Discover Renfrew, Ontario: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty

Renfrew, Ontario, a charming town nestled on the Bonnechere River, is a hidden gem in Renfrew County. Just an hour west of Ottawa, Renfrew is the fourth largest town in the county, following Petawawa, Pembroke, and Arnprior. Known for its historical significance in the formation of the National Hockey League, Renfrew is also a small transportation hub, connecting Highway 60 and Highway 132 with the Trans-Canada Highway.

The Rich History of Renfrew, Ontario

Renfrew was named after Renfrewshire, Scotland, around 1848. The town's growth was largely due to logging in the area in the early 19th century. The river was used to transport lumber to various locations, including Ottawa. This heritage was celebrated every July with the Lumber Baron Festival until recently.

The Geography of Renfrew, Ontario

Renfrew and the surrounding Township of Horton are located at the intersection of the Bonnechere River and the Ottawa River in the Ottawa Valley. Renfrew is at the intersection of provincial Highway 17, Highway 60, and Highway 132. The town is the second of five chutes along the Bonnechere River, with the others being Castleford, Douglas, Fourth Chute, and Eganville. These chutes were used for moving timber past rapids and waterfalls.

The Climate of Renfrew, Ontario

Renfrew experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) with four distinct seasons, warm summers, cold snowy winters, and no dry season.

The Demographics of Renfrew, Ontario

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Renfrew had a population of 8,190 living in 3,954 of its 4,117 total private dwellings. This was a slight decrease of -0.4% from its 2016 population of 8,223. With a land area of 12.81 km2 (4.95 sq mi), it had a population density of 639.3/km2 (1,655.9/sq mi) in 2021. The majority of the population speaks English as their first language (91.8%), followed by French (4.0%).

Festivals in Renfrew, Ontario

Renfrew was the annual host and sponsor of the Ottawa Valley Lumber Baron Festival, a celebration of the town's roots in the logging industry. The festival has since been renamed Valleyfest. The Renfrew Fair, held on the second weekend of every September, draws crowds with its mid-way rides, exhibits, demolition derby, musical acts, and livestock showcase. The town also hosts a Blue Grass music festival every year in the middle of July. In 2008, Renfrew celebrated its sesquicentennial throughout the calendar year.

Landmarks in Renfrew, Ontario

Low Square

Low Square, located at the corner of Raglan Street and Railway Avenue in downtown Renfrew, is a park setting containing the cenotaph and the Town Hall. The square was donated and landscaped by the Honourable Thomas Low in 1918 as a gift to the town to honour local soldiers who died in The Great War.

McDougall Mill Museum

The McDougall Mill Museum, built in 1855 by politician and fur trader John Lorn McDougall, houses pioneer tools and machinery, a military section, a doll exhibit, as well as toys, Victorian clothing, and household items.

Swinging Bridge

The Swinging Bridge, built in 1885 by the W.H. Kearney family, is a town landmark made of wood and cable. Reconstructed in 1983 by the Town of Renfrew and updated in 2015, it is one of three swinging bridges in Canada and provides an excellent view of the Bonnechere River and the power generation plant.

Services in Renfrew, Ontario

Post Office

The Renfrew Post Office, built in 1908, is a major landmark on Renfrew's main thoroughfare. The building, built in the Romanesque Revival style, has shared use of the post office, customs and revenue offices, and the NHA/NHL Birthplace Museum.

Public Library

The Renfrew Public Library, which had humble beginnings in a cobbler shop in 1845, is now located at 13 Railway Avenue. The current building was opened in 1920 with financial support from the Carnegie Institute. The library became wheelchair accessible in the 1980s with an addition at the east and south side of the building.