Monday, April 22, 2024
Home Road Trip A tiny village with outsize attractions, Newboro is worth a visit in any season – Ottawa Business Journal

A tiny village with outsize attractions, Newboro is worth a visit in any season – Ottawa Business Journal

by Staff

The tiny Rideau Lakes village of Newboro (population: 262) punches far above its weight when it comes to amusements for road trippers. Roughly 90 minutes southwest of Ottawa, it is home to an art school, a soap maker, a fishing gear shop, and a rambling country store that seems to have swallowed up half the community. 

First, the art school. Stone Manor Studios (11 New St.) is the brainchild of artist Kim Lulashnyk. In this light-filled space, once a Victorian carriage house, Lulashnyk and other artists give short workshops and multi-day classes in beading, painting, stained glass and other skills. Many classes include a lunch showcasing local ingredients.

Another Victorian building — this time, a lockmaster’s house dating to 1863 — is home to the Newboro Soap Company (49 Drummond St.). Owner Dani Warman says she has been making soap “forever,” but she finally opened a shop after retiring from her customer service job with WestJet in 2019. A passionate advocate for environmental sustainability, she also stocks eco-friendly products such as reusable fabric bowl covers and chemical-free deodorant made by other companies.

  • Dani Warman, owner of Newboro Soap Company on Drummond St.

  • Newboro Soap Company products.

    Newboro Soap Company products.

  • A lockmaster's housing dating to 1863 now houses Newboro Soap Company.

    A lockmaster’s housing dating to 1863 now houses Newboro Soap Company.

While tourists are important to keeping her tiny shop in business, Warman is keen to cultivate a core market of locals. She encourages them to check out the “refillery,” where shoppers can fill empty containers with biodegradable dish soap, laundry detergent, stain remover and other household cleaners made by Quebec-based Pure. 

“We’re all on septic out here. We’re all trying to have beautiful water on the Rideau Canal,” she points out. 

Just down the road from the Newboro Soap Company, you’ll find a wonderful, large shop called Kilborn’s on the Rideau (10 Drummond St.), which stocks everything from maple syrup and dishes, to hiking gear and armchairs. It seems to have expanded organically into a series of buildings, so that it now appears to comprise half the (admittedly tiny) retail strip. Honestly, you could easily get lost in there for at least half an hour. 

In summer, Newboro is a hopping place, with crowds of cottagers heading to Kilborn’s to buy sunscreen and ice cream and fishers popping into Norris Bait and Tackle (8877 County Road 42) to pick up rods, reels, lures and other outdoor gear. Rideau Canal Lock 36, on the south edge of the village, brings in lots of boaters as well. 

However, I like Newboro just as well in the spring and fall, when I can have the place largely to myself. That makes it easy to conjure up the mid-19th century as I meander past St. Mary’s Anglican Church and many lovingly restored homes. And there are fewer folks jostling for a table to enjoy sandwiches, pizza or charcuterie at the Stagecoach Inn (4 Drummond St.). 

If you’d like to stay overnight, Newboro accommodations include a vacation rental above the soap shop, bed-and-breakfast spots, and small lodges. The nearby village of Westport offers additional options.

Take Highway 7 west to Carleton Place, then Highway 15 south through Smiths Falls and Portland. Just south of Portland, turn west (right) onto County Road 42, which will take you into Newboro.

Award-winning Ottawa travel writer Laura Byrne Paquet shares her sightseeing tips for Eastern Ontario and beyond on her website, Ottawa Road Trips.

  • A taxidermy deer at Norris Bait and Tackled.

    A taxidermy deer at Norris Bait and Tackled.

  • Stone Manor Studio, a local art school, is the brainchild of artist Kim Lulashnyk.

    Stone Manor Studio, a local art school, is the brainchild of artist Kim Lulashnyk.

  • St. Mary’s Anglican Church.

    St. Mary’s Anglican Church.

Leave a Comment

Copyright ©️ All rights reserved. | Tourism Trends