Discover Pembroke, Ontario: A Blend of History and Attractions

Pembroke, a city nestled in the Canadian province of Ontario, is a charming destination where the Muskrat River and the Ottawa River converge. As the administrative headquarters of Renfrew County, Pembroke is a politically independent city located 145 kilometres northwest of Ottawa.

The Historical Journey of Pembroke, Ontario

The first European settler to the area now known as Pembroke was Daniel Fraser in 1823. The land, originally granted to Abel Ward, was later sold to Fraser, and the nearby Fraser Street is named after the family. Pembroke, originally named Miramichi, became a police village in 1856.

The city is indirectly named after Sidney Herbert, First Admiralty Secretary from 1841 to 1845 and son of George Herbert, 11th Earl of Pembroke. Pembroke was incorporated as a town in 1878 and as a city in 1971. It was named seat for Renfrew County in 1861, leading to the construction of the Renfrew County Courthouse in 1867.

From 2005 to 2007, the courthouse and jail were re-constructed into one building, and historic renovations were also completed. Visitors can view original 1867 jail cells in the basement, and the original courtroom, complete with a huge replica of the original brass light fixture.

Attractions in Pembroke, Ontario

Pembroke is home to 30 historic murals in the downtown area depicting the city's history. The Champlain Trail Pioneer Village and Museum bring the history of Ottawa Valley settlers to life with fully furnished schoolhouse, pioneer log home, and church — all built in the 1800s.

The Pembroke Hydro Museum commemorates national hydro-electric development in Pembroke, including the first electric streetlights and the first municipal building with electric lights.

The city hosts an annual Old Time Fiddling and Step Dancing Festival at Riverside Park during Labour Day weekend. Pembroke also boasts a 600 plus seat community arts facility, Festival Hall Center of the Arts, which hosts various local productions and top Canadian artists during the year.

Demographics of Pembroke, Ontario

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Pembroke had a population of 14,364 living in 6,542 of its 6,888 total private dwellings, a change of 3.5% from its 2016 population of 13,882. With a land area of 14.32 km2, it had a population density of 1,003.1/km2 in 2021.

Forest Fire Protection History in Pembroke, Ontario

The Pembroke Forest Fire District was founded by Ontario's former Department of Lands and Forests in 1922 as one of 17 districts to help protect Ontario's forests from fire by early detection from fire towers. The headquarters for the district were housed in the town. These towers were phased out after aerial fire fighting techniques were employed in the 1970s.