Horse-drawn wagon tours
Visitors to Trainfest will get a chance for a sneak peek of a new walking tour the museum will be introducing in the Fall. Besides being the first to see what it is all about, you also get to ride around town with a horse and wagon.
After you have seen everything at the museum, hop on our horse-drawn wagon for a free guided tour of our town’s rich industrial past. Three tours will be offered at 11 am, 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm. Sunday only.
Our Industrial Landscape: How the Railway Shaped our Town
The story of Smiths Falls is the story of our industries: the mills and factories, the businesses they supported, the people they employed, the families they raised. Our industrial heritage is what makes us unique. It is our identity.“The early settlers of this area were mostly farmers and a few mill owners. They used the Rideau River (and eventually Canal) as a major transportation route. It was less than ideal since it could not be used for several months out of the year. The Simpson, Ward, Gould, Ketchum, Shaw and Beckwith Families all had grist, carding, saw mills and/or tanneries constructed along the river. Once the canal was completed in 1832, they found themselves dealing with the bureaucracy of using government land. They had difficulty building wharves and there were endless disputes about water rights. When the railway arrived what was largely and agricultural and mill town began to industrialize. Frost & Wood and Cossit Bros., manufacturers of agricultural implements quickly replaced gristmills and saw mills – a shift from the canal to the railway was taking place. They required modern transportation and the railway was able to reach national and international markets.”