It lies on the south shore of the Ottawa River about halfway between downtown Ottawa and downtown Montreal in Prescott and Russell. The Long-Sault Bridge (replacing the Perley Bridge) links it to Grenville, Quebec, to the north. It is located 25 km west of Lachute, Quebec.
Hawkesbury is touted as the third most bilingual town in Ontario, with about 69.6% of its inhabitants being fluent in English and French, the two official languages of Canada. (West Nipissing is first with 73.4% followed by Hearst at 71%.) 89% of the population is made up of French speaking Franco-Ontarians. Development on the outskirts has hurt some of the business and the Main Street is slowly recovering.
Founded in 1798, the town was named after Charles Jenkinson, Baron Hawkesbury.
Timber and pulp-and-paper industries have been supplanted by textiles, synthetic fibres, metal extrusions, steel, glass and plastics. Hawkesbury has also become the business and service centre of the county of Prescott-Russell, although recently Rockland has become the largest community . The Grenville Canal on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River opposite Hawkesbury is an important link in the river's transportation system. The only interprovincial bridge between Ottawa and Quebec east of Ottawa is located here. Part of Hawkesbury was submerged by a Hydro-Québec dam built between 1950 and 1962. New developments today are happening due to baby boomers from Ottawa, Montreal and area purchasing some of the many new condos in towers.
Hawkesbury and area are served primarily by media from Montreal, and to a lesser extent by media from Ottawa. The town does, however, have two radio stations which broadcast at least partially from local studios in Hawkesbury.
Hawkesbury is served primarily by Highway 34, a 17-kilometre spur route which connects the community to Highway 417. South of the Highway 417 interchange, a former portion of Highway 34 continues southerly to South Lancaster as Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry County Road 34. Hawkesbury is also located along Prescott and Russell County Road 17, a former routing of Highway 17 and the Trans-Canada Highway.
The town is served by three small airports:
The 2006 census found that French was the mother tongue of 77% of the population, while English was the mother tongue of 16%. A very high percentage (2.7%) claim both French and English as their mother tongues. This is the highest proportion in Canada.
|English and French||285||2.7%|
In parallel to the responses to the census question about ethnocultural ancestries, which are shown below, 1.0% of the population also reported having an Aboriginal identity, while 3.1% reported having a visible minority status (including 2.0% who identified as South Asian).
Single responses: 42.4% of respondents gave a single response of 'Canadian', while a further 25.3% identified with both 'Canadian', and one or more other ancestries. 13.4% of respondents gave a single response of French, 1.9% gave a single response of Irish, 1.9% gave a single response of English and 1.1% gave a single response of North American Indian.
Multiple responses: Counting both single and multiple responses, the most commonly identified ethnocultural ancestries were:
|North American Indian||3.3%|
Hawkesbury hosts many establishements in the field of educations, from elementary schools to Colleges and an adult campus.
Elementary Schools: Paul VI Marguerite Bourgeois Nouvel Horizon St-Jean Bosco
Secondary Schools: E.S.R.H. Le Sommet
And other educational-based establishements: Adult Campus of Hawkesbury