city in Ontario, Canada

Pembroke is a city of 14,000 (2021) 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.

Visitor information edit

Get in edit

Map of Pembroke (Ontario)

By bus edit

By car edit

Pembroke is on the Highway 17 (Trans-Canada Highway), 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.

  • 2 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.

By plane edit

Get around edit

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

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

Champlain Trail Pioneer Village
  • 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 in 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.    

Do edit

Monument to the pointer boat
  • 1 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.
  • 2 Pansy Patch Park, Dickson St. off Mackay St. Ten-acre horticultural garden with walking and cycling trails.

Buy edit

  • 1 Pembroke Farmers' Market, Lake and Victoria Sts. W Sa 9AM-noon May-October.
  • 2 Pembroke Mall (East End Mall), 1100 Pembroke St E, +1 613-735-0060. M-F 10AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Indoor mall with 50 stores, cinema, food court.

Eat edit

Drink edit

There are two bars popular with locals near City Hall on Pembroke St.

  • 1 Lasso Live, 163 Pembroke St W, +1 613-735-8890. W 6-11PM, Th-Sa 8PM-2AM. Known for its karaoke.

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

  • 3 Algonquin Portage, Barron Canyon Rd, +1 613-735-1795. Outside of Pembroke, 20 minutes from Algonquin Park. Outfitter's lodge, camping and equipment rental. Breakfast available. Arranges canoe and vehicle shuttle services for trips in and out of Algonquin's backcountry. Lodge $30/adult/night, camping $8/person/night.
  • 4 Riverside Park, 961 Pembroke St W, +1 613-735-6821 ext 1504. Seasonal tent or trailer camping, Victoria Day (May) - Thanksgiving (Oct). 50 serviced and 6 non-serviced campsites, washrooms and showers, playground, beach and tourist information centre. $26-32.

Connect edit

Nearby edit

Beachburg and Whitewater Region edit

Some of the world's best whitewater rafting and kayaking is available east of Pembroke, near the village of Beachburg, in Whitewater Region. Almost 200 km (120 mi) of shoreline along the rapid-filled rivers and shallow rocky lakes can be accessed from public boat launches throughout the region. Several outfitters in the region provide a range of equipment, tours, and lessons for whitewater kayaking, rafting, tubing, standup paddle boarding, and canoeing.

Two provincial parks in the region provides access to some of the unique natural features in the area. Neither provides visitor services or permits camping; access is only possible on foot or from the water.

  • 3 Westmeath Provincial Park. Protects a diverse range of ecosystems unique to this area, including marshes, dunes, and sandspit at a wide bend in the Ottawa River. The sandy beach provides swimming, and the trail to the river provides hiking and mountain biking.    
  • 4 Ottawa River Provincial Park. The park protects one of the last stretches of the Ottawa River that has not been modified by flooding or dams for power generation. Accessing the park's islands requires a whitewater trip on the river. Some of the islands provide only informal wilderness trails that are not maintained or marked.  

Go next edit

Routes through Pembroke
North BayPetawawa  W    E  RenfrewOttawa
END  W   E  → becomes  PontiacGatineau
END   N   S  North Algona WilberforceNapanee

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.