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Portland is a small village located on Big Rideau Lake and adjacent to Highway 15. Portland boasts three full service marinas and is one of the main gateways for visitors to access Big Rideau Lake. There are a variety of places to stay in the area. Both boat tours and boat rentals are available in town.
In addition to boating, there are many things for the landlubber to do and see in the Portland area. There are several stores in town, including antique and collectables stores.
In the winter, Portland comes alive with a popular festival known as Skate the Lake. Watch the video!
The History of Portland
Several fine buildings mark Portland’s evolution as a community of faith, home and business. The Gallagher Bank Building, erected in 1903 is a classic example of bank architecture of that era. The Polk Store, built in 1891 and the Toffey House, built in 1892 manifest the prosperity of the village at the turn of the 20th century. But the landmark of Portland is Emmanuel Anglican Church building. Erected in 1861 of fine local sandstone, the community now seeks new purpose for this stately building at the crest of Portland Hill.
Albert Gallagher House
14 Water Street, Portland
The property at 14 Water Street is the former site of the Albert Gallagher House.
Albert Gallagher, at one time, held title to approximately 15 homes in the village of Portland. At the turn of the century, Gallagher built several of the buildings in Portland around this corner of town, including a store across the street at 19 Water Street, a warehouse at the foot of Main Street at 19A Water Street, the Albert Gallagher Bank Building (1903) at 11 Water Street, a few buildings on Main Street, and a historic steamboat wharf on the Big Rideau.
Gallagher was arguably responsible for Portland’s heyday as a thriving tourist destination for the Rideau waterway steamboat cruises at the turn of the century and could be considered the founder of Portland’s water-based tourism.
On the same lot is the site of the demolished Peter Bresee house. This former home is associated with an earlier, pre-confederation era of Portland’s history that developed in the wake of building the Rideau Canal. It is historically linked to the hamlet’s oldest documented extant building from that era; the circa 1830’s former Bresee store, across the street at 17 Water Street.
Still existing on the property is a ‘carriage house’; a cast concrete block structure (c. 1920s).