About Garrison Petawawa

The Garrison is located in the Ottawa Valley in Renfrew County, 110 miles northwest of Ottawa along the western bank of the Ottawa River. Its main gate is North of the town of Petawawa. The majority of the base territory is in the municipality of Laurentian Hills, with areas located in Petawawa and Deep River.

Approximate personnel numbers are as follows:

  • Canadian Forces personnel: 5,328
  • DND civilian employees: 936
  • Canadian Forces dependents: 5,653

Approximately 6,000 people directly connected to the base live in local communities between Deep River and Pembroke.

The Garrison has an extensive infrastructure with 465 buildings and over 300 km2 of property comprising the Petawawa Training Area.

As a partner in the Petawawa Community, Garrison Petawawa offers numerous outstanding services and programs to the community. Whether your interests lead you to our beautiful outdoor recreational areas or into our world-class fitness facilities, all residents of the Petawawa area are welcomed to enjoy all the advantages that CFB Petawawa offers.

‘Different Yet the Same’, the Petawawa of yesteryear like the Petawawa of today, was founded on the strength of its natural resources, its strategic military role and the vibrancy and energy of its residents.  The Township of Petawawa was incorporated in 1865, and the Village of Petawawa was incorporated in 1961.

On July 1, 1997, the Village and the Township amalgamated to become the Town of Petawawa with a population today of over 15,000, the largest municipality in Renfrew County.The earliest settlement recorded in Petawawa was by the group of Algonkin Indians known as “people of the great river”.

Roughly translated from the Algonkin language, Petawawa means “where one hears the noise of the water”. During those early times the location was ideal for access throughout the region on the Ottawa and Petawawa Rivers for both the gathering for social assemblies and for the transportation of trade goods.

At the time of their first meeting with the French in 1603, the various Algonkin bands probably had a combined population somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,000. The British estimate in 1768 was 1,500. Currently, there are almost 8,000 Algonkin in Canada organized into ten separate First Nations: nine in Quebec and one in Ontario.

Both Algonkin and Algonquin are correct spellings for the name of the tribe, but Algonquian either refers to their language or,  collectively, to the group of tribes that speak related Algonquian languages. The source of Algonkin is unclear. Other than the names of their bands, the Algonkin do not appear to have had a name for themselves as a people. Some researchers have suggested that Algonkin came from the Maliseet word for “ally,” but others prefer the Micmac’s “algoomeaking” that translates roughly as “place of spearing fish from the bow of a canoe.” The most likely possibility is the Maliseet word “allegonka” meaning “dancers,” which Samuel de Champlain might have mistaken for their tribal name while watching a combined Algonkin, Maliseet, and Montagnais victory dance in 1603. The first group of Algonkin that the French encountered were the Kichesipirini who, because their village was located on an island in the Ottawa River, were called “La Nation de l’Ilse.” At first, Algonkin was used only for a second group, the Weskarini. However, by 1615 the name was applied to all of the Algonkin bands living along the Ottawa River.

Early European visitors included Samuel de Champlain who visited in 1613 seeking a shorter trade route to China. Later French fur traders used the trails along the Petawawa River as part of their trade route. Some of these trails still exist on CFB Petawawa today.