Special Features

Snow daze — will we or won’t we get more

OPINION BY SALLY SMITH Everyone’s talking about the ‘no snow’ winter. It might still be coming. But it’s already the beginning of March  and snow is melting…not drifting from the […]

Women in policing celebrate International Women’s Day

On the front lines with some of Lanark County OPP’s female officers LAURIE WEIR As we recognize International Women’s Day on March 8, this year’s theme focuses on inclusion.  Imagine […]

The Travelling Sommelier: Non-alcoholic beers

Non-alcoholic beers have come a long way since I last wrote about them in 2017. Non-alcoholic beer (or NA beer, as it’s sometimes called) starts life as a normal beer. […]

The Travelling Sommelier: Bridge Masters Brewing Company

COLUMN BY BRIAN PRESTON.The Travelling Sommelier, Portland, ON at 613-272-3129, brianpreston@hotmail.com This fall I discovered Bridge Masters Brewery in Perth at 29 Beckwith Street East after visiting the Perth Royal Canadian Legion […]

The Travelling Sommelier: KIN Vineyard

Brian Hamilton is a graduate of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, and was previously a winemaker at Malivoire, Southbrook Vineyard and Tawse Winery, all in Niagara Peninsula, and […]

What if it’s NOT the most wonderful time of the year?

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! This time of year has many joyous, merry times, gatherings, and events. No matter where you go, in every store, on television, radio, social media, or […]

The Travelling Sommelier: The beers and wines of Collingwood

Consider this Part 2, as last month I wrote about Side Launch Brewery, one of what I consider to be the two top breweries in the Collingwood area. This month […]

Beer, Wine & Spirits: Side Launch Brewing Co.

I’m just back from a week’s vacation in Collingwood on Georgian Bay, where I went to about 4 different local craft breweries and wineries, tasting my way through their portfolios. […]

Small papers make a big difference

We haven’t left. We’re still here. Others have gone…but Hometown News is still on the streets. For a week or two we thought there wouldn’t be any papers in Smiths […]

Beer Wine & Spirits: Fine Balance Brewing Company

I happened to be at my son’s place in Kingston next to Base Kingston recently. Right around the corner off Hwy 15 at Innovation Drive is this lovely modern brewery, […]

Let’s Eat: Yukihana Sushi

With Sushi, quality matters and Yukihana delivers! Ever since Yukihana Sushi opened on Russell Street in Smiths Falls last month by the Chung family, the crowds and rave reviews haven’t […]

Beer Wine & Spirits: Arbru Solar Brewery

Canada’s first 100% solar-powered brewery opened in 2022 in Front of Escott, a small community near Mallorytown located between Kingston and Brockville in Eastern Ontario. The brewer, Phil Audet, and […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: The Prime Minister, a crystal ball and the Keyhole House

Did the Right Honorable William Lyon Mackenzie King, the tenth prime minister of Canada, visit the Keyhole House? We are not sure. However, we know that he had his fortune […]

Beer, Wine & Spirits: River House Vineyard and Winery

Monday was a sunny day and perfect for a country drive with the top down, meandering north to Maberly into the beginnings of the Canadian Shield where rocks, forest and […]

Let’s Eat: The Little German Bakery in Carleton Place

Great baked taste finds a home Carleton Place and area residents are about to learn what hundreds of Brockville and Kingston foodies have known for several years: there’s nothing like […]

Smiths Falls History & Mytery: Mysteries of the Keyhole House

If you like spine tingling tales and spectacular magic, you are going to love this. My wife, Marion, and I are now sharing our adventures unlocking secrets and living amongst […]

Beer, Wine & Spirits: Beers of Southern France and Spain

This month I will take you on a beer tasting tour of Provence and the Riviera in Southern France and the Costa del Sol in Spain ending in Barcelona. We […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: The vanishing swimming pool

Evening strolls through Victoria Park often lead to a large stone adorned with a bronze marker laid in 1923. The marker reads “This swimming pool erected by the corporation and […]

Beer, Wine & Spirits: 4 Degrees Brewery

We had a chance recently to sit down with Nick Ritchie of 4 Degrees brewery, at opening when the place wasn’t yet rockin’, to do a tasting and talk about […]

Beer, Wine & Spirits: The world of rum – the underrated spirit

This month I am going to focus on one of the spirits that I think many don’t appreciate as much as they should in Canada, which has always been a […]

Am I the Only One: The teenager

The adolescent stage is between 13-19 years of age. They are filled with untapped potential, but the teenage years are often not seen as positive. It’s the stage of life […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: Call the doctor

Agnes woke up in pitch black darkness—she was shivering uncontrollably and drenched in sweat. By morning she was coughing to the point of choking. The 60-year-old could no longer ignore […]

Garden Matters: The frugal gardener

With grocery prices soaring, we gardeners look for ways to feed our families with good nutritious food for less money. Vegetable gardening is a great solution. If you have a […]

Am I the Only One: Crisis of confidence

When Jimmy Carter addressed the US in 1979, he talked about a growing doubt about the meaning of our lives and the loss of a unity of purpose for the […]

Let’s Eat: Foundry Coffee Bar, a place to connect

In today’s busy and fast-paced world, it’s unusual to find a business (especially in food service) that has a primary goal of getting their customers to take their time and […]

Beer, Wine & Spirits: St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish

What can we look forward to in March this year? Well, let’s see, there is International Women’s Day on 8 March; setting the clocks forward for Daylight Savings time on […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: Sparkling water at Smiths Falls

Several years ago, I unearthed a strange object in our backyard. It was a disc of pale green glass with the markings “F & G.”  My efforts to research this […]

Beer, Wine & Spirits: Wines for Valentine’s Day

When you picture a romantic dinner date, what comes to mind… a candlelit dinner, roses, chocolate, slow music, some red wine? Red wine is often associated with Valentine’s Day, so […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: A career criminal’s daughter

In 1884, at the age of twenty-two, Alice Maude Butler (1866-1935) found herself in a United States courtroom with her fifty-four-year-old mother, Hannah Cordelia (Friar) Butler. The courageous mother-daughter duo […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: A tale of two Brodies

In 1873 McGill University granted its first Engineering degrees which at the time were known as Applied Science. Robert James Brodie (1851-1938) was one of only six scholars to be […]

Beer Wine & Spirits: Westport Brewing Company

Westport Brewing Company opened in 2018 and I wrote an article back then showcasing the new brewery and the new brews that they were making as well as getting a […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: Father and Son served in WWI

When Reginald Burroughs moved into the Keyhole House, he left his mark by signing his name, his son Nelson’s name, and the year “1907” into the wet concrete of a […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: Lying in wait for a new tomb

Agnes Lamb was a wealthy woman when she died of tuberculosis in 1903 at the Keyhole House. The 60-year-old spinster left executors of her estate with some very clear instructions. […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: Farmer grocer solider reeve

Ambrose Halladay moved into the Keyhole House in Smiths Falls with his wife and three children in 1945. His son, Ace, remembers eating a freshly baked bun while sitting on […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: Death of a carpenter

John Perrin was a member of the team of carpenters who built the Keyhole House in Smiths Falls in 1892. During its construction, he left his signature on the back […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: The man behind the mantel

On April 12, 1882, John Bourchier Briggs (1882-1938) was born into an affluent and influential family in St. Pancras, London. His father, William Edward Briggs (1847-1903) was a Liberal politician […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: Anna Gould

Heiress to a fortune In 1861, fourteen-year-old Anna Marie Gould (1847-1895) became heiress to William Simpson, the largest landowner in Smiths Falls. At the age of seventeen, she inherited a […]

Beer, Wine and Spirits: Orange wine

This is the latest craze in the wine world. I will concentrate on just a few Orange wines from Ontario, B.C., France and Spain. We just returned from a long […]

Let’s Eat: The Galley

No matter how you get there, it’s worth the trip! We are undoubtedly blessed with a proliferation of quaint picturesque small towns and villages and especially fortunate to have the […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: Benjamin Byram

Building the future The year was 1883, and Benjamin Glover Byram (1862-1943) left his fiancée, Louisa Marion Dean (1861-1936) in England with a promise. He told her that he would establish […]

Smiths Fall History & Mystery: The adventures of Jason Gould

In 1829, Jason Gould (1802-1864) made the journey from Roxbury, New York to the raw, undeveloped wilderness of Smiths Falls, Ontario. He had been hired to work on the Rideau […]

Provincial election candidates for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston

Conservative | Green | Liberal | NDP Yes it’s election time again. On Thursday, June 2 Ontarians will go to the polls to choose their next MPPs. Hometown News has […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: Hidden killer behind a secret door

When we moved into the Keyhole House, we noticed an odd-looking panel nailed to the wall in the second-floor hallway. A few weeks later, we pried off the mysterious board […]

Am I the Only One: Corporate greed

Companies are doing a great job rebranding corporate greed as inflation. Take Starbucks for example, which says they are forced to raise prices due to inflation and supply chain issues and […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery | Ward & Simpson: Canal crimes

In 1825, 400 acres of Smiths Falls land was auctioned off for £105 by a sheriff. Major Thomas Smyth defaulted on his mortgage, and Charles Jones took advantage of a […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: Unlocking secrets to your old house

Old houses are keepers of secrets and witnesses to history. They have many stories to tell if you are willing to listen. We bought an old house with a view […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: The spy who lost Smiths Falls

The birth of Smiths Falls begins with a tale of intrigue and espionage. During the American Revolution (1775-1783), the Smyth family were involved in covert spying missions. Working on behalf […]

Let’s Eat: Maverick’s Donuts Company Carleton Place

Elevating a simple pleasure to new heights If you ever wonder if we obsess on donuts, consider that Canadians consume more of them per capita than any other country in […]

Am I the Only One: Homelessness

The US reached a stark milestone this month of 100,000 people dying of drug overdoses in one year. That is 275 overdose deaths every day.  In Canada, 20 people die […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: G.T. Martin

Architect extraordinaire When we moved into the Keyhole House in Smiths Falls, we decided that the 1960s chandelier with space-age globes hanging in the front hall had run its course. […]

One-Hundred-Year-Old Golf Ball Links to Poonahmalee Golf Club

Finding a one-hundred-year-old golf ball hidden in the Keyhole House has led to the discovery of some fascinating golf history. During the dining room restoration, an ancient, brittle piece of […]

Let’s Eat: Gather

Where friends and great food meet In June, Perth’s beautiful heritage downtown welcomed an exciting new food neighbour, Gather, located at 40 Gore Street East. Owned and operated by the […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: Message in a door frame

When we visited the Keyhole House for the first time in 2018, entering through the Moorish arch was almost like crossing a threshold into another world. We touched the ornate […]

Am I the only one: Division politics

With genuine curiosity I had to google why the Bloc Quebecois leader, Yves-Francois Blanchet was at the federal debate on September 10.  He has no intention or desire to be […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: The man behind the red brick

In 1887, The Toronto Mail newspaper raved about the town of Smiths Falls. They wrote that “there were over one hundred buildings erected in Smiths Falls last year” and stated […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: Outerbridge Station Theatre Magic

The Smiths Falls Canadian Pacific Railway Station was constructed in 1887. The structure was built on what was once swampland belonging to John McGill Chambers. The town was experiencing a […]

Am I the Only One: Progressivism

Progressivism claims to be a movement that aims to represent the interests of ordinary people. I’m not so sure about that. We are living in an era with more fences […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: Seize the day

In 1886, the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway yards in Smiths Falls, Ontario created some incredible business opportunities. Matthew Ryan was a local carpenter who took advantage of the […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: The Lost Cemetery

For twenty years, Agnes Lamb lived in what was considered to be the finest mansion between Montreal and Toronto. Alexander Wood’s “Glenwood” Mansion was built on Chambers Street in Smiths […]

Smiths Falls History & Mystery: The Opera House

I have made my living as a magician since I was 19, and the art of magic has been part of my life ever since. Over the last 22 years, […]

Hometown News welcomes student reporter Catherine Poag

I am currently in my third year of a four-year undergrad degree at Saint Francis Xavier University. I am pursuing my literary passions through editing the school newspaper and writing […]

Introducing Hometown News’ newest columnist: Illusionist and Hometown Historian Ted Outerbridge

Smiths Falls is where the magic happens. Not just metaphorically, but also literally; world-famous illusionists Ted and Marion Outerbridge have made this their home. The performers, who have delighted audiences […]

Am I the Only One: Discrimination

How is a person with disabilities, mental health issues and addictions supposed to improve their lot in life when the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) benefits get clawed back whenever […]

Perth Inside Out: Perth’s airport dreams shattered after years of bickering

When the president of Eastern Ontario Development Association, J.A. (Joe) Perkins, addressed a large crowd at the grand opening of Perth Municipal Airport on August 30, 1956, he could not […]

Am I the Only One: Personal political manifesto

I think it is a fabulous idea to write your own personal political manifesto.  Am I the only one that gets annoyed when leaders speak ”on behalf of all Canadians […]

Perth Inside Out: A tale of a high-speed chase and daring escape from custody

A set of weaving headlights could be seen coming from the east on Highway 7, followed by a string of red flashing lights. The stolen vehicle had a drug-crazed and […]

Perth Inside Out: It was like “Dukes of Hazzard” moonshine-runners in Perth

During the middle years of the twentieth century, high-speed chases in Perth and surrounding townships were not uncommon. Some of those chase stories became legends, often discussed among police officers, […]

Am I the Only One: The Economy of Mothers

I do not like the narrative that a working mom is essential to the economy.  The Throne Speech promises a national childcare system with high standards that is accessible and […]

Am I the Only One: Labels are for clothing not people

We are too complicated for simple labels. I think we should just stop trying to put people in categories and subcategories before we get so divided, we forget which way […]

Perth Inside Out: Lessons learned from the Spanish Flu – or not

When this column appeared in November, 2018, the subject was the deadly pandemic which began in 1918, commonly known as the Spanish Flu. My closing remark was: “Stay healthy, my […]

Perth Inside Out: VE-Day celebrated in Perth after surrender of Germany

On May 8, known as VE-Day (Victory in Europe), we again remembered the fallen, the wounded, and all those who fought in World War II. The negotiations leading up to […]

Am I the Only One: Civil Society

I work in a little store and people come in and want to talk about the president. Donald Trump does not care about political correctness and uses Twitter as his playground. […]

Perth Inside Out: Perth Girls’ Softball Club prevailed in the 1960s

An era which was best known for the counterculture and Vietnam war, also saw the birth of organized women’s softball in Canada in the 1960s, and Perth was in step […]

We are “Community Strong”

I believe as we go through this pandemic, self-care is very important. One thing I do is go for a walk. Even before the pandemic, walking every day has been […]

Am I the Only One: Ready… Set… NO!

The green rush is on while Ontario is busy reinventing the wheel. Alberta has 400 Cannabis stores while Ontario loses $42 million setting up a website and making stickers. A short […]

Perth Inside Out: Military presence in Perth at an all-time low

From its beginnings as a British-influenced military town in 1816, Perth citizens continued to march through two World Wars with the 42nd Field Artillery Regiment and its various incarnations. Many […]

Am I the Only One: The impossible standard of beauty

Am I the only one that thinks there is an implicit connection between the blown-up beauty industry valued at $530 Billion and the increase in anxiety and antidepressant use in […]

Pretty Town of Perth not without violent crime

Perth, like most other small communities, has two faces it would seem. One face is the “Prettiest Town in Ontario”, with heritage building galore, and beautiful parks. The other – […]

Perth Inside Out: “Perth Remembered” book was Centennial project

The book titled “Perth Remembered”, a 1967 Centennial project, was not seen as a history of Perth, but rather a series of anecdotes and snippets of news past accompanied by […]

Am I the Only One: Polite Canadians

On a vacation the first question people ask you is where you’re from. We proudly boast Canada because we know confidently that Canadians are known for being polite. This is […]

Thoughts on the Year Ahead…

Happy New Year, Dear Readers!Just like every year, this year at Hometown News has started by taking stock of 2019, considering what has added value and what has detracted from […]