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Ottawa Valley facts
  • The Ottawa Valley covers over 7,645 kilometres
  • Glaciers retreated from what is now the Ottawa Valley region 12,800 years ago, leaving the area covered by the Champlain Sea for thousands of years. Ten thousand years ago the water retreated and land emerged.
  • More than half of the Ottawa Valley is wilderness.
  • Renfrew County, in the Ottawa Valley, is the largest county in Ontario.
  • There are over 900 lakes and four major river systems in the Ottawa Valley.
  • More than 400 species of animals live in the Ottawa Valley.
  • The white trillium, which grows throughout the Ottawa Valley, has been Ontario’s provincial floral emblem since 1937. Its white blossom is associated with peace and hope.
  • The Ottawa River is 1,271 kilometres long.
  • The most likely source of the Ottawa River is Lac des Outaouais in Quebec.
  • The Ottawa River was first navigated and settles by the Huron, Algonquin, Iroquois and Outaouais people.
  • The Algonquin people called the Ottawa River “Kitchissippi”, which means “Great River”.
  • The Algonquin word Kichesippirini means "Big River People".
  • The name Petawawa comes from the Algonquin language meaning “where one hears a noise like this.”
  • The mixture of the accents of the Valley’s French, Irish and Scottish populations created a regional dialect that came to be called the Ottawa Valley Twang, which is still alive today.


  • White pine was the timber of choice for loggers during the Ottawa Valley’s logging boom in the early 19th century.
  • Winter was the best season for cutting timber as trees fell more easily when their sap wasn’t running and ice and snow made it easier to drag the timber. Spring was the season when the loggers would “drive” the logs downriver.
  • Samuel de Champlain spent the years between 1613 and 1615 traveling the Ottawa River with Algonquin and Huron guides. In charting the new land Champlain inaugurated the route that would be used by French fur traders for the next 200 years.
  • Between 1847 and 1879 a “horse railway” was used to portage passengers from the Ottawa River steamboat in a horse-drawn car for 5.5 kilometres along the wooded shore, around Chat Falls to another steamboat to continue their journey upriver.
  • Until the mid 19th century the City of Ottawa was called Bytown, named for Lieutenant Colonel John By who built the Rideau Canal in the early 1800s.
  • Deep River, a town in the northern Ottawa Valley, is home to Canada’s only clock museum.
  • Pembroke, Ontario is known as Hockey Town Canada.
  • Comedian Tom Green was born in the Ottawa Valley in Pembroke, Ontario.
  • Dave Nugent and Cory Zadorozny, two members of Canadian rock star Sam Roberts’ band, are from Pembroke.
  • The Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame was founded in 1980 to recognize Ottawa Valley musicians who have made contributions to country music in the Ottawa Valley and in Canada.
  • When the Renfrew Millionaires were formed in 1908 they were one of the two original teams, along with the Montreal Canadiens, of the National Hockey Association, which would later become the National Hockey League.

— Jackie Wallace

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