Lanark County

Lanark County is a county located in the Canadian province of Ontario. Its county seat is Perth, which was first settled in 1816.[2] Most European settlements of the county began in 1816, when Drummond, Beckwith and Bathurst townships were named and initially surveyed.[3] The first farm north of the Rideau was cleared and settled somewhat earlier, in 1790.[4] The county took its name from the town of Lanark in Scotland. Nearly all the townships were named after British public and military figures from the era of early settlement.[4]

Lanark County
County of Lanark
The Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario
Location of Lanark County
Coordinates: 45°00′N 76°15′W
RegionEastern Ontario
County seatPerth
Towns & townships
  Land3,025.98 km2 (1,168.34 sq mi)
  Total59,918 (excluding Smiths Falls)
  Density19.8/km2 (51/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
  Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)


Lanark County is located on unceded Algonquin/Omàmìwininì traditional territory. Land claims are currently under negotiation.

Bathurst District

In 1824, Lanark County was severed from Carleton County in Bathurst District, and it consisted of the following townships and lands:

Lanark County (1824)
  • Bathurst
  • Drummond
  • Beckwith
  • Dalhousie
  • Lanark
  • Ramsay
  • Darling
  • Lavant
  • North Sherbrooke
  • South Sherbrooke

together with all the unsurveyed lands within the District of Bathurst, and such Islands in the Ottawa River as are wholly or in greater part opposite to the said townships and unsurveyed land[5]

When Carleton was withdrawn from the District in 1838, Renfrew County was severed from part of Lanark,[6] but the two remained united for electoral purposes.[7] By 1845, all lands in the District had been surveyed into the following townships:

Counties comprising Bathurst District (1845)
Lanark Renfrew
  • Bathurst
  • Beckwith
  • Drummond
  • Dalhousie
  • Darling
  • North Elmsley
  • North Burgess
  • Lavant
  • Lanark
  • Montague
  • Pakenham
  • Ramsay
  • North Sherbrooke
  • South Sherbrooke
  • Admaston
  • Blithefield
  • Bagot
  • Bromley
  • Horton
  • McNab
  • Pembroke
  • Ross
  • Stafford
  • Westmeath

United Counties of Lanark and Renfrew

Effective January 1, 1850, Bathurst District was abolished, and the "United Counties of Lanark and Renfrew" replaced it for municipal and judicial purposes.[8] The counties remained united for electoral purposes in the Parliament of the Province of Canada, referred to as the County of Lanark,[9] until Renfrew gained its own seat in 1853.[10]

The separation of Renfrew from Lanark began in 1861, with the creation of a Provisional Municipal Council[11] that held its first meeting in June 1861.[12] The United Counties were dissolved in August 1866.[12]


The sign for Lanark County on the former Ontario Highway 29

The county is located in the sub-region of Southern Ontario named Eastern Ontario. Geologically, the northern part of the county is in the Canadian Shield and the southern part is in the Great Lakes Basin. The county has two large rivers, the Mississippi and Rideau, each of which empty into the Ottawa River. The landscape is varied including Canadian Shield (with gneiss, granite and marble) as well as limestone plains, with a variety of tills, sands and clays left from the melting of glaciers in the last ice age.[13]

At the time of settlement, most of the county was covered in temperate deciduous forest; the dominant forest trees included maple, hemlock, oak and beech.[13] Some of the higher ridges in the west of the county were likely once natural fire barrens, with a distinctive fauna and flora.[14] The clearance of forests began with early settlement, at which time one of the important exports from the area was potash, made from the ashes of the trees burned in clearing.[15]

The natural diversity of the landscape supports over 1,200 species of plants in the county flora.[16] Seventeen areas have been documented as outstanding examples of plant diversity; these include Blueberry Mountain, Burnt Lands Alvar, Clay Bank Alvar, Christie Lake, Murphy's Point Provincial Park and Almonte Town Park.[17] The county also has 47 provincially significant wetlands. Some of the largest are Blueberry Marsh (north of Perth), the Innisville Wetlands (upstream of Mississippi Lake) and the Goodwood Marsh south of Carleton Place.[18] In addition to David White's list of 17 areas of plant diversity, Paul Keddy lists 17 special places in the county.[19] Both lists have the Burnt Lands Alvar, the Christie Lake Barrens and Murphy's Point Provincial Park. Keddy's list adds areas such as Playfairville Rapids,[20] Lavant/Darling Spillway and the Carleton Place Hackberry stand. Also of interest is an old shoreline which crosses the county diagonally, approximately from Almonte in the northeast to Perth in the southwest.[21] This shoreline was formed about 12,000 years ago near the end of the last ice age when much of the Ottawa Valley was inundated by the Champlain Sea. Many areas below this old shoreline are flat clay plains, with occasional outcrops of gneiss or limestone ridges.

Some of the distinctive southern animals in the county include five-lined skinks[22] (Ontario's only species of lizard), black ratsnakes and southern flying squirrels.[23] Unusual southern plants include arrow arum, a nationally rare wetland plant found near Mississippi Lake.[24] The south-facing cliffs over Big Rideau Lake, including Foley Mountain, have a slightly warmer climate, and therefore support an unusual southern flora[17] including shagbark hickory, tall cinquefoil (Potentilla arguta) and a rare fern, blunt-lobed woodsia.[25] Cliff Bennett provides a list of 26 routes for canoe and kayak exploration of the county.[26]


While the town of Smiths Falls is physically within the boundaries of the county, it is a separated municipality and is not under the administration of the county government.

The town of Smiths Falls is mostly located in Lanark County, while parts of the southern areas of the town is in the township of Rideau Lakes in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.

Original townships


The figures below are for the Lanark census division, which combines Lanark County and Smiths Falls.

Lanark County population history
[27]"Population and Dwelling Counts, for Canada, Provinces and Territories, and Census Divisions, 2001 and 1996 Censuses".</ref>[28][1]
Canada census – Lanark County community profile
2016 2011 2006
Population: 68,698 (+4.6% from 2011) 65,667 (+3.0% from 2006) 63,785 (+2.1% from 2001)
Land area: 3,035.64 km2 (1,172.07 sq mi) 3,033.82 km2 (1,171.36 sq mi) 2,979.14 km2 (1,150.25 sq mi)
Population density: 22.6/km2 (59/sq mi) 21.6/km2 (56/sq mi) 21.4/km2 (55/sq mi)
Median age: 48.2 (M: 47.0, F: 49.2) 43.1 (M: 42.4, F: 43.8)
Total private dwellings: 32,695 31,361 29,338
Median household income: $71,660
References: 2016[29] 2011[30] 2006[31] earlier[32]


The county is one of the top centres of maple syrup production in Ontario and describes itself as "The Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario".[33]


There are two provincial parks in Lanark County:[34] Murphy's Point Provincial Park on Big Rideau Lake and Silver Lake Provincial Park along Highway 7 near the west end of the county. The Rideau Trail [35] and Trans-Canada Trail [36] both go through Lanark County. There are also several conservation areas run by the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority,[37] the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority,[38] and the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust.[39] The K&P rail trail goes through the northwest corner of the county.

See also


  1. "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Lanark, County [Census division], Ontario and Smiths Falls, Town". Statistics Canada. Retrieved August 6, 2019. - exclude Smiths Falls
  2. Brown, Howard Morton, 1984. Lanark Legacy, Nineteenth Century Glimpses of on Ontario County. Corporation of the County of Lanark, Perth, Ontario and General Store Publishing House, Renfrew, Ontario. p.98
  3. Brown, Howard Morton, 1984. Lanark Legacy, Nineteenth Century Glimpses of on Ontario County. Corporation of the County of Lanark, Perth, Ontario and General Store Publishing House, Renfrew, Ontario.
  4. Brown, Howard Morton, 1984. Lanark Legacy, Nineteenth Century Glimpses of on Ontario County. Corporation of the County of Lanark, Perth, Ontario and General Store Publishing House, Renfrew, Ontario. p.9
  5. An Act to divide the County of Carleton, in the District of Bathurst, S.U.C. 1824, c. 5, s. 2
  6. An Act to erect certain townships now forming parts of the Districts of Bathurst, Johnstown and Ottawa, into a separate District, to be called the District of Dalhousie, and for other purposes therein mentioned, S.U.C. 1838, c. 25, s. 23
  7. An Act for better defining the limits of the Counties and Districts in Upper Canada, for erecting certain new Townships, for detaching Townships from some Counties and attaching them to others, and for other purposes relative to the division of Upper Canada into Townships, Counties and Districts, S.Prov.C. 1845, c. 7, Sch. A, B
  8. An Act for abolishing the Territorial Division of Upper-Canada into Districts, and for providing temporary Unions of Counties for Judicial and other purposes, and for the future dissolutions of such Unions, as the increase of wealth and population may require, S.Prov.C. 1849, c. 78, Sch. B
  9. An Act to make certain alterations in the Territorial Divisions of Upper Canada, S.Prov.C. 1851, c. 5, Sch. C
  10. An Act to enlarge the Representation of the People of this Province in Parliament, S.Prov.C. 1853, c. 152, s. 2(19)
  11. An Act to provide for the separation of the County of Renfrew from the County of Lanark, S.Prov.C. 1861, c. 51
  12. Mitchell, S.E. (1919). "The County Council". In Smallfield, W.E.; Campbell, Rev. Robert (eds.). The Story of Renfrew: From the Coming of the First Settlers about 1820. Volume One. Renfrew: Smallfield & Son. p. 191. |volume= has extra text (help)
  13. Keddy, P.A. (2008), Earth, Water, Fire: An Ecological Profile of Lanark County, Arnprior, Ontario: General Store Publishing House
  14. Catling, Paul & Brownell, Vivian (1999), Anderson, R.C.; Fralish, J.S. & Baskin, J.M. (eds.), "The flora and ecology of southern Ontario granite barrens", Savannas, Barrens, and Rock Outcrop Plant Communities of North America, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 392–405
  15. Brown, Howard Morton (1984), Lanark Legacy, Nineteenth Century Glimpses of an Ontario County, Renfrew, Ontario: Corporation of the County of Lanark, Perth, Ontario and General Store Publishing House, p. 104
  16. "Plants of Lanark County, Ontario--2016 Edition (download plant list)".
  17. "Plants of Lanark County, Ontario--2016 Edition (significant areas)". Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  18. Keddy, P.A. (2008), Earth, Water, Fire: An Ecological Profile of Lanark County, Arnprior, Ontario: General Store Publishing House, p. Map 14
  19. Keddy, P.A. (2008), Earth, Water, Fire: An Ecological Profile of Lanark County, Arnprior, Ontario: General Store Publishing House, p. Map 17
  20. Lemky, K. & Keddy, P. (1988), "An unusual shoreline flora along the Mississippi River, Lanark County", Trail & Landscape (22), pp. 49–52
  21. Keddy, P.A. (2008), Earth, Water, Fire: An Ecological Profile of Lanark County, Arnprior, Ontario: General Store Publishing House, p. Map 5
  22. "Species at Risk - Lanark". Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Government of Ontario, Canada. Queen's Printer for Ontario. 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2017.
  23. Keddy, Paul. "The Ottawa Valley: Lanark County as a microcosm".
  24. Toner, M.; Stow, N. & Keddy, C.J. (1995), "Arrow Arum, Peltandra virginica: a nationally rare plant in the Ottawa Valley Region of Ontario", Canadian Field-Naturalist, 4 (109), pp. 441–442
  25. "Recovery Strategy for the Blunt-lobed Woodsia (Woodsia obtusa) in Canada" (PDF). Environment Canada. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 15, 2013.
  26. "Canoe Journeys Locator Map". Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  27. Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006
  28. "Lanark County census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  29. "2016 Community Profiles". 2016 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 21, 2017. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  30. "2011 Community Profiles". 2011 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  31. "2006 Community Profiles". 2006 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  32. "2001 Community Profiles". 2001 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012.
  33. "Lanark County - Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario |". 2014-05-27. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  34. "Locate Provincial Parks in Ontario". Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  35. "Rideau Trail Maps". Rideau Trail Association. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  36. "Explore the Map | The Great Trail". TC Trail. 2016-05-19. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  37. "Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority Welcome to Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority - Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority". Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  38. "Rideau Valley Conservation Area". Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  39. "Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust » Preserving the land. Protecting the future. » Protected Properties". Retrieved 2017-11-22.


  • Sargeant, Robert (1993), Some early Lanark County marriages, Kingston, Ontario: Kingston Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society