This town of 1,000, midway between Pembroke and Renfrew, is famous for the place where (in 1857) a boy digging recovered the astrolabe lost by Samuel de Champlain on June 6, 1613. Once every decade, the astrolabe is returned to the town by the Museum of Civilization, for the Homecoming celebration. This town is also home to one of the best farmers’ markets in the Ottawa Valley.
Nearby, at Beachburg, the unspoiled rapids on the Ottawa River are home to a number of river rafting outfitters.
Cobden was founded in 1849 by Jason Gould and was named two years later for Richard Cobden a British free trader and pacifist admired by Gould. Beachburg is named for David Beach, and United Empire Loyalist who was granted 100 acres (405 hectares) in 1835. His family of four sons and five daughters founded a number of businesses including a grist and saw mill, a tannery, the hotel and a post office. The post office, opened in 1848, was originally named South Westmeath, for the township, but renamed Beachburg in 1858.
15906 highway 17, Cobden, ON K0J 1K0
Highway 17, 24 km east of Cobden
This 130 hectare recreation theme park includes a replica of Noah’s Ark, waterslides, mini-golf and paddleboats. The waterpark is open mid-June to -Labour Day, Noah’s Ark is open year-round.
Storyland Enchanted Garden
Storyland Road, off Highway 17
PO Box 170, Beachburg, K0J 1C0
613-646-2994 fax: 613-646-2958
This theme park features 200 animated characters set in 40 different fairy tale stores set in a natural woodland environment. There is also a wildlife museum, two large playgrounds, paddleboats, mini-golf and picnic areas. The Champlain Lookout offers a panoramic view of the Ottawa River. Open daily Victoria Day to Labour Day.