hiking trails to explore this lush Mill of Kintail area. The scenic paths are open all year round and are always beautiful. So, grab those walking shoes and discover the wonder of Almonte beyond the beautiful streets.

Rent a Canoe or Kayak  

If you are an adventurous soul and up for trying something different, we recommend exploring the river routes on a canoe or kayak. You can rent kayaks and check out the routes alone or opt to go in a group. This is a fun activity but is only advised if you are confident in the water and have done something similar before.

Rocky river with trees on each bank in Almonte, Ontario
Image by Mark McGregor

Good Food Walking Tour

If you’re struggling with deciding where to eat in Almonte, Ontario, you’re in luck! It’s always a challenge with so many dining options to pick just one spot. Well, here is the solution. The Good Food walking tour will take you to all the best places, and you can try all the different types of cuisine in the village.

This is a great way to familiarize yourself with the town and discover new places you wouldn’t otherwise know about. You’ll also meet the locals behind the tasty food you are sampling. Learning about each restaurant’s back story adds a personal element to your stay and one you won’t forget during this experience.

Almonte Old Town Hall

The picturesque Almonte Old Town Hall, erected in 1885, is a sight that must be seen. Its idyllic location on the banks of the Mississippi River has featured the building in many films, most notably Christmas Scavenger Hunt. Whether you’re an ardent fan of Hallmark movies or not, visiting this quaint cinematic town may make you one.

Places to Visit in Almonte for Shopping

Small towns tend to have the quirkiest shops and cafes, which is no different from the Almonte shopping experience. From antiques and bookstores to clothing and décor, wander around Main Street, and you’ll find unique goodies and delicious treats in the Almonte shops.

Be sure to give yourself enough time to explore. You may be shocked at how many unique experiences and stores you find. Another great way to get around downtown is by bike. The town is cycling-friendly and has great cyclist infrastructure, so why not rent a bike and try it out?

Pêches et Poivre 

This gourmet grocer serves artisan goodies and fine food you won’t find anywhere else. You can choose from both sweet and savoury items as well as pick up some nifty kitchen utensils and accessories. 

One of the local brands, Shamrock Gardens, grows and use all of their own ingredients, creating the most delicious sauces, jams, and pickles. Be sure to stock up on whatever catches your eye, as finding these delicious treats anywhere else will be hard.

Almonte Antiques & Collectibles

There are loads of antique shops downtown, but this one on Mill Street’s bottom is filled with everything an antique lover could dream of. With lots of collectibles, including jewelry, dining ware, and records, you’re in for a treat.

Photo of a shelf, showcasing jars and bottles as sold in Almonte shops
Photo by Shayna Douglas

Cheerfully Made

This colourful and happy store will draw you in with its stunning wall displays, and the gorgeous handmade gifts and clothing will inspire you. This is a great place to buy something to remember your trip or a unique birthday or Christmas gift.

Mill Street Bookstore 

This is more than just a bookstore. Filled with wonder and charm, you’ll also be able to find out about any events happening in town during your stay. Be sure to grab some local postcards and head to the post office, sending your loved ones some of Almonte’s magic.

Farmers Market 

The Farmers Market takes place every Saturday morning and is a slice of local life in Almonte. The market is situated in front of the local library, and you’ll find fresh produce and other goods as you wander through. Be sure to get there early to grab all the freshest produce.

Restaurants in Almonte, Ontario

When exploring, you’ll need some coffee and food to refuel. Luckily this town is filled with beautiful cafes, coffee shops, and unique eatery options. It won’t be easy to choose between them, so I have put together some of the best spots and restaurants that are not to be missed.

Heirloom Café and Bistro

This café uses the finest local ingredients to whip up delicious international flavours. You will find it next to the river in an old heritage building that used to be one of the mills. You can’t go wrong with their delicious food and great views.

North Market Café and Catering 

Another example of incredible Almonte, Ontario restaurants, we recommend visiting the North Market Café and Catering. The space is bright and open, and the walls are adorned with beautiful artwork. This is a fantastic place to enjoy a coffee and light meal on Mill Street after a morning of exploring.

The local owners of the café expanded from a stall at the farmer’s market into a whole restaurant. They serve up delicious food using the freshest ingredients. 

Healthy Food Technologies 

How about a doughnut with 50 to 70 percent less fat than a regular doughnut but still just as tasty? This has been made possible with the owners of Healthy Food Technologies. They developed a machine that can create healthier doughnuts, and you can try one on your visit. 

While there, you can learn about this incredible machine and how it produces guilt-free doughnuts. 

Café Postino 

This Italian restaurant is located in the transformed space of the old post office. You’ll be treated to tasty recipes from the south of Italy. The restaurant is trendy, so be sure to book a table if you don’t want to miss out on one of their famous pasta dishes.

Unique Experiences in Almonte, Ontario

There are also some fun one-of-a-kind experiences in Almonte that are worth trying. These two experiences revolve around food, and you’ll learn all about the different processes of both while having a lot of fun and sampling the tasty goods as well.

Hummingbird Chocolate

This award-winning chocolate shop is a must-see, even if you pop in for a quick sample. You can smell the rich chocolate as you step foot in the shop. If you would like more than just a taste, you can do a chocolate tasting tour and learn all about the chocolate-making process on Saturdays.

Equator Coffee Roasters

If you are looking for the most delicious coffee in town? Then, head to Equator Coffee Roasters. They are all about perfecting the coffee-making process and keeping their beans as fresh as possible. Enjoy a coffee cupping (similar to a wine tasting, but with coffee) at their coffee experience lab.

Three hands holding coffee drinks in a cheers | things to do in Almonte, Ontario
Photo by Nathan Dumlao

Lanark Highland Games

One of the best-known Almonte festivals and events, the Lanark Highland Games, celebrates Scottish culture and tradition. During the festivities, you can enjoy Scottish dancers, pipe bands, and traditional Highland athletics like the hammer throw, sheaf toss, or stone throw. Plus, the Children’s Mini Highland Games extends the event to include kids aged 3 to 11. The 39th Annual North Lanark Highland Games will be held in Almonte on Saturday, August 24.

Light Up the Night Almonte

If you are travelling to Almonte in early December, we highly recommend checking out this fun, festive event. Light Up the Night Almonte is an open-air concert featuring fun holiday music and a breathtaking fireworks display. The event is one of the largest outdoor Christmas shows in the country. It’s also a perfect opportunity to do your Christmas shopping in the town’s unique shops.

Things to do in Almonte: Culture & History  

This old mill town is full of history, and with so many interesting museums and statues, it’s not hard to learn about this town and how it was formed. You don’t need to be a history enthusiast to be intrigued by these museums.

Mississippi Valley Textile Museum

As you know by now, this mill town was known for its textile production, and this museum will teach you everything you need to know about this industry. Located within a natural, historic site, Rosamund Woollen Company, the museum features exhibits showcasing the textile industry’s history. 

You can learn about how textiles were made and why this industry was so important for the town of Almonte.

Statue of James Naismith 

Almonte is famous for more than just textiles. As I mentioned before, James Naismith is the inventor of basketball, and he was born and raised on a farm just outside of Almonte. 

You can find his statue on the corner of Mill Street and Little Bridge Street. Here, you can read all about Naismith’s life and how he came to invent basketball – a stop well worth it. 

Sivarulrasa Gallery

This contemporary art gallery shows exhibits from local artists in the area as well as across Canada. It showcases a variety of media, including sculpture, photography, and painting works. This gallery is a fantastic contribution to the cultural art scene of Almonte.

Movies & Mill Street

If you’re a fan of cheesy Hallmark movies, you might recognize Mill Street – the picturesque small town with a European feel. As mentioned above, it’s charming and full of cozy cafes, bakeries, art galleries, and other local shops.

You can spot Mill Street in movies like Maps and Mistletoe, Christmas Festival of Ice, and Unlocking Christmas. Spend some time in Mill Street Books and find a great read or attend an author’s book reading. Or, take a trip to the hardware store, L.G. Lee & Sons, featured in Unlocking Christmas.

Where to Stay in Almonte, Ontario 

Now that you have an idea of the adventures that await you in the town of Almonte, you’ll need a comfortable place to rest your head. Since it is such a small village town, there aren’t many big Almonte, Ontario hotels to choose. That said, it adds to the town’s charm as you can choose from local inns and B&B’s.

If you are looking for hotels near Almonte, Ontario, it may be best to head to Carleton Place, a town just 15 minutes away. The Grand Hotel is a popular spot. 

picture of a bed, desk, and painted mural on the wall behind them

River Breeze Inn

River Breeze inn was originally a (circa 1920) farmhouse occupied by one of the well-known local farmers. Purchased in 1999 and fully upgraded to restore its natural beauty while adding valuable living space.

photo of a bed made with grey bedding and artwork on the walls

Carlton Place Airbnb

Carleton Place, Bridge Street (Downtown) is a one- or two-bedroom apartment flat, freshly renovated on the Mississippi River. It’s a bright, spacious, furnished apartment in a quiet, clean, non-smoking building.

photo of a bed with a white wrought-iron frame and grey bedding

Esther Airbnb

This modern, newly built one-bedroom, short-term rental apartment is situated on the quiet end of downtown Carleton Place, right next to the Mississippi River and the famous Carleton Place Town Hall.

Final Thoughts on Almonte, Ontario, Canada

Almonte may be small, but it has so much to offer. It’s hard not to fall in love with this place, from fascinating history and cute shops to great coffee and scenic walks. You are guaranteed to experience lots of new things here, including dairy-distilled spirits and low-fat doughnuts. 

You’ll leave this magical small town feeling enriched and inspired. If a destination can make you feel this way, what better reason than to put it at the top of that travel bucket list? With the town being the perfect road trip distance from Toronto, you don’t have an excuse.


Is Almonte part of Ottawa?

While the town is located in Lanark County, near Ottawa, it is not part of the country’s capital. However, it is considered a ward of the town of Missippi Mills for administrative and electoral purposes.

What Movies Were Filmed in Almonte, Ontario?

There have been many movies filmed in the town. Its adorable Hallmark-esque appearance makes it a go-to spot for romantic comedies and holiday films. Some movies that were shot in the town include:

  • Love on a Limb (2016)
  • The Rooftop Christmas Tree (2016)
  • Christmas Festival of Ice (2017)
  • Christmas Around the Corner (2018)
  • A Cheerful Christmas (2019)
  • Christmas Scavenger Hunt (2019)
  • Fatman (2020)
  • Unlocking Christmas (2020)
  • The Christmas Setup (2020)
  • A Christmas Stray (2021)
  • Under the Christmas Tree (2021)
  • A Chance for Christmas (2021)
  • Maps and Mistletoe (2021)
  • Designing Christmas (2022)
  • Lemonade Stand Romance (2022)
  • Feeling Butterflies (2022)

How Old is the Town of Almonte, Ontario?

This historic Ontario town was first established in 1818 by European settler David Shepherd. It went by several different names. The exact date of its name change to Almonte is unknown. It was listed as Almonte in the Canada Directory in 1857, but post-office records didn’t reflect the name change until 1859.

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