- For other places with the same name, see Hawkesbury (disambiguation).
Hawkesbury is a pleasant town of 10,000 people (2016) on the Ottawa River near the Ontario-Quebec border about midway between Montreal and Ottawa. English and French are widely spoken here. More than three quarters of the population is francophone, so it's not surprising that some people think that the town is actually called "Oxbury". A bridge crosses the river to the town of Grenville, Quebec.
Hawkesbury was founded in 1798, and named after Charles Jenkinson, Baron Hawkesbury.
Thomas Mears and David Pattee, two Americans, entered into a partnership in 1805 to harness the power of the lower Ottawa River and built the first sawmill on the Upper Canada side of the river. The town of Hawkesbury developed around this mill. Demand for timber during the Napoleonic Wars created a boom. The mill complex continued to grow for at least the next half century, and by 1870 it included 145 different saws and created over 35 million board feet of lumber per year.
Timber and pulp-and-paper industries have been supplanted by textiles, synthetic fibres, metal extrusions, steel, glass and plastics. Hawkesbury has also become the business and service centre of the county of Prescott-Russell, although Rockland has become the largest community. New developments today are happening due to baby boomers from Ottawa, Montreal and area purchasing some of the many new condos in town.
Hawkesbury is on Prescott and Russell County Road 17, a former routing of Highway 17. The Trans-Canada Highway with connects with Highway 417 eastwards to Montreal. Hawkesbury also connects to Highway 417 westward to Ottawa through a 17-km spur of Highway 34.
The Long Sault Interprovincial Bridge between Hawkesbury, Ontario and Grenville, Quebec, means that Hawkesbury is within minutes of Highway 50 and Route 148.
The town is served by two small private airports:
- Hawkesbury Airport
- Hawkesbury (East) Airport
- 1 L'Orignal Old Jail (Ancienne Prison de L'Orignal), 1023 Rue Queen, L'Orignal, ☏ . The oldest jail in Ontario and the second oldest jail in Canada. The L'Orignal Old Jail is a historic building where you can experience the penitentiary atmosphere of long ago. Adults $7, seniors (65+) and students $6, children (5 – 12) $4, family (2 adults + 2 children) $20.
- Le Centre culturel Le Chenail (Cultural Centre Le Chenail), 2 John St. M-F 10AM-4PM, Sa Su 1-4PM. Cultural centre for the promotion of francophone culture.
At this point the Ottawa River is wide and good for boating and sailing. Nearby on the Rouge River, whitewater activities such as rafting, kayaking and canoeing are popular.
Gas prices in this region are generally lower (i.e. 5-10 cents per litre) than in Montreal and Ottawa.
- Bakery Le Petit Pain, 245 Main St E, ☏ . M-F 7:30AM-5PM. Soups, sandwiches, salads.
- Stephanie's Grill & Bar, 1686 Highway 34, ☏ . Daily 11AM-close. Sandwiches $13-15, pizzas $12-15, mains $15-42.
- Le Vieux Chateau Restaurant, 797 McGill St, ☏ . Su-W 5:30AM – 11PM, Th 5:30AM – 1AM, F Sa 5:30AM – 2AM. Steaks, seafood, pasta, pizza, chicken, and Chinese.
- Quality Inn & Suites, 1575 Tupper St, toll-free: . Indoor heated pool, fitness centre, restaurant bar & grill, business centre, free wireless high-speed Internet access in all rooms. From $129.
- Stephanie's Hotel, 1686 Highway 34, ☏ . Two double beds or One queen bed in jacuzzi room. 15 rooms. Free Internet access. From $80.
- 1 Voyageur Provincial Park, 1313 Front Road, Chute-à-Blondeau, ☏ . Previously called "Carillon Provincial Park", this park is a few miles east of Hawkesbury.