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Renfrew, Ontario

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Renfrew, Ontario, Canada, is a town on the Bonnechere River in Renfrew County. Located one hour west of Ottawa in Eastern Ontario, Renfrew is the third largest town in the county after Petawawa and Pembroke. The town is a small transportation hub connecting Highway 60 and Highway 132 with the Trans-Canada Highway. Renfrew is also known historically for its role in the formation of the National Hockey League.


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Renfrew, OntarioNamed after the town of Renfrew in Scotland, Renfrew was settled largely in part due to logging in the area in the early 19th century, where the river was used in order to drive the lumber to locations such as Ottawa. This heritage was until recently celebrated every July with the Lumber Baron Festival.


The Town of Renfrew and surrounding area offers a variety of unique tourist attractions and things to do! This four season playground provides breath-taking sites, exciting attractions, delicious meals, and pristine camping that the whole family will enjoy. From thrill seekers to tranquil relaxing, the Town of Renfrew and Area will certainly please! Visit the Renfrew Visitor Information Centre for more information!


Renfrew and the surrounding Township of Horton are 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.


Renfrew County District School Board

Primary Schools (Grade K-6)

  • Admaston Public School
  • Central Public School
  • Queen Elizabeth Public School

Middle School (Grade 7-8)

  • Renfrew Collegate Intermediate School

Secondary School (Grade 9-12)

  • Renfrew Collegiate Institute

Renfrew County Catholic District School Board

Primary Schools (Grade K-7)

  • St. Thomas Catholic School
  • Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School

Secondary School (Grade 8-12)

  • St. Joseph's Catholic High School


Renfrew EconomyMuch of Renfrew's current prosperity can be attributed to its status as an economic centre for a surrounding rural region with a population of over 30,000. Renfrew is also an important stop for Ottawa-based cottagers and outdoor enthusiasts passing by on their way to nearby whitewater rafting, boating, camping, hunting, golfing, fishing, snowmobiling, down-hill skiing, and cross-country skiing. However, the area's largest single employers are the Renfrew Victoria Hospital and the Bonnechere Manor. In addition to numerous small employers, there are also several manufacturing facilities employing several hundred people; Scapa Tapes Renfrew, formerly Renfrew Tape makes products such as hockey tape that is used across North America and the duct tape brand featured on the discontinued Red Green Show. Times Fibre Canada and Madawaska Hardwood Flooring also have manufacturing facilities in town. Renfrew is also home to many successful small businesses. Between 2000 and 2005, a major portion of Renfrew's retail business, and the associated customer services jobs, shifted from the west-end Renfrew mall (now demolished) to the east-end formally-industrial park due to the opening of several major big-box and smaller retail stores just off Highway.

Despite the apparent prosperity, Statistics Canada reported the average earnings of Renfrew residents in 2000 as $35,811, or roughly 31% lower than the provincial average and 5% lower than the county average. Further, the town reports, relative to the population size and compared to the province as a whole, fewer positions in management, business, finance, administration and natural or applied sciences, while there was greater than the provincial rates of occupation in sales and service, trades, transport and equipment operators, processing, manufacturing and utilities.


Birthplace of the NHL

The town of Renfrew makes the claim to be the birthplace of the NHL. One of the four original teams in the National Hockey Association, the precursor to the NHL, was based in Renfrew. The Renfrew Millionaires, fought to be allowed to play in the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association, but with no success. The team's owner M. J. O'Brien eventually financed and put together his own league, the NHA. The Renfrew Millionaires played two seasons of hockey in the NHA, 1911 and 1912, until M. J. O'Brien pulled out to pursue his interests in the railroad.


  • Renfrew Mercury (external link)
  • My FM (external link)
  • TVCogeco
  • CJHR-FM 98.7, Valley Heritage Radio (external link)

The O'Brien Theatre was a balconied and elegantly decorated town landmark that was converted from a live theatre to a movie theatre, then upgraded in the 1990s to accommodate two screens, but maintains much of the original appeal.


  • Renfrew AreaRenfrew was the bi-annual host and sponsor of the Ottawa Valley Lumber Baron Festival, a celebration of the town's roots in the logging industry. The Lumber Baron Festival is now known as Valleyfest, dropping its historical roots.
  • The Renfrew Fair has been drawing mixed crowds for decades with its mid-way rides, exhibits, demolition derby, musical acts and livestock showcase. The fair takes place on the second weekend of every September and lasts from Wednesday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. The rides are supplied by the company Conklin Shows.
  • In recent years, local farm-owner Andy Taylor has hosted FarmJam, a twelve-hour festival featuring varying musical acts.
  • In 2008, Renfrew celebrated its sesquicentennial throughout the calendar year.


Renfrew's Museum, the McDougall Mill Museum

John Lorn McDougall, politician and fur trader, built the mill in 1855 by the Bonnechere River near the town landmark Swinging Bridge and overlooking natural rapids below the Renfrew Power Generation generating station. It has been converted into a museum, sometimes referred to as 'Renfrew Museum', not to be confused with museums of that name in Pennsylvania and Scotland. The McDougall Mill Museum houses pioneer tools and machinery, a military section, a doll exhibit, as well as toys, Victorian clothing and household items.


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Toronto Office
2273 Dundas Street West
Toronto ON  M6R-1X6
(416) 534-3511