Renfrew, Ontario

Horton, Ontario Admaston/Bromley Ontario
Town of Renfrew
Raglan Street in the centre of Renfrew
Raglan Street in the centre of Renfrew
Renfrew is located in Southern Ontario
Location of Renfrew in the province of Ontario
Coordinates: 45°28′18″N 76°40′59″W / 45.47167°N 76.68306°W / 45.47167; -76.68306Coordinates: 45°28′18″N 76°40′59″W / 45.47167°N 76.68306°W / 45.47167; -76.68306
Country Canada
Province Ontario
IncorporatedJuly 27, 1858
 • MayorDon Eady
 • ReevePeter Emon
 • Land12.78 km2 (4.93 sq mi)
 • Total8,223
 • Density643.4/km2 (1,666/sq mi)
 • Dwellings
 • Pop. Growth (2011-2016)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Postal code FSA
Area code(s)613 & 343
Exchanges(432, 433, 570 exchange)
Highways Highway 17 / TCH
 Highway 60
 Highway 132

Renfrew is a town on the Bonnechere River in Renfrew County, Ontario, Canada. 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. It lies about 5 kilometres from the Quebec border, about 10 kilometres by road. Renfrew makes most of Canada’s hockey tape.


Named after Renfrewshire, Scotland, in approximately 1848,[2] 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.


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 has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) with four distinct seasons, warm summers, cold snowy winters and no dry season.[3]



First Language:



Historic Customs Building, now Renfrew's Post Office

Much 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.[11] 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 and promoted by Doug Gilmour in the early 1990s after becoming a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Times Fibre Canada and Madawaska Hardwood Flooring also have manufacturing facilities in town. Haley Industries located outside Renfrew near Haley Station is also a major employer in the area. 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 its east-end industrial park near Highway 17 due to the opening of several major big-box such as No Frills and Walmart and smaller retail stores.

Residents of the area await the twinning of Highway 17 to improve traffic flow and the safety of the highway due to numerous accidents along the corridor to North Bay, Ontario.

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.[12] 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.[12]


Renfrew County Catholic District School Board

Primary Schools (Grade K-7)

Secondary School (Grade 8-12)

Renfrew County District School Board

Primary Schools (Grade K-6)

Middle School (Grade 7-8)

Secondary School (Grade 9-12)

Famous residents



Low Square

Cenotaph located in Low Square

Low Square is located on Raglan Street in downtown Renfrew. The square is a park setting containing the cenotaph, and the Town Hall. The land was donated by the Honourable Thomas Low as a gift to the city for the purpose of constructing a cenotaph to honour local soldiers who died in The Great War. The Renfrew Police station (later the OPP detachment) was built on the back of the square in 1972, with a new town hall constructed in the 1980s. The police moved out of this building in February 2017 to a new location at 450 O'Brien Road.

McDougall Mill Museum

The McDougall Mill Museum on the Bonnechere River

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.[15]

Swinging Bridge

Renfrew Fire Department

In 1885, the W.H. Kearney family built a wire bridge across the Bonnechere River. The “swinging bridge”, now a town landmark made of wood and cable, is far safer and more secure than the original plank and wire structure.

Swinging Bridge over the Bonnechere River, Renfrew, Ontario

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.




Trinity St. Andrew's United Church
St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church

Health Care Facilities

The Victoria Hospital School of Nursing opened in 1902 with a capacity of 30 students, graduating 10 students per year. Nursing education moved under the jurisdiction of community colleges and the school was subsequently closed in 1965.


The Town of Renfrew is policed by the Ontario Provincial Police force.

Chief Bernard "Barney" McDermott had the job as Chief of Police in Renfrew from 1890 until his retirement in 1909 - he was a one man police force and was known to always "get his man". His living quarters were situated above the fire hall in Renfrew.

The Renfrew Police station (later the OPP detachment) was built on the back of Low Square in 1972.

The OPP operated out of their Stewart Street location from 1967 until moving into the Low Square detachment when the Town of Renfrew police service amalgamated with the OPP in 2000. The Renfrew and Arnprior detachments, who both faced the same fate of losing their own town operated forces, had their OPP detachments amalgamated in January 2013, and in February 2017, a new regional detachment was opened at 450 O'Brien Road in Renfrew. This new Renfrew detachment serves the towns of Arnprior, Renfrew, and the townships of Greater Madawaska, McNab-Braeside, Admaston-Bromley, Horton and about half of Whitewater Region Township.

Public Library

The Renfrew Public Library had rather simple beginnings; a group of residents discussing the latest philosophies and varied topics in William Dickson's cobbler shop which opened up in 1845 near the current location of the post office. After gathering up a few books in 1852, Mr. Dickson, Mr. Archie Thompson, and local lawyer, Mr. Elkanah Billings formed the Renfrew Mechanics Institute and Library Association, which lasted for about fifteen years before being revitalized in 1870 by a new group of people. By the end of the century, the Institute emerged as a newly formed Public Library Board and the books were moved to the Barnet Block at 282 Raglan Street, above what was James Clark's drugstore. The current building located at 13 Railway Avenue, was opened in 1920 with financial support from the Carnegie Institute, and in 1959, the Children's Library was established in the completely renovated basement. In the 1980s, the library became wheelchair accessible by an addition at the east and south side of the building, which also expanded the research and reading area into the second floor of the adjacent building at 161 Raglan Street.



The town's main sports complex, Ma-te-way Centre was built in 1989 replacing the ageing Renfrew Arena.[16]


The Renfrew Golf Club was founded in 1929, as nine holes, and was expanded to 18 holes in the mid-1970s.


One of the four original teams in the National Hockey Association, the precursor to the NHL, was based in Renfrew. The Renfrew Creamery Kings sought 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 Creamery Kings played two seasons of hockey in the NHA, 1911 and 1912, until M. J. O'Brien pulled out to pursue his interests in the railway.[17]

Renfrew Timberwolves is the town's hockey team since 1987, but the team can trace its roots back to 1968 as the Renfrew Lions or Renfrew Junior Timberwolves. The current team plays in the Central Canada Hockey League Tier 2.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Renfrew, Town". Statistics Canada. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  2. ^ MORRISON, K.L. "Renfrew". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  3. ^ Natural Resources Canada (1957). "Climate Regions (Köppen) Map". The Atlas of Canada. Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  4. ^ Environment Canada. "Canadian Climate Normals 1971-2000 – Renfrew, Ontario". Government of Canada. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  5. ^ "2016 Community Profiles". 2016 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 21, 2017.
  6. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". 2011 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  7. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". 2006 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  8. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". 2001 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012.
  9. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006 census
  10. ^ "Renfrew census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  11. ^ Renfrew County Fact Sheet – Renfrew Archived 2007-02-03 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b Statistics Canada Community Profile - Renfrew - 2001
  13. ^ Davies, W. H. (2011). The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp. Brooklyn: Melville House Publishing. pp. 138-144. ISBN 978-1-61219-022-8.
  14. ^ 434 Squadron, Honors and Awards, citing Spence's Distinguished Flying Cross citation. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
  15. ^ Ottawa Valley Guide: McDougall Mill. Retrieved 21 August 2007.
  16. ^ Newman, Steve (September 4, 2014). "25 years and counting at the Ma-Te-Way Activity Centre". Renfrew Mercury. Metroland Media. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  17. ^ "The History of the National Hockey Association and the National Hockey League". Archived from the original on July 26, 2011.