Discover Eganville, Ontario: The Ordovician Fossil Capital of Canada
Eganville, Ontario, is a unique community nestled in a deep limestone valley carved at the Fifth Chute of the Bonnechere River in Renfrew County, Canada. This charming town lies within the township of Bonnechere Valley and is renowned as the Ordovician Fossil Capital of Canada.
Eganville, Ontario: A Fossil Hunter's Paradise
Eganville is a treasure trove for fossil enthusiasts, boasting a rich collection of fossils from approximately 500 million years ago, a time before dinosaurs roamed the earth. Visitors can discover a variety of fossils, including coral, crinoids, trilobites, cephalopods, gastropods, pelecypods, stromatolites, and brachiopods.
The Bonnechere Valley, where Eganville is located, serves as a gateway to some of north-eastern Ontario's most well-known tourist destinations, including the nearby Bonnechere Caves. These caves, located under a hill of limestone, are said by geologists to have been the bottom of a tropical sea 500 million years ago.
The Bonnechere Museum, in partnership with the Bonnechere Caves, offers fossil hunts four times during the summer season. These events allow visitors to practice finding fossils and even take one home if they find a good one. Eganville also features a Geo-Heritage Walking Trail along the Bonnechere River, which includes a fossil pit, an old quarry, a trench, wild plants, and scenic lookouts.
Eganville, Ontario: A Gateway to Central Ontario
Eganville serves as a stop to destinations into central Ontario. Ontario Highway 41, which runs north–south from Pembroke to Napanee, intersects with Ontario Highway 60 in Eganville. The town is the fifth of five chutes along the Bonnechere River, the others being Castleford, Renfrew, Douglas, and Fourth Chute. These chutes were historically used for moving timber past rapids and waterfalls.
The History of Eganville, Ontario
The first settler in Eganville was Gregoire Belanger in 1825, who built the first lumber shanty on the Bonnechere River. The area was then sold to James Wadsworth in 1826, who named it "New Fairfield Farm". Wadsworth later sold the area to John Egan, a lumberman and politician, who is the namesake of Eganville.
The power of the river has been harnessed since 1848, but it was John Egan's grist mill that is credited for stimulating the town's growth. After his death in 1857, his family ran the business for ten years before selling it to James Bonfield and Robert Turner. Eganville's post office dates from 1852.
In 1911, a major fire destroyed many of the buildings in Eganville, including 75 homes, schools, churches, and industries along both sides of the Bonnechere River. A year later, the village post office was erected and used for almost a century. It was then used as the Municipal building. This building has since become the home of the Bonnechere Museum and is one of the best-known symbols of Eganville.
Eganville was incorporated as a Village in the 1890s and remained an independent municipality until it was amalgamated with the Townships of Grattan, Sebastopol, and South Algona to form the Township of Bonnechere Valley in 2001.