Discovering Cobden, Ontario: A Blend of History and Tourism

Cobden, Ontario, a small community nestled in the Township of Whitewater Region, Renfrew County, is located approximately 95 kilometres northwest of Ottawa. This charming town, situated halfway between Renfrew and Pembroke on Highway 17, offers a rich history and a vibrant culture.

The Historical Roots of Cobden, Ontario

The area surrounding Cobden was originally inhabited by the Nibachis, a sub-division of the Algonquian-speaking tribes of North America. The town's history is deeply intertwined with the exploration of the Ottawa River by French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1613.

Champlain's Astrolabe and Cobden, Ontario

Champlain's journey brought him close to the present-day Cobden. Due to the Chenaux Rapids, Champlain and his men were forced to portage, likely taking shore near McKenzie's Hill. A rock bearing the inscription "Champlain Juin 2, 1613" was discovered in this area in 1953. The path Champlain took from this point remains a topic of debate, but it is known that he eventually reached Green Lake. Here, according to 19th-century authors, Champlain lost his astrolabe, which was found 254 years later near what is now known as Astrolabe Lake.

In 1990, Cobden celebrated the return of the astrolabe, which is now housed in the Canadian Museum of Civilization. While it cannot be conclusively proven that the astrolabe belonged to Champlain, several historical facts suggest this possibility.

The Growth and Culture of Cobden, Ontario

Cobden, occupying 1.85 km of land, had a population of 1,020 in 1996, slightly decreased from 1,026 in 1991. Despite its small size, Cobden hosts its own annual fair in late August, featuring exhibits, livestock shows, midway rides, and a demolition derby. The town also hosts a Santa Claus Parade during the holiday season.

The Farmers' Market in Cobden, Ontario

Established in 1991, the Cobden Farmers' Market runs from May to October, offering a wide variety of locally grown produce, homemade baking, and crafts. The market, now located at the Cobden fairgrounds, is considered one of the best in the Ottawa Valley.

Cobden Park, Ontario: A Historical Landmark

Cobden Park, overlooking Muskrat Lake, is believed to be the spot where Champlain met the Native Chief Nibachis. A plaque commemorating this event was erected in the 1960s. The park, donated by Thomas Robinson and his wife in 1904, underwent extensive renovations in 1988.

Exploring Cobden, Ontario: From Airports to Water Parks

The Bruce McPhail Memorial Airport, home to The Champlain Flying Club, is located just south of the village on Highway 17. For water enthusiasts, Logos Land, a religious-based water park built on the site of the Astrolabe's discovery, is located about 5 miles east of Cobden. The park features water slides, paddle boats, mini-golf, and a representation of Noah's Ark.

The Legend of Mussie in Cobden, Ontario

Muskrat Lake is said to be home to Mussie, a Nessie-like creature. A wooden tribute to Mussie, built by previous store owner Doug Schauer, can be found in front of the local Home Hardware Store.

Ottawa Valley Pentecostal Camp in Cobden, Ontario

The Ottawa Valley Pentecostal Camp, a Christian-based family and children's camp located at the bottom of Muskrat Lake, hosts many local community events with its year-round facilities. Owned and operated by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, the camp is a popular summer destination for members of surrounding churches in the Ottawa area.