St. Marys was settled in the 1840s and is located at the junction of the Thames River and Trout Creek. It was known for its many limestone quarries. This pushed the town’s growth into a bustling industrial and agricultural centre, leading to its incorporation in 1863. Nicknamed ‘Stonetown,’ for its limestone-filled riverbeds, St. Marys supplied a lot of building materials for the area's commercial blocks, private homes, and churches, many of which still stand to this day. Notable examples include the Opera House (1880), Municipal Hall (1891) and the Public Library (1904). These historic limestone buildings are preserved by the Municipal Heritage Committee which publishes online brochures containing interesting facts about them.
St. Marys' historic buildings and old-world charm complement its modern establishments. There are also a number of museums and art galleries for visitors interested in St. Marys’ history, as well as plenty of walking, hiking and cycling trails.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in St. Marys, scroll down or visit the town's tourism website.
Where is St. Marys?
St. Marys is located in southwestern Ontario, bordered by the Township of Perth South in Perth County. While St. Marys’ municipal government operates independently from Perth County’s, there is a substantial amount of collaboration between them. St. Marys is approximately 20 kilometres from Stratford and 168 kilometres southwest from Toronto. VIA Rail also provides train service to St. Marys.
Things to Do in St. Marys
St. Marys is home to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum — one of the town’s most popular draws. St Marys’ baseball heritage stretches back to 1838 with a legitimate claim as the game's true birthplace (sorry Cooperstown). The Hall of Fame has inducted over 125 individual members and teams. It even has four baseball fields within its 32-acre grounds. Visitors can peruse the many baseball artifacts and interactive exhibits.
Get to know St. Marys’ past and present by visiting its museums and galleries. St. Marys Museum has a treasure trove of the old newspapers and paper documents, as well as photographs and maps from the town’s early years. Admire art exhibitions from local and international artists at historic St. Marys Station Gallery, which still functions as a train station. There are regular shows scheduled every few months, with local artists sometimes helping provide insight on artworks.
Take in views of St. Marys’ rivers from the historic Grand Trunk Trail, or the Riverview Walkway, a 2.4 km paved pathway tracing the Thames River from the heart of town all the way to the limestone quarries. Take a weekend off to bask in the splendour of nature at Wildwood Conservation Area. This 1,416 hectare nature oasis has over 400 campsites, 30 km of trails perfect for hiking and mountain biking, and a 7 km reservoir that is great for water-skiing. Longing to cool off after a hot day? Consider going for a swim at the Limestone Quarry. Abandoned in 1930, it has since been converted into one of Canada’s largest outdoor swimming pools.
Take a stroll downtown and take in St. Marys’ historic sights, boutique shops, and local restaurants. Visit the Pass It On Store with its eclectic collection of vintage treasures and goods, or Little Falls Crafters Market for handmade items created by over 200 local artisans. Stop by Snapping Turtle Coffee Roasters for a cup of responsibly sourced coffee, or sample the various locally-produced fresh goods and products at the St. Marys Farmers’ Market.
Ever wondered how maple syrup is made? A visit to McCully’s Hill Farm takes guests on a horse-drawn wagon to collect maple tree sap and actual syrup processing. Visitors can also visit the adorable resident barn animals, or dig into a hearty pancake brunch glazed with the farm’s very own maple syrup.
Love chocolate? Drop by the Chocolate Factory, St. Marys’ very own chocolatier for some create mouth-watering caramels, chocolate-dipped pretzels, truffles, fudge, and toffee.
St. Marys Neighbourhoods & Districts
No trip to St. Marys is complete with out a trip to its heart.
St. Marys Heritage Conservation District
Located along Queen Street, St. Marys Heritage Conservation District is lined with historical buildings built in the late 19th century with the town’s very own limestone, quarried locally from the river valley. These historic buildings include the Town Hall, with its red sandstone window arches and checkerboard facade, and the St. Marys Public Library with its impressive Greco-Roman facade.
Things to Know About Visiting St. Marys
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to St. Marys, you'll appreciate what the locals recommend around town.
Where to take an Instagram photo
The Old Train Station is a mid-19th-century single-storey limestone building in the Italianate design typical of the Grand Trunk Railway’s original Ontario stations.
Where to watch the sunrise & sunset
Grand Trunk Trail. Part of the 4.8 kilometre back trail features a river that is accessible year-round.
Where to go for Sunday brunch
Favourite local gem
Last updated: November 24, 2022