This sleepy township of Westport on the western bank of Upper Rideau Lake attracts visitors looking for a quiet escape from nearby Ottawa and farther afield. Westport is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon with your fishing rod in hand, to explore the surrounding woods or to shop at the specialty stores that line the town’s main street. Swim from the sandy shore of the lake in summer or enjoy a home-cooked meal in a cozy restaurant in winter. With nearly two centuries of history, Westport offers plenty to discover.
The earliest European settlers arrived in the area in the first two decades of the 19th century, when the settlement was known as Head of the Lake. Its strategic position helped the town grow and it was officially incorporated in 1904. Westport operated as a trade center, with goods being delivered by rail and on barges on the Rideau Canal. While the train no longer runs to Westport, it was this line that brought the first tourism to the region.
Today the area’s natural beauty and sparse population attract people looking for a refuge from the nearby cities. Spend a day exploring the small town center to discover a selection of specialty stores selling local produce, hand-made items and souvenirs. Find a seat at a restaurant for some small-town hospitality. Sample fish caught from the lakes and canal.
Rent a boat or sign up for a fishing charter from the Westport wharf. The small wharf is a great place to meet locals returning from a day on the lake. Venture into the surrounding region to hike along the Rideau Trail. The 186-mile (300-kilometer) path goes through the Foley Mountain Conservation Area and offers stunning views across Westport.
Westport is located between Ottawa and Toronto and can be reached by bus from either city or by car via Canada’s network of highways. Find accommodation in the town center.