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North America > Canada > Ontario > Eastern Ontario > Ottawa Valley > Pembroke (Ontario)

Pembroke

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Pembroke is a city of 14,000 (2016) in Ontario's Ottawa Valley on the Quebec border. The city is 40 km (25 miles) east of Algonquin Provincial Park on the Trans-Canada Highway from North Bay to Ottawa.

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

The first European settler to the area now known as Pembroke was Daniel Fraser in 1823, who squatted on land that was discovered to have been granted to a man named Abel Ward. Ward later sold the land (where Moncion's Metro Supermarket is located) to Fraser, and nearby Fraser Street is named after the family. Peter White, a veteran of the Royal Navy arrived in 1828, squatting beside Fraser on the land where Dairy Queen is now located. Other settlers followed, attracted by the growing lumbering operations of the area.

Pembroke is indirectly named after Sidney Herbert, First Admiralty Secretary from 1841 to 1845 and son of George Herbert, 11th Earl of Pembroke.

Pembroke was named seat for Renfrew County in 1861. This set the stage for construction shortly thereafter on the Renfrew County Courthouse, which was finished in 1867, and the arrival of many civil servants, much wealth and much construction. In the 20-year period following 1861, Pembroke became the city it is today in terms of layout and buildings, although many homes and other structures have been lost to time.

Other historic buildings that survive in Pembroke include a historic synagogue, two original hospitals, the Dunlop mansion (Grey Gables Manor Bed & Breakfast), the 'Munroe Block' downtown, and two houses belonging to the White family. A fire in 1918 downtown destroyed many buildings, including the Pembroke Opera House.

Get in[edit]

By bus[edit]

  • 1 Greyhound, Laundromat Plus, 425-B Pembroke St. E (Behind Moncion's Grocers), +1 613-732-2865. 8AM-9PM. Three buses daily to Ottawa, three to North Bay, one to Toronto.

By car[edit]

Pembroke is on the Trans-Canada Highway (Ontario 17), 160km (100 mi) west of Ottawa and 215 km (135 mi) east of North Bay.

Pembroke is about 400 km (255 mi) northeast of Toronto; there are various possible routes, but going through Peterborough (Hwys 7 or 115) and Bancroft (Hwy 28 to Hwy 41) is shorter than staying on 7 or 401 right to Highway 41 (Napanee).

By boat[edit]

Pembroke is on the Ottawa River. The river is not continuously navigable from Ottawa westward due to rapids at multiple points.

  • Pembroke Marina, Waterfront Park, 11 Albert St., +1 613-735-6821 ext 1505. Boat launch, docking, power, fuel, oil, river charts, pump-out, public washrooms, boater showers and laundry facility.

Get around[edit]

Map of Pembroke (Ontario)

Pembroke is small enough that almost everything is within comfortable walking or cycling distance.

  • Autobus Thom Transit. Two in-town bus routes (one east, one west) run M-F 7:30AM-5:30PM on behalf of the city, no evening or weekend service.

Taxis are common and cheaper than big cities for moving around within the city and to nearby towns. Calling a taxi service - by using a phone book or asking a store owner to do so - will save time over trying to hail one.

See[edit]

  • 1 Champlain Trail Museum and Pioneer Village, 1032 Pembroke St. E., +1 613-735-0517, fax: +1 613-629-5067. Seasonal (late May-September) historic museum. Displays and artefacts from the area's past, school house, log pioneer home and other period buildings. $6.
  • Heritage Murals. Twenty-five murals within the city depict numerous aspects of local culture and history.
  • 2 Murray L Moore Hydro Museum, 283 Pembroke St. W., +1 613-732-3687. M-F 9AM-4PM, year-round. Housed in the original diesel room of the Pembroke Electric Light Co, a collection of original light fixtures and artefacts dates to the October 8, 1884 illumination of the very first street lights in Canada on Pembroke Street. Free.
  • 3 Renfrew County Courthouse, 297 Pembroke Street East. Visitors on weekdays can view original 1867 jail cells in the basement, and the original courtroom, complete with a huge replica of the original brass light fixture. County meetings were held here for many years. Three hangings occurred at the indoor gallows inside the Courthouse, two in the 1870s and one in 1952. Renfrew County Courthouse on Wikipedia Renfrew County Courthouse (Q7313162) on Wikidata

Do[edit]

Monument to the pointer boat
  • Kiwanis Waterfront Trail. A 1½-km trail which follows the waterfront from the city's marina to Riverside Park. Includes outdoor theatre, historic "pointer boat" monument, outdoor chapel and lookout points.
  • Pansy Patch Park, Dickson St. off Mackay St.. Ten-acre horticultural garden with walking and cycling trails.
  • Some of the world's best whitewater rafting and kayaking is available east of Pembroke, near the village of Beachburg, by several different companies. A variety of packages are available - inquire within the city.

Buy[edit]

  • Pembroke Mall (East End Mall), 1100 Pembroke St. E., +1 613-735-0060. M-F 9:30AM-9PM, Sa 9:30AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Indoor mall with fifty stores, cinema, food court.
  • Pembroke West End Mall, 1200 Pembroke St W, +1 613-735-0638. A shadow of its former self (now that K-Mart and its replacement, Zellers, are both gone) but has a dozen stores including a grocer, dollar store and a restaurant.

Eat[edit]

  • Colborne’s Fish & Chips, 282 Christie Street, +1 613-735-5280. For a little taste of authentic Pembroke cuisine try the deep-fried Mars bars from Colbourne's chip truck, located on Christie street.
  • JJ's Restaurant & Tap, 601 Pembroke Street E., +1 613-732-8978. Burgers, pizza, bar and grill
  • Ullrich's on Main, 214 Pembroke St. W., +1 613-735-6025. German deli, lunch bistro, eat in or take out.

Drink[edit]

Two bars popular with locals are located near City Hall on Pembroke St.

  • Shot’s Sports Tap’ n’ Grill, 185 Pembroke St. E., +1 613-732-7521. Serves free hotdogs on Friday nights.

Sleep[edit]

Usually, no reservations are necessary, except possibly during major hockey tournaments (weekends in November and early December). There are also several B&Bs on the outskirts of town.

Hotels and motels[edit]

Camping and outfitters[edit]

  • Algonquin Portage, Barron Canyon Road, +1 613-735-1795. Outside of Pembroke, twenty minutes from Algonquin Park. Outfitter's lodge $30/night, linens/sleeping bags not included. Breakfast $12, camping $6/night, camp equipment rental. Pickup and dropoff at the Pembroke Greyhound station.
  • Riverside Park, 961 Pembroke St. W., +1 613-735-6821 ext 1504. Seasonal tent or trailer camping, Victoria Day - Thanksgiving. 50 serviced and 6 non-serviced campsites, washrooms and showers, playground, beach and tourist information centre. $26-32.

Connect[edit]

  • Pembroke Public Library, 237 Victoria St. (South of Pembroke St.), +1 613-732-8844, e-mail: . M-Th 10AM-9PM, F Sa 10AM-5:30PM, Su 1PM-4:30PM, Sun closed May-Sept. Offers free wireless internet and reservable computer terminals. Conveniently, wireless is still available outside the building during closed hours. Free.
  • Cafe Olé, 20 Pembroke St. W (West of Muskrat River bridge), +1 613-629-5102. Offers locked wireless internet to customers.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Pembroke
North BayPetawawa  W Ontario 17.svgTCH-blank.svg E  RenfrewOttawa
END  W Ontario 148.svgQc148.svg E  HullLaval
END  N Ontario 41.svg S  Addington HighlandsNapanee


This city travel guide to Pembroke is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.