Exploring Ottawa Valley Villages: Carp

Sep 14th, 2018 | By | Category: Adventure, Travel

By Katharine Fletcher

With the Carp River wending its leisurely way through the countryside, with a winery to discover, and with the Carp Agricultural Fair beckoning us, there’s lots to prompt us to linger in Carp.

Here are my top picks for your autumn visit.

Carp Farmers’ Market and Fair

Carp Agricultural Fair Grounds
3790 Carp Road
Saturdays: through Oct 27 from 10 a.m. to noon
Christmas Market (Friday/Saturday, Nov. 30-Dec. 1)
for times/details: carpfarmersmarket.ca/events/

Carp Fair: September 20-23
Fair information: carpfair.ca/

Come to the village’s agricultural fairgrounds to attend this popular Farmers’ Market, where you’ll find everything from fresh local vegetables, preserves, bread and other goodies, through to local artist Lis Allison’s handmade pottery. The ambiance is friendly, vendors are welcoming: what’s not to enjoy?

On September 20-23, the Carp Fair celebrates its 155th anniversary. It’s one of the Valley’s best-loved country fairs – and for me, the setting is evocative of an old-time fair. This feeling is particularly enhanced because of its agricultural hall, one of Ontario’s rare octagonal structures that’s an architectural gem. Painted ox-blood red with white trim, it welcomes us inside the grounds.

Check fair events (carpfair.ca/fair/attractions/) but highlights for me would be the President’s Choice Superdogs Canadogs show (daily: noon, 2 and 4), horse shows (including the popular six-team heavy horse events), and family circle tent where jugglers, puppets and magic tricks enthrall the young at heart.

Diefenbunker Museum: Canada’s Cold War Museum National Historic Site

3929 Carp Road


Want to go underground and discover how politicians and “VIPs” were supposed to survive a nuclear war back in 1959? The Diefenbunker offers us an astonishing glimpse back in time to the Cold War years. Named after Prime Minister John Diefenbaker who commissioned the bunker, this once top-secret building was dug out of the former Montgomery Farm. Built in less than 18 months, the website tells us it was designed “to survive a  five megaton nuclear blast from 1.8 kilometers away.”

Happily, the Diefenbunker never served its purpose. Today we can tour it and marvel at the old-fashioned-looking war room and computers that once were the latest in high-tech. Additionally, throughout the year, special events occur such as the upcoming Incident at the Bunker: A Zombie Adventure on Oct. 13, 20, 27, 28, and Nov. 3. (Details at diefenbunker.ca/zombies-invade-the-bunker/)

West Carleton Art Society (WCAS)

ARTiculate Talks
(Third Wednesday of month; $5 for non-members)

St. Paul’s United Church, 3760 Carp Road

parking & entrance at the back


Talk about a prolific, active group of artists. The WCAS celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2018, and does so with a flourish! If you’re a professional artist, come for the professional development and camaraderie. If you’re an emerging artist, come for the tremendous support and information. If you’re simply interested in supporting the Arts, then come on out to the monthly ARTiculate talks, for starters. Held at 7 p.m. every third Wednesday of the month, you’ll find a warm welcome plus hear an illustrated talk given by an artist.

But that’s not all … WCAS is nothing if not totally engaged in the community. Find WCAS members’ art at a variety of Carp businesses. For instance, Alice’s Village Café (alicesvillagecafe.com) is showing mixed-media artist Deborah Guthrie’s “story-telling paintings” inspired by Alice in Wonderland (until Nov. 3). As well, WCAS members are involved in the annual Expressions of Art Show and Sale on Thanksgiving weekend (Oct. 5-7, Carp Agricultural Hall). Its vernissage (show opening) is on Friday from 7-9 p.m., where there’ll be live music and refreshments. The WCAS annual $100 and Under show is Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at St. Paul’s United Church – where affordable art is priced at $100 and under: don’t be shy! Come on out, meet and chat with local artists, and take home unique artwork for a special Christmas gift.

KIN Vineyards

2225 Craig’s Side Road, Carp


Did you realize that Carp boasts a vineyard? I recently visited KIN Vineyards because, as a member of WCAS (full disclosure) I and five other artists created scarecrows to help prevent crows and other hungry avians from dining on the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. As a token of thanks, the KINfolk offered our small group a tasting of five of their wines, plus charcuterie (this type of sit-down tasting with local meats and cheeses can be arranged for groups – enquire at KIN).

The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are KIN’s flagship wines and you’ll be impressed by their depth and flavour. Compare two Chardonnays: one is light and fruity, the other has buttery tannins after being aged in French oak barrels. I also enjoyed sampling the Marechel Foch red wine: these grapes are grown in KIN’s Kinburn vineyard.

And yes, KINfolk are dedicated to supporting the Arts too, where 2% of profits from their wine, UNDERSTORY are donated to local Arts initiatives. Also? Their tasting room is a gallery where, until the end of September, find WCAS mixed-media artist Catherine Gutsche’s works on exhibition.

Restaurants to try

The village offers many types of cuisine, from pub and craft brews at The Swan at Carp (theswanatcarp.ca), to the Juke Joint Soul Kitchen (thejukejointsoulkitchen.com) – and of course, the above-mentioned Alice’s, plus the foods to buy for a picnic at the Farmers’ Market and Carp Fair.

So come one, come all: take in the fair; revel in the arts … sample a glass of fine wine.

Katharine Fletcher is author of several guides to our region (katharinefletcher.com/Books/OurBooks.html). She’s also a visual artist and member of WCAS. Like her page at: facebook.com/KatharineFletcherArtist

One Comment to “Exploring Ottawa Valley Villages: Carp”

  1. Carp is such a lovely village. And so much happening all year.

Leave a Comment