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Town of Arnprior
John Street, Arnprior
John Street, Arnprior
"The 'Prior'"
Arnprior is located in Southern Ontario
Coordinates: 45°26′N 76°21′W / 45.433°N 76.350°W / 45.433; -76.350Coordinates: 45°26′N 76°21′W / 45.433°N 76.350°W / 45.433; -76.350
Established (timber industry)1851
Incorporated (Village)1862 (1862)
Incorporated (Town)1892
 • TypeTown
 • MayorWalter Stack
 • Town (lower-tier)13.07 km2 (5.05 sq mi)
 • Urban
18.07 km2 (6.98 sq mi)
74.2 m (243.4 ft)
 • Town (lower-tier)8,795
 • Density672.7/km2 (1,742/sq mi)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC−05:00 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−04:00 (EDT)
Postal Code FSA
Area code(s)613, 343

Arnprior is a town in Renfrew County, in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario, Canada. It is located at the confluence of the Madawaska River and the Ottawa River in the Ottawa Valley. Arnprior has experienced significant growth in populations with the widening of the 417 Provincial Highway to four lanes. The Town experienced an increase in population by 8.4% from 2011 to 2016, at which time its population was 8,795.[2] The town is a namesake of Arnprior, Scotland, and is known for lumber, hydro power generation, aerospace, farming and its proximity to the National Capital Region.


The land occupied by what's now called Arnprior is part of the traditional territory of the Algonquin nation of indigenous North Americans. The first European explorers, led by Samuel de Champlain, first visited the area in May 1613.

In 1823, a 1,200-acre (490 ha) surveyed block was ceded to Archibald McNab and given the eponymous name, McNab Township. McNab had approval from the Family Compact to treat the settlers on his land in the feudal manner practised in Scotland. In 1831 the town was named by the Buchanan Brothers after McNab's ancestral home of Arnprior, Scotland.

Tired of the harsh treatment, the settlers revolted and, after a government investigation, McNab was forced to vacate the area in 1841.[3] Arnprior, Braeside and McNab township grew as separate communities and boomed when they became integrated into eastern Ontario's massive timber industry.

One of the most successful businessmen of the upper Ottawa was Daniel McLachlin, who built a massive sawmill at the confluence of the Madawaska and Ottawa Rivers, and expanded the community of Arnprior.[4] The lumber industry maintained a significant position until the closing of the Gillies Mill.[5] One of the most enduring structures of the day was a grist mill built by the Buchanans on the west bank of the Madawaska River.

By 1869, Arnprior was an Incorporated Village with a population of 2,000 in the Township of McNab. It was on the Brockville and Ottawa Railway at the junction of the Madawaska and Ottawa Rivers. The average price of land $20 to $40.[6]

The grey stone building served many purposes after it stopped being used as a grist mill, finally being operated as a restaurant and a gas station, first by the Beattie and then the Baird families, ending in 1974. The facility has been bought by Ontario Hydro prior to the restructuring on the bridge and the creation of a new weir to control the river. The building was consumed by fire in 1976. The forests of the period are represented in the Grove which is an excellent example of indigenous forest, grown after a fire in the 18th century. With individual specimens reaching 175 ft (53 m), these are the tallest white pines in Ontario.[7]

John Street, 1906

Arnprior was incorporated as a village in 1862. Thirty years later (in 1892), it was incorporated as a town.

On 8 June 1944 a Castle-class corvette, HMS Rising Castle, was recommissioned as HMCS Arnprior until 1946.[8]

Arnprior became a recognized name in the numismatic trade. This has a special link to a local employer. In 1955 Playtex ordered some silver dollars for their employees. These coins are later found to show only two and one-half water lines instead of four to the right of the canoe. This variety becomes known as the Arnprior dollar.

The history of Arnprior is preserved and documented at the Arnprior and District Museum[9] (located in the former post office building and library) and the Arnprior and McNab/Braeside Archives,[10] located next door in the basement of the public library. The sandstone building is the defining element in local architecture


Lumber conveyor in Arnprior, 1921

Arnprior has drawn new business to Eastern Ontario. Proximity to the city of Ottawa, easy access to highway 417, access to a local airport, full services and infrastructure have contributed to making Arnprior the location for multinational corporations including Arnprior Aerospace Inc,

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada Inc, Nylene Canada Inc, Pacific Safety Products, Pillar 5 Pharma, Sandvik Materials Technology Canada, and a host of other innovative businesses.[11]

The Arnprior and Area Chamber of Commerce has over 100 members and is a support and advocate for many of the corporations and small to medium-sized businesses within the Arnprior Area.[12]

Some of the major corporations and top employers:

The lumber trade continued in the form of the Gillies sawmill in nearby McNab Township until its closing in 1993. Pictures of the early days of the lumbering industry are seen at the online Charles Macnamara Retrospective.[13]

Kenwood Mills, initially a blanket manufacturer which developed woven fabrics for the pulp and paper industry, was a significant employer in Arnprior and was bought in 1918 by Huyck Corporation. It was a strong contributor to Arnprior remaining viable during the Depression.[14] The building has now been renovated into the Kenwood Corporate Centre which houses a number of offices, warehouse spaces, conference rooms, a café and a gym.[15]

Sullivan and Sons and Smith Construction companies were significant economic drivers and employers based in Arnprior. In 2014 they celebrated their 100th year in business and continue to be a major employer in the town and a large community supporter.[16]

Arnprior Airport was built for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and hosted No. 3 Flying Instructor School for the. Post war, the facility was used by the Canadian military and a training base known as the Civil Defence College,[17] later known as the Emergency Measures Training Centre.[18] The airport, operated by Arnprior Airport Commission, still operates with two runways for land-based aircraft and Arnprior Water Aerodrome with a dock and fuelling station for floatplanes. The airport property also houses many private hangars and a skydiving company.[19]

The Arnprior Generating Station

After the Second World War, companies such as Playtex, Pfizer and Boeing came to Arnprior. Boeing Aircraft Company began manufacturing in 1955 and maintained an operation until selling to Arnprior Aerospace in October 2005.

The Madawaska River at McEwen's Creek was dammed to create a hydro generating station[20] with approval given in 1972. The dam, which became operational in 1976, has created a new body of water known as Lake Madawaska. This was the fifth and last dam to be built on the Madawaska River and they have a total generating capacity of 614 MW.


Climate data for Arnprior (1981−2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.0
Average high °C (°F) −6.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −11.5
Average low °C (°F) −16.0
Record low °C (°F) −38.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 56.7
Average rainfall mm (inches) 19.2
Average snowfall cm (inches) 37.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 9.2 6.8 7.7 8.3 9.7 9.3 9.3 7.9 9.7 9.9 9.0 8.7 105.5
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 2.2 1.8 3.5 7.4 9.7 9.3 9.3 7.9 9.7 9.5 7.4 2.6 80.2
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 7.5 5.2 4.4 1.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 2.1 6.3 27.3
Source: Environment Canada[21]


Agriculture has been a fixture surrounding Arnprior since the arrival of McNab's Scottish immigrants. The farming tradition has been celebrated by the Arnprior Fair since 1854.[22]

Health care

Arnprior has been served since 1945 by the Arnprior and District Memorial Hospital.[23]


Arnprior's mayor is Walter Stack, who was first elected in 2018.[24]

Arnprior is within the Federal riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, represented by Cheryl Gallant of the Conservative Party of Canada since the year 2000.

Provincially, it is in the equivalent electoral district of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, represented by John Yakabuski of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, who was first elected in 2003.


Arnprior has a reputation for hosting large scale regional and national events including the 2008 Telus CupMidget Championship, the 2010 Canadian Broomball Championship, the 2012 World Broomball Championships and the 2013 Women's Hockey Championships.[25] In 2014, Arnprior hosted the Association of Ontario Road Supervisors Annual Trade Show, and furthermore, Arnprior was the second last stop on Clara's Big Ride[26] which featured six time Olympic Medalist Clara Hughes on her 12,000 km (7,500 mi) cross country bike journey to raise awareness and end the stigma of mental health. Arnprior also hosted the North American Orienteering Championships in fall 2014.

Hockey is the only municipally sponsored sport in Arnprior. The Arnprior Packers represent the town in the Central Canada Hockey League Tier 2, which is the town's highest level of competition in this sport. The games are played at the Nick Smith Centre[27] which features two year round ice rinks, a 25-metre indoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and a community hall with kitchen. The two ice rinks each have ice surface measuring 200 ft × 85 ft (61 m × 26 m). Arena 'A' seating capacity of over 2,000; standing and seated 4,000 capacity.

Curling was established as an open-air sport in the Arnprior area, around 1865. The Arnprior Curling Club now occupies a 4-sheet building on Galvin Street (est. 1970).[28] The highest level of competition hosted by the club are the Valley League and the Low Cup.


The only print media dedicated to Arnprior is the Arnprior Chronicle-Guide.[29] The EMC Newspaper was bought by Metroland Media Group in 2011.[30] There is no independent, non-syndicated media coverage of Arnprior available in print form. Oldies 107.7 radio broadcasts from Arnprior to Renfrew, Ontario and is the only Arnprior local radio station.


Elgin Street in Arnprior in 2014

Arnprior is located on the Trans-Canada Highway system, where Highway 417 to the east becomes the two-lane Highway 17 to the west. The town is served by the Arnprior Airport, elevation 108 m (355 ft), and the nearby Arnprior Water Aerodrome, elevation 100 m (330 ft), for general aviation; although there is no longer commercial aviation at the airport.

Arnprior has a long history with railways. The Canada Central Railway reached Arnprior on December 6, 1864.[31] On Easter Sunday, March 23, 1880, a change to standard gauge brought the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) main line. Later the Canadian National Railway (CNR) came and, through the majority of the 20th century, Arnprior was served by both major Canadian railways. The CNR tracks were pulled up and the right-of-way is used as a walking trail. In June 2012, CPR removed its tracks throughout the county.

The town is located at the confluence of the Ottawa and Madawaska rivers. It is cut off from the lower Ottawa River and the Saint Lawrence Seaway by the Chats rapids, and now the Chats Falls Generating Station. Following exploration, travel and transportation was by canoe: the Ottawa River by Arnprior was a main route for the fur trade.


With Arnprior's central location between the National Capital Region and the Ottawa Valley it offers visitors and residents alike access to the entertainment and events of the city as well as access to nationally recognized outdoor activities all within a short travel time.[32]

Arnprior has several historical landmarks together with the many required modern conveniences, including shopping, hospital, recreation, restaurants, water sport facilities, and beaches. Arnprior has been recognized by the prestigious Communities in Bloom organization as the top community in its class for its heritage conservation, landscaping, beautification, tidiness, environmental efforts and community involvement.[33]

Arnprior's recreation facilities include four walking trails,[33] a marina,[34] three ball diamonds, civic centre with two year-round ice surfaces and indoor pool, a curling rink,[35] two municipal beaches, 14 parks covering 126.6 acres (512,000 m2),[36] and an airport that offers charter tours, skydiving and flying lessons.[19]

Arnprior also has a large number of cultural groups include historical organizations, live theatre, chamber music, dance & choir, service clubs and an active artistic community with numerous studio tours and exhibits.[37]

Some main attractions for the town are:

Galilee Centre, which is the former McLachlin Estate along the Ottawa River, is a holistic spiritual life centre that hosts programs, groups and individuals. On site is a Royal Oak planted in 1860 by His Royal Highness, Edward Prince of Wales.[45]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b "Census Profile, 2016 Census Arnprior, Town [Census subdivision], Ontario". Statistics Canada. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  2. ^ Studios, Blue North. "Economic Development Data - Ottawa Valley Economic Development". Ottawavalleyeconomicdevelopment.com.
  3. ^ "Upper Canada". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on June 19, 2008.
  4. ^ Cross, Michael S. (1972). "McLachlin, Daniel". In Hayne, David (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. X (1871–1880) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  5. ^ "David Armitage Gillies". Archived from the original on March 6, 2008.
  6. ^ The province of Ontario gazetteer and directory. H. McEvoy Editor and Compiler, Toronto : Robertson & Cook, Publishers, 1869
  7. ^ a b "Natural Areas Report: Gillies Grove". Archived from the original on August 2, 2007.
  8. ^ "HMCS Arnprior". navy.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 2011-10-02.
  9. ^ Virtual Museum of Canada, "Arnprior and District Museum". Last updated July 5, 2004. Retrieved March 6, 2007.
  10. ^ Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives, "AMBA". Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  11. ^ "Come Grow With Us" (PDF). Town of Arnprior. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-23. Retrieved 2015-06-22.
  12. ^ "Greater Arnprior Chamber of Commerce – Your Business is our Business". Gacc.ca.
  13. ^ "Charles Mcnamara - A Retrospective". VirtualMuseum.ca. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  14. ^ Arnprior and District Archives, The Town and the Mill (Motion Picture Film) Archived 2010-09-17 at the Wayback Machine, description of archival holdings. Retrieved March 7, 2007.
  15. ^ "Home". Kenwoodcorp.ca. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  16. ^ "M J Sullivan and Sons". Archived from the original on 2008-10-13.
  17. ^ "CBC Archives". Archives.cbc.ca. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Emergency Measures Training Centre". Archived from the original on 2011-01-09.
  19. ^ a b "Airport – The Town of Arnprior". arnprior.ca.
  20. ^ "Ontario Power Generation - Arnprior Generating Station". Opg.com.
  21. ^ "Arnprior Grandon". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Archived from the original on July 22, 2019. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  22. ^ Arnprior Fair Archived 2008-08-10 at the Wayback Machine (WP:PRIMARY)
  23. ^ Arnprior & District Memorial Hospital Archived 2007-04-03 at the Wayback Machine (WP:PRIMARY)
  24. ^ "2018 Municipal & School Board Election Results" (PDF). Town of Arnprior. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  25. ^ https://www.hockeycanada.ca/en-ca/news/2013-nr-015-en Hockey Women's World Championship]
  26. ^ "Bell Let's Talk". Letstalk.bell.ca. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  27. ^ "Nick Smith Centre". Archived from the original on 2008-06-09.
  28. ^ "Arnprior Curling Club History". Archived from the original on 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2008-06-22. Arnprior Curling Club history site at the OVCA
  29. ^ InsideOttawaValle.com
  30. ^ "InsideOttawaValley.com". Metroland Media Group. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  31. ^ Constituents of Canadian Pacific Railway in Southern Ontario Archived 2007-02-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  32. ^ "Nearby Attractions – The Town of Arnprior". arnprior.ca.
  33. ^ a b c "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-23. Retrieved 2015-06-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ "Marina – The Town of Arnprior". arnprior.ca.
  35. ^ "Nick Smith Centre – The Town of Arnprior". arnprior.ca.
  36. ^ "Parks – The Town of Arnprior". arnprior.ca.
  37. ^ "Community Services & Resources – The Town of Arnprior". Arnprior.ca. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  38. ^ "Arnprior Market". arnprior.ca. The Town of Arnprior.
  39. ^ "Parks – The Town of Arnprior". arnprior.ca.
  40. ^ "Ontario's natural skyscraper". Nature Conservancy Canada. Archived from the original on 2015-06-23. Retrieved 2015-06-22.
  41. ^ "Arnprior & District Museum – The Town of Arnprior". Arnprior.ca. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  42. ^ "Events – The Town of Arnprior". arnprior.ca.
  43. ^ "Arnprior White Pine Festival". Archived from the original on 2015-06-23. Retrieved 2015-06-22.
  44. ^ "New Arnprior Fair Website – Where Friends Meet". Arnpriorfair.ca. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  45. ^ "History – Galilee Centre". Galileecentre.com. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  46. ^ "National Team - Canada Snowboard". Canada Snowboard.