The Town of Perth, Ontario’s appreciation of her past

My heart goes out to the people of Goderich who learned this week how quickly our architectural heritage can be severely damaged or wiped out completely.

Having recently returned from a summer visit to my ancestral home (in Canada, at least, say friends) I am renewed in my delight of how seriously the Town of Perth and her proud people take the idea of preserving the past. Whether it is her dubious distinction as the site of Canada’s last fatal duel (and accompanying folklore), the storied Tay Canal, or her prominent stone architecture (both commercial and residential), Perth is continuing to entrust future generations with a town of sheer beauty.

This next photo shows what happens when a landlord starts to renovate an ice locker-turned-apartment building.  A smaller, original stone building with an amazing round window has emerged.  Town historians are scrambling, I am sure, to find out what went on here.  It might well have gone back to the town’s founding, as a military settlement after the War of 1812, when military stores were located in the next building down the hill.  I look forward to seeing what else might be revealed when I next visit at Thanksgiving.

The Perth campus of Algonquin College is renowned for a program in trades geared to architectural preservation and authentic restoration.  Below the stone walls at the Matheson House on Gore Street, Perth’s Museum now for many years, are being re-pointed by a crew.

When an Algonquin-trained crew set to work on this place below from the inside out, one of them – a family friend – told me how interesting it was to work with original logs, unfinished to the point where he called them trees,  in the building’s structure.

Perth is considering a proposal to designate a Heritage Conservation Area. They should meet no opposition. Meanwhile, just this month, it has launched a Facade and Signage Improvement Program – again something which should be encouraged. These things matter! More can be read at