Anna Hergert, Art & Design

Almonte, ON – A Town Filled with Textile History and Basketball!!

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While in Lanark County, Ontario a visit to Almonte was high on our list of priorities. With time to spare last Wednesday we ventured out to visit this gem of a town with so much history. Our primary focus was on the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum and we were not disappointed. I had visited the museum and gallery space in March 2010 while the Bayeux Tapestry replica was on display. What a feast for the eyes!

This time the gallery space showcased an exhibition titled “Trees” organized by Threadworks. Photography was of course not permitted but I am happy to report that an online catalog can be found here. Feast your eyes on these amazing textile works by artists from around Canada!

Moving to the second floor we were treated to an indepth tour of textile factory related machinery and information. Colin, the weaver, my spinning and dyeing background had us feel at home right away. My family (maternal great-grandfather in Germany) founded his textile mill in Wiehl, North-Rhine-Westphalia in 1899 – but all I remember from my childhood visits is noisy machines, dark spaces and many “Eintritt Verboten” (Entry for non-authorized personnel not permitted) signs. Moving through the large display hall with pickers, carders, spinning machines and plyers to various looms in a bright and clean environment was a pleasure. If you ever wondered how fabric is woven, this is the place to visit. Several TVs strategically placed around the museum hall may be activated by remote control (provided at the admissions counter) to walk the visitor through the individual stages of cloth production,  from shearing sheep to finished woven cloth, including the dye process. Our time passed quickly.

While we drove through town to find the museum we caught a glimpse of the wonderful architecture of Almonte. A walking tour was a must! As you can see from my images today – the buildings are beautiful!. The falls behind the museum are a tranquil place to escape the intense heat and enjoy a little snack.

Refreshed we ventured into the downtown area to explore the main street winding between well preserved converted mill buildings, private homes and churches. We also came across Dr. James Naismith’s likeness. He was born near Almonte and is credited with the invention of basketball, using a soccer ball and two half-bushel baskets with the bottoms removed.

I truly enjoyed exploring Almonte in glorious sunshine. I gave my wide angle lens a real workout to capture the architecture of this Canadian gem in Lanark County. If you are interested in visiting this area make sure to add Almonte to your list – just in case you haven’t already… By the way, the Mississippi Valley Textile Mill is part of Doors Open Ontario during the weekend of September 8th. Fibrefest 2012 takes place at the same time. Anyone with a vested interest in textile history and/or architecture within driving distance owes it to themselves to check out the festivities! 35 + vendors, fiber arts exhibits, demonstrations and home-made refreshments promise to make it a great weekend! Have fun, bring your camera! I will be teaching in Prescott that weekend thinking of all the fun I will be missing!

 

This entry was published on August 26, 2012 at 6:02 am. It’s filed under History, Journaling, Photography & Events, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Almonte, ON – A Town Filled with Textile History and Basketball!!

  1. Linda and Bob on said:

    I like the way the basketball net is filled with a basket of hanging flowers! Glad you got to see these places. That’s definitely the architecture that I remember from visiting Elsie when she lived in Carleton Place, and swimming in the Mississippi River one hot day.

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  2. Hi Anna,
    I loved Almonte! When my sister- in- law took me on my own private shop hop last May Almonte was one destination (2 quilt stores). We loved it so much we went back the next day with my brother and toured the textile museum and had lunch in the old Post Office. The museum was not fully operating yet upstairs. But it was still enjoyable! Definitely should be put on everyones list of must sees in the Ottawa area. Great antique shops too!

    My sister-in-law was impressed that her granddaughter shared information with her about Almonte because she had read Dear Canada: Days of Toil and Tears: The Child Labour Diary of Flora Rutherford, Almonte, Ontario, 1887. This is a book from a series of books about children in Canadian history. Very popular with young readers. I want to read it now after my visit there.

    Sounds like your time in the Ottawa area is going well. Enjoy!

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