Russell Road originally ran from Montreal Road in Ottawa along the east bank of the Rideau River and then bent east at where Tremblay Road is now, and then south and east until the border of Clarence Township, Ontario (now the city of Clarence-Rockland, Ontario) and the Township of Alfred and Plantagenet, Ontario.
Russell Heights on Russell Road is home to 800 Somali immigrants. In the mid 1990's, thousands of Somalis immigrated to Ottawa. Russell Road has since become a renowned Somali neighborhood. The Dempsey Community Centre has been operating in Russell Road since 1977 and has become a popular facility for a number of children and adult basketball programs.
However, three major intersection modifications have cut the road into 4 parts, and another shortened the Road substantially, making Russell Road arguably the most altered Road in Ottawa's history. Currently the Road begins at Industrial Avenue on the outskirts of the Riverview neighbourhood and runs southeast before ending at Smyth Road. (the road originally past Industrial Avenue to the north then jogged west at about where Tremblay Road is now, then north again along where North River Road is today and ended at Montreal Road). The road begins again near the Elmvale Shopping Centre, from Saint Laurent Boulevard, and runs south until it turns into Hawthorne Road. To keep going on Russell, one must make a left turn.
This part of Russell Road continues to the community of Ramsayville, Ontario, where the road then ends at Ramsayville Road. To keep going on Russell Road, one must take a left on Ramsayville Road then a right. This jog was made to insure that there was only one bridge under Highway 417. At this point Russell Road continues east through the communities of Carlsbad Springs, Ontario, Bearbrook, Ontario before leaving the city of Ottawa. It also passes through the communities of Cheney, Ontario and Bourget, Ontario in the City of Clarence-Rockland. The road was named because it was used by travellers, before the construction of Highway 417 as the route to get to Russell, Ontario from both Ottawa in the west and Bourget in the east. Russell Road for the majority of its length passes through rural surroundings. It is known Ottawa Road #26 from St. Laurent Boulevard until the City of Ottawa limits, and County Road #2 in Prescott and Russell County.