Arnprior is a town of about 9,600 people (2021) on the Madawaska and Ottawa rivers in Eastern Ontario.

Understand Edit

Arnprior, aka "the Prior", is the gateway to tourism in the Upper Ottawa Valley and the Western gateway to Ottawa and Canada's National Capital Region.

Arnprior takes its name from the village of Arnprior Stirlingshire, Scotland (UK) from where its founding fathers came. It is known for lumber, hydro power generation, aerospace, and farming.

History Edit

Arnprior Weir

In May 1613 European explorers, led by Samuel de Champlain, first visited the Ottawa River valley, home of the Algonquin tribe of First Nations (Aboriginal) people.

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, between Stirling and Drymen, Scotland.

Tired of the harsh treatment, the settlers revolted and, after a government investigation, McNab was forced to vacate the area in 1841. 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. The lumber industry maintained a significant position until the closing of the Gillies Mill. 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 feet (53 m), these are the tallest white pines in Ontario.

Get in Edit

By car Edit

Arnprior is on Highway 417 (Trans-Canada Highway), about 45 km northwest of Ottawa. If driving from Ottawa, take highway 417 westbound. West of Arnprior, the highway stops being a freeway and is renumbered Highway 17, and is part of the Trans-Canada Highway.

By bus Edit

Get around Edit

There is no public transit in Arnprior.


  • Grab-A-Cab +1 613-623-5601
  • A-1 Taxi +1 613-623-3522
  • Murry’s Taxi +1 613-622-0677

See Edit

  • 1 Arnprior & District Museum, 35 Madawaska St (under the clock tower at the corner of Madawaska and John Sts), +1 613-623-4902. Sep-Apr: Tu 11AM-4PM; May to mid-June: Tu Sa 11AM-4PM, Su 9AM-3PM; mid-June to Aug M-Sa 11AM-4PM, Su 9AM-3PM. The history of Arnprior is preserved and documented at the Arnprior and District Museum (in the former post office building and library) and the Arnprior and District Archives, next door in the basement of the public library. The sandstone building is the defining element in local architecture. By donation.
  • 2 Arnprior City Hall, 105 Elgin St W. A beautiful historic stone building.

Do Edit

  • 1 Gillies Grove and House National Historic Site, 412 Gillies Grove Road. This site provides beautiful walks through old growth white pine forest. A 20th-century estate in a forested area at the edge of the Ottawa River. A stand of forest encircles a cleared area with a handsome, Colonial Revival house constructed from the white pine of the forest. The Gillies Grove House is not accessible to visitors. The main trail is wheelchair accessible and the trails are well marked.  
  • 2 Millennium and Macnamara Trails. Provide scenic views of the waterfront, downtown heritage homes, and two nature trails including a walk-through of the Gillies Grove, a 45-acre (180,000 m²) tract of old growth forest, preserving the white pine which was the foundation of the local lumber industry. Additionally the rivers and local lakes encourage boating, fishing and canoeing.
  • 3 Nick Smith Centre, 77 James St. If you are looking to take in some hockey or go for a skate in Arnprior, the Nick Smith Centre is the place to go.
  • 4 Robert Simpson Park, 400 John St. On the edge of the Ottawa and Madawaska Rivers off of John st. This park/beach is great for family picnics and swimming,.

Events Edit

  • Priorpalooza. 12 hours of music celebrating local artists, this is a free event hosted at the beachfront on the first Saturday in June every year.
  • The Arnprior Fair, . A 3-day fair on the second weekend in August. A mix of musical entertainment, livestock showing, educational displays and rides. $20 in advance, $25 at the gate. Children 3 and under free. Admission includes midway rides and entertainment.

Buy Edit

  • Mall and retail outlet area on Daniel St. (in the upper part of the town).
  • 1 Antrim Truck Stop, 580 White Lake Road (at exit 184 south from Highway 417), +1 613-623-3003. In addition to the usual truck stop amenities and a few less-usual amenities including an RV dump facility, Antrim Truck Stop has an on-site bakery - "Big Rigs" - that sells bread, pies (including an award-winning coconut cream pie), cookies, and arguably the best butter tarts in Eastern Ontario. Worth the stop even if you don't need fuel.

Eat Edit

Drink Edit

Sleep Edit

  • 1 Quality Inn, 70 Madawaska Boulevard (from Trans-Canada/ON-710, exit 190 (approx) for County Road 29 and Carleton Place, north on Carleton Road, 700 m, at T intersection left onto Madawaska Boulevard, 2.3 km, Quality Inn is on the right.), +1 613 623-7991. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Predictable, basic chain hotel. Free Wi-fi, local calls, cable TV. No meals included, but "East Side Mario's" restaurant next door serves all meals. Queen bed room $135/night.
  • 2 Arnprior Motor Inn, 168 Daniel St S, +1 613-623-7906, toll-free: +1-888-299-4952. Free Wi-Fi. A microwave and refrigerator are included in each simply furnished guest room. Pet-friendly motel, and a continental breakfast is served in the mornings. Free parking with cold weather plug-ins is available. From $100.
  • 3 Daniel House Bed & Breakfast, 145 Daniel St N, +1 613-769-8168. Check-in: by appointment, check-out: 11AM. Three rooms. From $115.

Camping Edit

  • 4 Fitzroy Provincial Park, 5201 Canon Smith Dr (20 km east, near Fitzroy Harbour), +1 613-623-5159. On the Ottawa and Carp Rivers, car camping with small sandy beaches and easy hiking trails. Some campsites provide electricity or waterfront access. Canoes available for rent from the park store.    

Connect Edit

  • 2 Arnprior Public Library, 21 Madawaska St, +1 613-623-2279. M-Tu 11AM-7PM, W-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-2PM. The library has nine computer stations and wi-fi access.

Go next Edit

  • Almonte — a town that formed around a major textile mill, and has since preserved many historic buildings. The inventor of basketball, Dr. James Naismith, was born here, and the local museum holds some of his memorabilia.
  • Calabogie — a lakefront town, with ski and golf resorts, and a motorsports park.
  • Carp — a small village, home to Canada's Cold War Museum in the "Diefenbunker".
  • Renfrew — the birthplace of the National Hockey Association, the predecessor to the National Hockey League. The story is told by a small museum in the town's arena.
Routes through Arnprior
North BayRenfrew ← Jct   W ← becomes    W    E  CarpOttawa
END  N   S  AlmonteCarleton Place

This city travel guide to Arnprior 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.