Embrun is an unincorporated town that is part of the larger Russell Township in the Canadian province of Ontario. Embrun was founded in 1845 with another name. It was in 1856 that the town changed its name to Embrun. The town has many neighborhoods and even has a vassal community. The town has a population of 11,500. It also has several schools and is growing rapidly. The town even has a rival. Embrun is located in Eastern Ontario. The town is in Prescott and Russell County. Politically, the town is situated in the riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell both provincially and federally. Embrun is an urban area.

NHL player Martin St. Pierre is from Embrun.

Wipeout Canada contestant Ken Downton is from Embrun.

At one time, a branch of the New York Central Railroad passed through the town. Now, the old rail bed is used as a recreational bicycle path. The village was named after the town of Embrun in the Hautes-Alpes region of France and its population is mainly (but not largely or exclusively) francophone. Although the town was (and still is, but to a lesser degree) a bedroom community with little industry, that is starting to change. There is an Ontario Provincial Policestation in the town.

Although traditionally a francophone community, in recent years the town's population is becoming more anglophone, with 40% (2005 estimate) of the population speaking English at home.

Embrun has four main housing neighbourhoods which provide a home for 90% of the town's population. These four main housing neighbourhoods are generally separated from the other, with usually only one or two streets connecting them. The town has a high senior population, with half of the population being over the age of 45. Some consider the village of Casselman to be Embrun's rival. Others call Russell Embrun's rival.


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Saint Augustine-de-Catherine

Embrun was founded in 1845 as Saint Augustine-de-Catherine. The first industry in the town was lumbering. The town was largely isolated in the first few years of its existence. For three years the only means of transport in and out of the town was by boat. Boats traveled on the Castor River to the South Nation River and north to the Ottawa River and then west to Hull, Quebec. A small dock stood at the shore of the Castor River. Every Tuesday boats would set out from the dock and arrive at Hull in about 6 and a half hours. Every Thursday boats from Hull would arrive at Saint Augustine-de-Catherine.

The town grew very slowly, and by 1848, three years after the town was established, the population was 56, an increase of just 2 people from 1845. The lumber industry thrived, as trees were abundant. Despite this, however, no sawmill existed in the town. Lumber was carried out on boats to Hull, where lumber was sold. However, in 1848, a road was built from Bytown (now Ottawa) to Saint Augustine-de-Catherine, called the Saint Augustine-de-Catherine road. While the boats continued to travel to Hull until 1854, the road became the primary means of exporting lumber. It was in the early 1850s that the population started to grow. By 1853, the population of Saint Augustine-de-Catherine was 145. A schoolhouse was built in that year. And the Saint Augustine-de-Catherine road was rebuilt to make it of better quality.

Originally, most of the town was situated a few kilometres north from the Castor River, as that location was much closer to the lumber supply. However, as the town grew, more buildings were being placed closer to the river, and it was this that started a major problem. Flooding, which was common within 600 metres of the Castor River in late March and April, submerged part of the dock. To get around this problem, the dock was built with two stories, and during the flood season boats would depart from an extra large window on the second story.

However, now that the town was creeping closer to the river, flooding became a terrible problem. For 100 years (trenching, dikes and valves built in the 1950s prevent floods from occurring now) families living close to the river would have to evacuate the area during the flood season. Because of this, the houses near the river were where the poorer people of the town lived. In 1856, the Église St. Jacques was built, and it still stands to this day. Before then, a small chapel handled religious ceremonies. The very same day the church was built (May 15, 1856), the town of Saint Augustine-de-Catherine renamed herself to Embrun, after the town of Embrun in the Hautes-Alpes region of France. Residents of Embrun are currently celebrating both events in the 150th celebrations, even though the actual day has come and gone. Signs saying "150" can be seen in the town this very moment.

When Saint-Augustine-de-Catherine changed her name to Embrun, she had a population of 201 people. The flooding was the only problem with life in the town in 1856, and the floodwaters that came in late March and April still only reached one-third of the town. The lumber industry was still going strong. A full-sized church and a schoolhouse graced the town. By 1860, deforestation to the north of the town had become very prominent, and it was a 5 kilometer distance from the northernmost edge of the town to the trees. So, in 1861, the town relocated its lumber camps to the forests to the south of the town, which had virtually not been touched. The forests to the south of the town were across the Castor River, so a bridge was built across the river. This bridge still exists today on St. Jacques Street.

The 1860s brought about a positive turn of events. The Saint Augustine-de-Catherine road (which still kept its original name despite the name change of the town) was rebuilt once more to be of even better quality in 1864. In 1866, the town's population had reached 1,000. However, the town's role as the only town in the area had vanished as the town of Casselman grew. From the 1860s onward, Embrun and Casselman had a rivalry. In 1867, when Canada achieved independence from Britain, control over the lumber industry reverted from governmental control to corporate control. Two companies controlled the lumber industry: Embrun Lumber Company and Embrun Forestry Corporation. Both ended up competing for complete control over the Embrun lumber industry.

When the Embrun Lumber Company went bankrupt in 1871, the Embrun Forestry Corporation bought out the Embrun Lumber Company and took complete control over the Embrun lumber industry. The Embrun Forestry Corporation soon competed with Casselman Forest Products Incorporated. Embrun Forestry Corporation started buying land in the direction of Casselman, and Casselman Forest Products Incorporated started buying land in the direction of Embrun. The two companies finally met each other 6.5 kilometers from Embrun and 9.6 kilometers from Casselman. This boundary became known as the Embrun-Casselman Lumber Front. Each company bought land to the north and south of the front. The Embrun-Casselman Lumber Front remained at the same meridian 5 kilometres north and 4 kilometres south of the initial meeting point. To the north, Embrun managed to push the line 2 kilometres closer to Casselman. The area where Embrun pushed forward eventually became Limoges. To the south, however, Casselman managed to push the line 3 kilometres closer to Embrun. Whenever either company tried to buy out a section of the other's territory, the answer was almost always rejected, even with offers of up to $40,000. However, Embrun managed to buy back the land to the south where Casselman pushed forward in 1875.

Today, the Embrun-Casselman Lumber Front forms part of the postal code boundary between Embrun and Casselman, with the exception of the part in the north, which became Limoges and the part in the south, which eventually formed St. Albert. Both companies were competing so badly that they used up much of the trees, and by 1877 the area was a sea of stumps. The lumber industry had more or less destroyed itself. Casselman Forest Products Incorporated went bankrupt, and although the Embrun Forestry Corporation took over that company, the Embrun Forestry Corporation went bankrupt just two months later.

Embrun turned its sights to agriculture. By 1878, grain growing was the largest industry. The town's population by 1880 was 3,000. By 1883, there were virtually no stumps in the area as they were pulled out of the ground. Today, the land around Embrun looks much like a prairie in the sense that few trees are visible and the land is flat. Grain was brought to one of the three flour mills in Embrun and made into flour, which was exported. The new flour industry became Embrun's main industry, and was until the 1950s. The 1880s brought about a period of great prosperity. By now, three schoolhouses existed. The town's population skyrocketed to 4,100 by 1890, an increase of 1100 in just 10 years. And the prosperity didn't stop there. In 1898, a railroad station was built in the town, which attracted even more people to Embrun. In 1900 the town had a population of almost 6,000.

The First World War and the Great Depression

During the First World War, almost half of the population of the town went to war. Subsequently, the town lost many of its residents. 10% of the town's people died in the war. The town had trouble recuperating from this. The 1920's, which had brought about prosperity for most of Canada, brought about a bleak period for Embrun. The town's population, already down to less then 5,500, went down to 4,300 by 1925. Even so, Embrun was incorporated as a city in 1926. The new Embrun nearly collapsed after the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Many of the new city's residents left for the big cities. By 1934, the town's population was only 3,000. In 1935, Embrun merged with the nearby communities of Russell, St. Onge and Felton (along with several other very small communities such as Brisson) into a municipality called Russell Township. This municipality exists to this day and Embrun remains part of this municipality, and to this day is unincorporated. This merger allowed Embrun to survive the rest of the Great Depression. Even so, the town's population went down to just 900 by the end of the depression.

The Stagnant Years

When the Great Depression ended with World War II, many of the people that had left for the big cities returned to Embrun, which boosted the population back up to 3,000. However, the next few decades would bring a stagnant period, when the population neither climbed nor dropped. The population stayed at a fixed 3,000 for many years.

In the 1950s, the Castor River was trenched and dikes and valves were built, which stopped the annual floods. At this time, Embrun's major industry started to shift away from flour production, and by 1957, the three flour mills in Embrun had gone out of business and flour making had become a very obscure industry. By now, most people in Embrun had become commuters, working in other cities. In essence, Embrun had become a bedroom community.


The small town of St. Onge became part of Embrun in the early 1980s. This boosted Embrun's population slightly. At the same time, the Chantal Development (see below) was being built. When the development was finished in 1989, there were hundreds of new homes. This increased Embrun's population to 4,200. This new development and the boost of population brought Embrun out of its stagnant years. The population grew over the 1990s.

21st Century

The 21st Century brought about prosperity that had not been seen for an entire century. By 2000, the population of Embrun had increased to 6,000, the highest in a century. By now, new houses were being built in the Eastern part of Embrun (this part of Embrun is still being expanded). This skyrocketed the population and caused it to double between 1999 and 2006. By 2006, the population of Embrun was 11,500 (estimation).

In very recent years, Embrun has slowly started to turn away from being a bedroom community as it is slowly expanding commerce and industry. By January 2006, 12% of the workforce population of Embrun had jobs within Embrun and did not have to commute to another town or city for work. While a town is considered a bedroom community until over 50% of its population works in the community, the amount of the workforce population of Embrun working in Embrun itself has doubled since 1999 (the 1999 statistic was 6%).

Municipal History of Embrun

  • Prescott and Russell United Counties (Unorganized): 1845-1852
  • Village of Saint Augustine-de-Catherine: 1852-1856
  • Village of Embrun: 1856-1893
  • Town of Embrun: 1893-1926
  • City of Embrun: 1926-1935
  • Township of Russell: 1935-present


2001 Canadian Census:

  • Population: 7,245

April 2006 Estimate:

  • Population: 11,514

Although the town has a population of 11,500 (2006 Estimate) the population is expected to grow, as the town is growing rapidly with new streets and housing areas appearing regularly.


The village has 3 elementary schools (St-Jean, Castor River Public School and Cambridge Public School) and one middle school (la Croisée) and one high school (École Secondaire Embrun).

Cambridge Public School

Cambridge Public School has a schoo] population of about 300 students. C.P.S is the main Upper Canada District School Board elementary school for Embrun, Casselman, Limoges and St. Albert. This school is named Cambridge because it is located in the former Cambridge Township which is now merged with The Nation. Cambridge Public School has classrooms for students from Kindergarten to Eighth Grade]. Although there are several thousand kids in the area, most of them go to religious or francophone schools.

The school was first constructed in 1977 and was originally made out of tin. However, in the 2002-2003 school year, the school was re-constructed out of brick. The school cost 2.5 million dollars to construct. The school has classrooms for each grade to divide into. Some classes are split into two grades, and others are single grade classrooms. Also, there is 1 French classroom for the older grades. The younger grades have a French teacher that visits their classes.


Embrun has several distinct neighborhoods and several smaller neighborhoods. In addition, Embrun has a vassal community called Forest Park, an Industrial Park, and a Business Park.

Business Park

The Embrun Business Park is located in the extreme Western part of Embrun, west of the Chantal Development. The area is home to 70% of the town's businesses. In this area is the Place d'Embrun Shopping Centre as well as several eateries (ex. Tim Hortons and Subway) and large businesses such as renovators, grocery stores and automobile garages. This area of Embrun is home to the town's larger businesses (those with multiple branches). However, this part of Embrun lacks small businesses. Most of the small businesses are in other parts of Embrun.

This part of Embrun, however, has almost no permanent residents due to the fact that it is almost exclusively commerical. There are a few people living on Notre-Dame Street in this area, however. The area is paved with many asphalt roads criss-crossing the area. However, these "roads" don't have official names, and aren't registered in the Russell Township list of roads. Instead, the businesses here are addressed to as being on Notre-Dame Street, even though some are over a kilometer from it.

Industrial Park

Embrun also has an Industrial Park. Despite the name, the Industrial Park doesn't really have any Industry, just Semi-Industrial Commerce such as warehouses. The OPP Police Station is located here. The Industrial Park is located just to the north of the Embrun Business Park.

Forest Park

In between Casselman and Embrun is a small community called Forest Park. Forest Park has a population of roughly 350 people. The homes of Forest Park are addressed to as Embrun, Ontario, although some people think that Forest Park is part of Casselman or Limoges. Still others think of the community as a seperate community not part of any other.[1]. This area lies to the east of Lapointe Development. To the west is Benoit, a vassal community of Casselman. To the north is Limoges and to the south is St. Albert (both of the said communities are entirely seperate from Embrun).

Chantal Development

Chantal Development (Development meaning neighborhood), is a rather quiet community with a population estimate of 2,472 in the Western part of Embrun. Chantal Development includes a variety of streets including: Chateau Crescent, Promenade Boulevard, Menard Street, Chantal Street, Loiselle Street, Domaine Street, Isabelle Street, and Olympic Street. This neighborhood is strictly residential with no merchants or businesses of any sort. To the east of Chantal Development lies the town centre (officially called Town Centre-Ville). To the west lies the Business Park and the Industrial Park. To the east lies Town Centre-Ville. To the south lies Forget. To the north lies Brisson.

Town Centre-Ville

The official name for the central area of Embrun is 'Town Centre-Ville', a combination of English and French, as 'Centre-Ville' is French for 'downtown'. However, referring to this part of Embrun with a specific name is quite rare among the Anglophone population, the majority of which would be puzzled upon hearing the name 'Embrun Town Centre'. On the other hand, the term 'Centre-Ville' for this part of Embrun is common among the Francophone population. This part of Embrun has an estimated population of 3,816.

Town Centre-Ville is home to three of the town's schools (École Publique de la Riviere Castor, St. Jean and La Croisée). Also, the Église St. Jacques is in this part of town. However, Town Centre-Ville has a minority of the town's businesses. The Embrun Business Park holds that title. However, this part of Embrun has nearly all of the town's small, single-branch businesses. To the west of Town Centre-Ville is Chantal Development. To the east is Lapointe Development. To the south is the neighborhood of Embrun South. To the north is Brisson.

Lapointe Development

The Lapointe Development has a population of 2,771. The Lapointe Development is in the mid-east of Embrun. To the west is Town Centre-Ville, to the east is Forest Park, and to the south is the small neighborhood of Maplevale. To the north is Brisson. The Lapointe Development is currently undergoing expansion.

Embrun South

The neighborhood in the Southern part of Embrun is called Embrun South. The area has several streets. To the north lies Town Centre-Ville. To the east, west and south lies Forget. The area is near the Embrun Water Tower. Also, École Secondaire Embrun is in this area. This area has a population of 1,965.

Other Neighborhoods

The small neighborhood of Maplevale is considered by many to be part of the Lapointe Development. However, Maplevale has great contrast to Lapointe Development. The area of Maplevale is designed with many old fashioned looking things, such as 19th century streetlights, and Maplevale contains larger and wealthier-looking homes. However, Maplevale has a population too small to define itself as a neighborhood. The population is estimated at somewhere between 20 and 40.

Brisson is the widespread area to the north of the main built-up area of Emburn. Brisson is largely farmland and has a population of somewhere between 250-265 (the area's boundaries are indefinite, so an exact number is impossible to calculate). Forget is located in the very south of Embrun, south of Embrun South. The area is largely farmland. The population is somewhere between 200 and 240 (like Brisson, the area's boundaries are indefinite, so an exact number is impossible to calculate).

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