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.
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.
- 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.