“Murdoch Mysteries” episode is set in Almonte

“James Naismith”

A reader notes that an episode earlier this year of the Canadian TV series Murdoch Mysteries was set in Almonte — though it wasn’t actually filmed here. This seems slightly ironic, given that we’ve been a stand-in for many other small towns in movies shot here in recent years.

A plot summary says “Murdoch, Ogden, and Harry join Crabtree and his ragtag team of street kids for a fundraising basketball tournament in Almonte, a village outside Ottawa. Shortly after presenting the key to the city to local hero Dr. James Naismith, the game’s inventor, the mayor is found dead in the gymnasium equipment room. What initially looked like misadventure soon looks like murder.” The year was 1909.

A key plot point is a fire that supposedly destroyed part of Mill Street that year — which did in fact happen. A post on Linda Seccaspina’s local history blog quotes a Perth Courier report:

Fire swept through Almonte last Friday, 10th.  The chief business block on the main street was completely destroyed.  The sufferers are the Commercial Hotel, West’s General Store, Patterson’s Drug Store, Kaufman’s Hardware Store.  The loss will reach $75,000 and the insurance will not exceed $38,000.

($75,000 in 1909 equates to about $2 million in today’s dollars. Oddly, the Almonte Gazette said nothing about the devastating fire apart from a couple of ‘cards of thanks’ from business owners for support following the fire.)

Aftermath of the 1909 fire

The episode is available on CBC Gem: https://gem.cbc.ca/media/murdoch-mysteries/s15e16