The Town of Petawawa is on the banks of the Ottawa River, around 150 km upriver from Ottawa. Inhabited since time immemorial by the Algonquin Nation, the name originates from the Algonquin word for "where one hears a noise like this." The area was settled by Europeans in the late 19th century, mostly to exploit the rich forests of the region. In 1905 the Canadian government set up a military base here, which became Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, and is today one of the primary military bases in Canada.
During the First World War, Austro-Hungarian 'enemy alien' internees were brought here to labour on the military base. It was the first work camp in Canada's extensive network of First World War internment camps. The camp closed in 1916, though it was reopened again during the Second World War for German and Italian internees.
This project has been made possible by a grant from the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.
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