Initial settlement began between 1810 and 1820, with Westport incorporated as an independent municipality in 1904. By 1829, Westport was the site of a saw mill and grist mill; the construction of the Rideau Canal in the mid-1800s contributed to the growth of the village as a local commercial centre. Westport received many Irish immigrants following the Great Famine (1840s through 1860s); St. Edward's Catholic Church, built in 1859 at Concession and Bedford, served as a community centre. A railway ran from Brockville (and the St. Lawrence River) to Westport from 1888 to 1952. A provincial fish sanctuary was established at the Westport Pond in 1957.
- From Perth (Ontario), head south on County Road 10; this road leads through Westport to Kingston, ending at Queen's University.
- From Kingston (Ontario), take Perth Road (401 exit 617) northbound. The 50km/30 mile drive takes the better part of an hour on a winding two-lane road through rural countryside with many small lakes.
- From Highway 15 and the Rideau Canal, Westport is directly west of Crosby/Newboro on the former Highway 42.
Upper Rideau Lake is north of Newboro lock station on the Rideau Canal; Westport is at the northwest corner of the lake. Westport Harbour's marina has docks for thirty boats, a visitor's centre and a picnic area.
Westport and the Foley Mountain Conservation Area are part of the Rideau Trail, a hiking trail from Kingston to Ottawa.
There is no scheduled bus or rail service in Westport village. The last train ran from Brockville to Westport in 1952; the nearest scheduled bus line is Greyhound's Voyageur run from Kingston to Ottawa (which follows Highway 15 on the other side of the Rideau Canal). There is a tiny airstrip for private planes, but the closest (limited) passenger services are in Kingston.
As of 2010, there was one cab in the village (Celtic Cab, +1 613-767-9257 ). It is also possible to dock a small boat at Westport Harbour's marina and then walk to destinations within the village.
Conversely, one can drive to Westport, park in the village and rent a boat to go onto the lakes:
- Norris Bait and Tackle, #8877 Hwy.42, Westport K0G 1X0, ☎ . Hunting, fishing, bait, tackle, guns, boat rentals.
- Scotty's Cool Breeze, 73 Concession St, Westport K0G 1X0, ☎ . Chip wagon, garden centre, bait, tackle, boat rentals.
Annual events include:
- Dandelions Studio Tour. Victoria Day weekend
- Westport Antique Show and Sale. First weekend in June
- Westport Music Festival, mid-August
- Rideau Valley Art Festival. End-August
- Fall Colours Studio Tour. Thanksgiving weekend
- Santa Claus Parade, end-November
- Fishing in the area is good; yellow perch, smallmouth bass, pickerel and northern pike populate the waters.
- Foley Mountain Conservation Area, 105 Perth Road N, Westport, ☎ . 800-acre park atop a granite ridge overlooking Upper Rideau Lake. On Rideau Trail (Kingston to Ottawa) with hiking, swimming, sand beach picnic areas, outdoor educational programmes.
- Rideau Lakes Golf and Country Club, 326 Sunnyside Rd, Westport K0G 1X0, ☎ , toll-free: . Nine-hole golf course on the south shore of Upper Rideau Lake. $20-35/person.
- West Winds Ranch, 116B Wolfe Lake Road, Westport K0G 1X0, ☎ . Horse farm and kids' summer camp; pony ride, farm tours, petting zoo, barn yard games, toys & mazes. $6/person.
- There are various small shops along Church Street and Bedford Street in the heart of the village.
- Lake Effects, 16 Bedford Street, Westport K0G 1X0, ☎ . Hammocks, maps, outdoor mats and furniture.
- Church Street Bakery, 34 Main St, Westport K0H 1X0 (Spring and Main Sts.), ☎ . 10AM-5PM, closed Mon-Tue in winter. Pastry and sweets.
- Salmon House and Seafood, 31 Main St, Westport K0G 1X0, ☎ . Takeout fish n' chips, fresh fish, smoked fish, seafood platters. +1 613-273-FISH
- Tangled Garden Café, 7 Church St, Westport K0G 1X0, ☎ . Pizza, pasta, salads, desserts. Licensed.
- Cove Country Inn, 2 Bedford-on-the-Water, Westport K0G 1X0, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: +1 613-273-3466. Licensed dining room, waterfront patio, pub/piano lounge, 10-room inn and 6-room 1870's bed and breakfast house ($100-150/night).
- Nordlaw Lodge, 489 Crozier Road, RR#1 Westport, ☎ . Lakefront fishing lodge cottages and villas on Bob's Lake; all meals included. $120-140 per person.
- Westport Station Motel, 51 Concession St, Westport K0G 1X0, ☎ . Located at the terminus of the former Brockville & Westport Railway; the Diner is housed in the original train station. $85-95/night.
- Cobblestones at Bolingbroke, RR #3 Maberly K0H 2B0 (12 km north on county road #36, on left just past Farren Lake), ☎ , fax: +1 613-273-5977.
- Westport Harbour, ☎ . 6AM-5:30PM. Visitor’s Centre with wi-fi, 'phones, washrooms, showers, marina, picnic and barbeques, fuel and oil.