Off the Beaten Path
Story and Photos By Madeline Kallio
Carp Road and west
So many quaint places to visit
The earliest report of settlement in the area was around 1830 when the Talbot Party, which had emigrated in 1818 from Tipperary, Ireland, to London, Ontario, decided to resettle there. The party included John Cavanagh, William Mooney, Robert Johnson and a host of others whose names are still very much alive in the community. Situated on the flank of the Carp Ridge, a geological fault that rises out of the Carp River Valley, and on the banks of the Carp River, the settlement was blessed with an abundance of food and a great vantage point. The village took its name from the river and is the only place in Canada that contains the name “Carp”. The curious fact is that there never were any carp in the river, merely an abundance of suckers. The name for sucker in French is “carpe” and it is thought that this word could have been introduced by the coureur des bois.
The Carp Road is part of County Road 5 which stretches from the Rideau River to Fitzroy Harbour on the Ottawa River. The stretch from Stittsville Main Street to Fitzroy Harbour is designated as the Carp Road. A drive along the Carp Road brings you in contact with a number of businesses from Stittsville to Carp Village, as well as the village itself and the spectacular views north of the village. The magnificent Carp Ridge rises on the east side of the road and the Carp River Valley on the west side, both providing spectacular views of the countryside for miles.
At the corner of Hazeldean and Carp Roads is a plaza that hosts a number of businesses. The Barley Mow Restaurant (613 435-2669), 1160 Carp Road, is a pub-style restaurant. Classic Shawarma (613 435-5660), 1110 Carp Road, offers Shawarma and Middle Eastern cuisine. The Kungfu Bistro (613 831-6808), also at 1110 Carp Road, serves a diverse Asian menu. The plaza also has an A&W and a Subway.
The Red Gables Creperie (613 836-6688), 2006 Carp Road, creates an incredible assortment of crepes from sweet to savoury. In summer, diners can sit at picnic tables.
Kondruss Galleries (613 836-3103), 2079 Carp Road, deals in estate furniture, jewellery and antiques. It also operates the Stittsville’s Carp Road Flea Market which hosts a large number of vendors. The goods offered on Sundays are antiques and collectibles, country furniture, jewellery, tools, books, CDs, movies, sporting goods, oriental antiques and carpets, homemade jams, toys, paintings, pictures and decorations, one of the best selections of furnishings, and much more. Next door, Ritchie Feed and Seed and Garden Centre (613-836-6880), 2079 Carp Road, sells garden equipment and supplies, garden gifts and has a garden centre.
In 1820 Thomas Mulligan gave half an acre to build the Mulligan School, a shanty with no blackboard and little protection from the elements which now is The Cheshire Cat Pub (613 831-2183), 2193 Richardson Side Road at the corner of Carp Road, is nestled among trees and gardens. The current stone structure was built in 1883 and retains the tongue and groove ceilings and walls. The school closed in 1957 and was a residence for several people, including Hartley Green who built a ferro-cement yacht and sailed away, never to return, except in spirit. An extensive, inventive menu is available.
Set back from the road is the eighteen- and nine-hole golf course, Irish Hills Golf and Country Club (613 839-4653), 3248 Carp Road. It also offers an indoor golfing experience.
The Carp Airport (613 839-5276), 1500 Thomas Argue Road, was originally a military airfield which participated in the British Commonwealth Air Training Program during World War II and is now a popular home base for local general aviation pilots and aircraft.
Crossing the March Road (County Road 49) brings you into the Village of Carp. The road diverges in two directions —Donald B. Munro Drive crosses the Carp Road and veers north off to the left. Carp Pizza (613 839-1977), 439 Donald B. Munro Drive, serves pizza, subs, wraps, and soup and sandwich combos. In the Carp Plaza at 461 Donald B. Munro Drive, the Carp Bakery (613 839-6666) offers a fine selection of breads and baked goods. The Pizza Workz Restaurant (613 839-5555) serves family fare and pizza.
Off Donald B. Munro Drive, a road up the hill will bring you to a century-old, heritage Presbyterian manse which is the home of The Swan at Carp Restaurant (613 839-7926), 108 Falldown Lane. After the Presbyterian church burned down, the manse became successively a hotel, an art gallery and a real estate office, before becoming an “authentic” English pub. The restaurant is open for lunch and has an international menu including casual fare, exotic cuisines and a full dessert menu, with everything prepared on the premises. Just around the corner at 107 Falldown Lane is the Carp Cabin (613 839-2845), which carries a delightful collection of antiques, collectibles and gifts.
Returning to the centre of the village, Donald B. Munro Drive to the south will take you to a variety of businesses. The Chinese Valley (613 839-0915) at 415 Donald B. Munro Drive serves up Chinese food. Enjoy a beer, a meal and a tour of the Ridge Rock Brewing Company (613 470-2337), 421 Donald B. Munro Drive.
The Moonstone Gallery and Marketplace (613 612-1286), 416 Donald B. Munro Drive, features local artists who display and sell an eclectic mix of arts and crafts. In summer, The Sweet Potato food truck, 400 Donald B. Munro Drive, serves fast food.
Taking the Carp Road north, a number of pleasant surprises present themselves. Autumn’s Fine Flowers (613 485-2774), 3722 Carp Road, has flowers for every occasion. The Juke Joint (613 470-8888), 3740 Carp Road, specializes in African, Acadian, Cajun and Creole cooking. The Carp Custom Creamery (613 839-3336), 3763 Carp Road, is an ice cream store with 16 flavours for scooping and 40 for take home. A lovely little plaza houses Alice’s Village Café (613 470-2233), 3773 Carp Road, which is known for the coffee, homemade soups and sandwiches, mouth-watering breakfasts, sweet treats and daily specials. Next door at 3775 Carp Road is Bee You Creative Styles and Expressions (613 301-7314), a consignment shop with amazing styles for men, women and kids, and a host of other items.
Each year since 1863, the 22-acre Carp Agricultural Society Grounds has hosted the Carp Fair (613 839- 2172) in the third week of September with a midway, games, vendors, agricultural exhibits, livestock judging, a horse show, entertainment and much more. Since 1990, the Carp Farmers’ Market (613 786-1010) has also called the agricultural grounds home. The Market is open from mid-May to the end of October on Saturday mornings and draws over 100 vendors.
From the outside, it is hard to imagine that a few communication towers on a slight hill and a few nondescript buildings can hide one of the most unique museums in Canada. A huge four-storey bunker buried deep under a hillside and meant to house crucial elements of the Canadian government during a nuclear war, the Diefenbunker (613 839-0007), 3929 Carp Road, contains exhibits and recreated areas to provide a startling glimpse into Cold War history. Built while John Diefenbaker was Prime Minister between 1959 and 1961, visitors can now explore 1960’s era government rooms, living quarters, cryptographic areas, the Prime Minister’s suite, the War Cabinet Room, the CBC Radio studio, the Bank of Canada vault, and the Emergency Government Situation Centre in the facility’s more than 100,000 square feet. Tours, special exhibits, and programs for all ages are held all year.
The Carp Road continues north to Fitzroy Harbour and the Ottawa River. The Harvest Moon Orchard (613 839-0378), 4625 Carp Road, is open from the end of August to the beginning of December with a store full of apples, vegetables and more. At the corner of the Kinburn Road and Carp Road is the West Carleton Community Complex which serves the surrounding area. Vera Jones operates Savvy Seconds in the complex which provides free clothing for the whole family and was instrumental in serving the devastated Dunrobin community after the hurricane of 2018.