Deep River Public Library

Local History

We offer a range of resources for people interested in the history of the Deep River area.

NOTE: Staff members cannot undertake historical research, genealogical research or related services for patrons.

Available in-library

Before the atomic age: Materials about the history of Deep River and area, from the 1800s onwards. Please note: Reference materials are for in-library use only. You can browse what’s in our local history reference section here.

After the atomic age: Books about the early days of the atomic energy project at Chalk River (mid-1940s onwards). You can browse our collection’s holdings about the early atomic energy era here.

Recommended reads

Available in-library:

The “Tamarack” magazines showcase over 20 years of oral histories collected from long-time residents of the area.

The following volumes can also be viewed online: Tamarack Vol. 1

NOTE: Our library is currently undertaking an oral history project entitled “Not Born from a Virgin Forest: Capturing and making accessible our earliest history for future generations.” To participate in this project, please contact the library at (613) 584-4244 or

Online links & downloads:
River of Time

A series of articles by Virginia Adams Hunt, who grew up in one of the log cabins along the waterfront of what is now called Deep River, and what was then called the “Indian Village”. This article series, first published in 2005-2006 in the North Renfrew Times, details Virginia’s memories from growing up in this area before the atomic project came to town. Download

Coppsville/Clarksville aka Chalk River virtual exhibit oral histories

A collection of oral history interviews focusing on the early days of Chalk River, including the railway, churches, businesses, and sports.

King’s Farm

An oral history project prepared by the Friends of Ferguson’s Stopping Place, which was a volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to telling the stories associated with historic King’s Farm, a heritage stopping place (inn) and farmstead located on the outskirts of Deep River along Hwy 17. Download

A Whispered History: The People of Buchanan Township 

A collection of oral histories about the early inhabitants of Buchanan Township, which was expropriated for Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories. 

Rolph, Buchanan, Wylie & McKay Townships Centennial Supplement

Published by the North Renfrew Times in 1967, this special edition takes a look at the area now known as Deep River in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Download

The Silent Community

This research project by Professor Steffanie Adams looks at the original log cabins situated along the Deep River waterfront, and at the families who were expropriated in 1945 when the atomic project came to town. A good complement to the River of Time series. Download

Coppsville/Clarksville aka Chalk River virtual exhibit

The School House Museum and the Rolph, Buchanan, Wylie & McKay Historical Society has compiled this incredible collection of 220 historic maps, photos, documents, and oral history interviews focusing on the early days of Chalk River, when it was the central hub of the area.

“New Town Springs Up”

The Pembroke Standard-Observer published a special edition on North Renfrew’s newest town, Deep River, in its December 13, 1945 edition. Download

Oiseau Bay: Nearly a Century of History

In 1917, wealthy American P.K. Smith bought 400 acres across the river from what would become Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories. Presented here is P.K.’s diary and a collection of historical photos.

Head, Clara and Maria Local History: virtual exhibit

A collection of historic maps, photos, documents, and some oral history interviews focusing on the early days of Stonecliffe, Bissett Creek, Mackey, and Deux-Rivieres.

The Swisha Project: virtual exhibit

The School House Museum has compiled over 300 historical photographs of the building of the Swisha Dam at Rapides des Joachims in the 1940s, as well as the town and residents that supported this ambitious project. Click on ‘Stories’ across the top ribbon to hear a few personal stories about life there.

Early Days: Society for the Preservation of Canada’s Nuclear Heritage

The Society For The Preservation of Canada’s Nuclear Heritage (SPCNH), a locally based non-profit museum, shares some information about the atomic energy project’s early days in the 1940s and 1950s.

Early Years of Nuclear Energy Research in Canada

A scientific overview of nuclear science in the Deep River/Chalk River area in the 1940s and 1950s, summarizing George C. Laurence’s book by the same name. (The book is available in the Deep River Public Library collection).

Memories of the Staff Hotels: 1945-1985

A web page that overviews the rich social lives of the early AECL workers, who lived in dormitories in the town of Deep River. Focuses on the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. (The full book is available at the Deep River Public Library).

“Deep River: Almost the Perfect Place to Live”

Article by Peter C. Newman. Macleans Magazine. Sept 13, 1958. A (tongue in cheek?) article about “the Utopian town where our atomic scientists live and play,” focusing on life in Deep River in the 1950s.

Life in Canada’s atomic town

This feature article, published in “The United Church Observer,” looks at life in the new town of Deep River in the 1950s. Download

School House Museum

With an incredible collection of artefacts, photographs, records, and tangible heritage, the School House Museum’s mandate is to preserve the history of the Upper Ottawa Valley.

Available in-library

A collection of unpublished historical photographs depicting the Deep River area: the town site, social events, clubs & festivals, the atomic energy project, etc., with most photographs depicting town life from 1944 onwards. 

Online links & downloads

Check back soon.

Available in-library

Check back soon.

Online links & downloads
Moses Lamure  

The obituary of Moses Lamure, an early resident of the area now called Deep River, published in the North Renfrew Times.

Alexina Blanche Lamure  

The obituary of Alexina Lamure, an early resident of the area now called Deep River, published in the North Renfrew Times. 

John King

The obituary of John King, who operated historic King’s Farm (formerly Ferguson’s Stopping Place). Published in the Ottawa Citizen. 

Gerald Nadeau

An Ottawa Citizen article, “The Fur Farmer,” published in March 1978, features local trapper, the late Gerald Nadeau. Download

W.B. Lewis

An excerpt from the “Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada” about the work and life of W.B. Lewis. Also includes a short article from the “North Renfrew Times” and a photograph from AECL. Download

Margaret Cook

A feature article on Margaret Cook, the first woman to work at Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories. Published in the North Renfrew Times. Download

Available in-library

Available for in-library use only is a collection of unpublished burial records for Catholic and Protestant cemeteries in the area, including Chalk River, Deep River, Rolphton, Point Alexander, Swisha, and beyond. 

A copy of “The Guide to the 1851 Census of Canada West: Renfrew County” is available in our reference section for in-library use only.

Online links & downloads
Ontario cemetery finding aid 

Search burials by name or location. 

Library & Archives census database

A searchable database for census data from 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911, and 1921

Library & Archives Canada Military Heritage

A searchable database of Canadian military records from the period up to and including World War Two. 

Available in-library

“North Renfrew Times” (formerly, “Deep River Digest”) newspapers from 1945 to present are available for in-library viewing on microfilm and/or in hard copy.

Please note: We do not offer research services; you will have to browse through the newspapers yourself. To set up an appointment, please contact the library at or (613) 584-4244.

Online links & downloads

Check back soon.

Available in-library

We have maps that show how the Town of Deep River changed and grew during the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.  

Online links & downloads
1944 expropriation map

A map of the land expropriated by the Crown for the formation of what is now the Town of Deep River.

Description of expropriated lands

A description of the land expropriated by the Crown for the formation of what is now the Town of Deep River. 

Available in-library
Ancestry Library

Ancestry’s library version, which is available in the library, allows users to search billions of records to discover their family’s stories. Use the library’s computers or bring your own device. Sign in with your 8-digit library account and your password (last name in capital letters). In-library use only. You can watch a tutorial on the Genealogy tab here.

Local cemetery records

Helpful genealogical information can sometimes be found in our collection of unpublished burial records for the area, some of which have notes in the margin about personal/familial relationships, etc. See the Cemetery records section above.

Online links & downloads
The Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group

A one-stop shop for genealogical research relating to the Upper Ottawa Valley.

The Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group’s Facebook Page

More information from the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group. (You do not have to be a member of Facebook to view.)

The Pembroke Public Library’s historical/genealogical research services

Depending on the nature of your request, the Pembroke Public Library might be able to offer some assistance. (Please note that the Pembroke Public Library suggests a minimum donation of $25.00 for successful requests.)

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