Initial settlement began between 1810 and 1820, with Westport incorporated as an independent municipality in 1904. By 1829, Westport was the site of a saw mill and grist mill; the construction of the Rideau Canal in the mid-1800s contributed to the growth of the village as a local commercial centre. Westport received many Irish immigrants following the Great Famine (1840s through 1860s); St. Edward’s Catholic Church, built in 1859 at Concession and Bedford, served as a community centre. A railway ran from Brockville (and the St. Lawrence River) to Westport from 1888 to 1952. A provincial fish sanctuary was established at the Westport Pond in 1957.
- From Perth (Ontario), head south on County Road 10; this road leads through Westport to Kingston, ending at Queen’s University.
- From Kingston (Ontario), take Perth Road (401 exit 617) north. The 50km/30 mile drive takes the better part of an hour on a winding two-lane road through rural countryside with many small lakes.
- From Highway 15 and the Rideau Canal, Westport is directly west of Crosby/Newboro on the former Highway 42.
Upper Rideau Lake is north of Newboro lock station on the Rideau Canal; Westport is at the northwest corner of the lake. Westport Harbour’s marina has docks for thirty boats, a visitor’s centre and a picnic area.
Westport and the Foley Mountain Conservation Area are part of the Rideau Trail, a hiking trail from Kingston to Ottawa.
There is no scheduled bus or rail service in Westport village. The last train ran from Brockville to Westport in 1952; the nearest scheduled bus line is Greyhound’s Voyageur run from Kingston to Ottawa (which follows Highway 15 on the other side of the Rideau Canal). There is a tiny airstrip for private planes, but the closest (limited) passenger services are in Kingston.
Conversely, one can drive to Westport, park in the village and rent a boat to go onto the lakes:
- Norris Bait and Tackle, #8877 Hwy.42, Westport K0G 1X0, ☎+1 613-273-6462. Hunting, fishing, bait, tackle, guns, boat rentals.
- Scotty’s Cool Breeze, 73 Concession St, Westport K0G 1X0, ☎+1 613-273-7268. Chip wagon, garden centre, bait, tackle, boat rentals.