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About Greater Napanee

Our Town is a part of the County of Lennox & Addington in the heart of Eastern Ontario. Conveniently situated along Highway 401, our borders stretch from the shores of the Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario north to Roblin, the western gateway to the Land O'Lakes region. Greater Napanee is a vibrant, historic town with a population of 16,879 making it a great place to live, work and play.

Within Eastern Ontario, in the heart of Lennox and Addington County, we are a growing community. Our borders stretch from the shores of the Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario north to Roblin, the western gateway to the Land O' Lakes Region.

View our Community Statistics page for up-to-date Community Statistics for the Town of Grater Napanee.

The Town of Greater Napanee is comprised of the following Hamlets:

Adolphustown is where the Loyalists landed in 1784 and where they established new settlements after being routed from their homes in the new American republic to the south.

Adolphustown recorded a number of firsts:

  • First Town Hall meeting (1792)
  • First General Court of Quarter Session, in a barn (1794)
  • The province's first Methodist Church (1792), still standing on the south shore of Hay Bay. The Methodists held their first camp meeting in Adolphustown and an annual Sunday service is still held in the Old Hay Bay Church.

The Adolphustown settlers found an abundance of water routes in Hay Bay and the Bay of Quinte. Among the most prominent features today are the Adolphustown Provincial Park and the United Empire Loyalist Centre in the park.

Adolphustown was one of the smaller townships, comprising of only 11,500 acres, after a portion was sliced off by the govenor and given to Fredericksburgh as the Fredericksburgh Additional. At first the village of Adolphustown was called Hollandville, after Surveyor-General Major Samuel Holland. It was later named after Adolpus, Duke of Cambridge, the seventh son of King George III.

For a short time, Adolphustown was also the home of Sir John A. Macdonald in his childhood, who was nine years old when he moved there with his family.

Source: "Lennox & Addington" by Orlando French

This pretty little village on the Salmon River was bound to be settled early because it had a waterfall. Before electricity, waterfalls meant power for industry. In fact, it had a substantial waterfall, one that even the salmon in the river could not leap. Until men began to harness the water power and build the mills here, it was known simply as "The Falls". With an establishment of a post office in later years, the village was renamed Forest Mills. 

It was a robust place, with three or four stores, and almost as many taverns. There were also little factories producing broom handles and other pioneer necessities, and a tannery. 

Today Forest Mills is a scenic spot on the Salmon River which attracts tourists out for a day trip around the Town's back roads. It has also drawn permanent residents who have built new houses or renovated older ones. There are no longer any taverns. 

Source: "Lennox & Addington" by Orlando French

Napanee is blessed with one of the best-preserved historic main streets in Ontario. It reflects heritage wherever you look. Shoulder to shoulder, solid brick commercial buildings line both sides of the street. Napanee was more than 100 years old when the heart of today's town was constructed. The first settlement even predates Upper Canada which was created in 1791.

In 1856 construction of the Grand Trunk Railway took place, which linked Napanee to larger markets in the population centres of Montreal and Toronto.

The Napanee River gave the town's industry direct water access to Lake Ontario and the various ports around it.

Today, the bustling side of Napanee lies next to the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway in the north side of town. Chain restaurants, hotels and fast-food outlets crowd around the Highway 41 interchanges with Highway 401, luring travellers to the town.

The town once housed notable Canadians such as Sir John A. Macdonald and Avril Lavigne. 

Source: "Lennox & Addington" by Orlando French

When surveyors laid out the Township of Fredericksburgh in 1784, they ignored the disruptive influence of the long, narrow bay that nearly bisected the municipality. Over time, the bay proved to be a major impediment to north-south communication. Township residents divided into "north" and "south" fractions. The township was split in two in June 1857 by an act of the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada.

The earliest church in North Fredericksburgh was Lutheran, built soon after 1800 on Lot 2, Concession IV. As early at 1796, a school existed in Clarkville, near the gristmill established by Robert Clark in 1786. Its most famous tavern was the Dew Drop Inn.

The town hall of South Fredericksburgh was erected in 1865, but the first council was elected in 1858. In between, council meetings were held either at Chambers' Inn or Howard's Inn. Elections were rowdy two-day affairs with an open ballot and open bars.

With the amalgamation that happened in 1998, the two Fredericksburghs were fused again and joined Adolphustown and Richmond townships and the Town of Napanee to create the Town of Greater Napanee. 

Source: "Lennox & Addington" by Orlando French

Roblin was a village on the move. Originally it was located a few km southwest of its present location on Highway 41. When the only north-south road in the area meandered along the north side of the Salmon River, in search of the crossing at Forest Mills, Roblin was comfortably ensconced on the riverbank and serving both passerby and local farmers. Construction of the Richmond Road, now Highway 41, channelled traffic straight north from Napanee through Selby toward Erinsville. Roblin was bypassed. The local merchants had no choice but to move to a new location, where the old road intersected the new. "Old Roblin" can still be found as a few houses camped on the original road southwest of the current village. 

Roblin enjoyed a brief economic boom in 1912 and 1913, when the Canadian Pacific Railway built a line through Richmond Township.

The village takes its name from David Roblin, a member of the provincial parliament and a lumber baron.

Source: "Lennox & Addington" by Orlando French

The Selby Garden Centre and TCO Agromart are two flourishing businesses in Selby today.

Formally Gallaghers Corners, after a local innkeeper, Selby was named in 1854 by Edward Storr after his childhood home in Selby, England. Like other crossroads villages, it had a post office, stores, a cheese factory, a few churches and a school. Today the local school is located a couple of km north on Highway 41, and one of the churches has been turned into a little theatre. 

Source: "Lennox & Addington" by Orlando French

In 1998 the amalgamation of Greater Napanee absorbed all of the original county of Lennox: the townships of Adolphustown, the two Fredericksburghs and Richmond joined with Napanee to create the Town of Greater Napanee. 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of amalgamation. 

Source: "Lennox & Addington" by Orlando French.

Twinning is embraced by more than 1000 communities throughout the world as a way of fostering world peace and global understanding. The Town of Greater Napanee is excited to participate in such a rich tradition with Selby, UK.


On December 10, 2021, Greater Napanee Council conducted a special meeting and virtually met the Council of Selby, UK. Also in attendance were Tim FitzHigham and John Hastings and representatives from Selby Primary School in Selby, UK and Selby Public School in Selby, Ontario. Tim FitzHigham provided an overview on the Tale of Two Selbys project, which started as an Arts project during lockdown to learn about the history of Selby, Canada and how it is related to Selby, UK.

A commitment was made to pursue the path of twinning.


On February 22, 2022, the Town Council of Selby, UK passed the following resolution:

That the Council receive for information the Legislative Services – Twin Town, Selby, UK report;

And that, in recognition of the shared community history between the Two Selbys and the connection achieved during the pandemic, Council support creating a formal link through a twinning agreement;

And that, Council support scheduling a Zoom meeting with the Town Council of Selby, UK, to formally sign the agreement attached in this report.


On April 14, 2022 the Town of Greater Napanee participated in a Special Meeting of Council for a formal signing of the Twinning Agreement with Selby, UK.


For information in alternate formats, please contact Hollie Knapp-Fisher

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