Smiths Falls, Ontario.

The town of historic beauty.

The Heart of the Rideau Canal.

Population: 8,780 (2016)

If you are not from Smiths Falls and the surrounding area, you may write it or pronounce it as ‘Smith Falls”…

Don’t let the locals catch you… Most will automatically correct you that it is “SmithS Falls”.


So what is with the last ‘s’ in ‘Smiths’?

Well, Smiths Falls’ history dates back to the American Revolutionary War between the Americans and the British. This is when land grants were given to United Empire Loyalists who lost the lands they owned in the U.S. as punishment for supporting the crown.


Lieutenant Thomas Smyth in 1786 was granted a total of 400 acres which would become “Smyth’s Falls.” A name driven from the original land owner, and the once-magnificent falls that were diverted to create the Rideau Canal and lock stations.

Photo by Chris Cummings


Don’t be too sad though, the opening of the canal in 1832 was seen as a milestone for the area because it allowed for economic growth.

Smyth lost the land due to defaulting on mortgage payments (woops, right?), and Abel Russell Ward purchased the area in 1825.

So you are probably wondering, what does this have to do with the second ‘s’ in ‘Smiths’… Well, about 1880s, like a game of telephone, the name morphed to ‘Smith’s Falls’ and then started being written as ‘Smiths Falls’. This became official in 1968…. which by the way, took an ACT of the Ontario Legislature to officially remove the apostrophe.

Now the real economic story begins when the Canadian Pacific Railway came to town in 1885. It allowed a direct trade route to Montreal and its shipping lines, and the population of the Smiths Falls region to increase exponentially. Fun fact: in the 1890’s Smiths Falls claimed to be the world’s turkey market centre, including turkey fairs (there is an annual one that STILL takes places in Smiths Falls, by the way).


The ventures of in the town’s history allowed important industries, such as Frost and Wood Co.,Coca-Cola, RCA Victor Ltd. and Hershey’s Canada Inc. to pop up in this small town, with the latest addition being Tweed.

Last, but not least, in 1955, Smiths Falls got a radio station. Original call letters of that station “CFRL” eventually changed to “CJET” which our sister station JACK 92.3 (CJET-FM) broadcasts from Beckwith Street and calls Smiths Falls home. In January 2004, CKBY moved from 105.3 to the 101.1 frequency and made it’s home in Smiths Falls. For the last 16 years, CKBY has broadcasted from our transmitter in Blacks Corners and had a home on Beckwith Street in Smiths Falls with JACK. The legendary CKBY has been serving Ottawa & The Valley’s home for Country Music since 1972… that’s almost 50 YEARS.

Beckwith Street, 1950s.

Smiths Falls, you are indeed a small, prosperous town that should be proud of how far you have come.




Filed under: #ThisIsMyTown, This Is My Town