When analysing the local statistics resulting of Canada Census 2021 regarding ‘population’ and ‘dwellings’ in which we, residents of the counties of Prescott (ON) and Argenteuil (QC) live in, numbers showed a few pleasant surprises, mostly status quo, and a few question marks.
The Regional’s Hawkesbury edition being distributed through the eastern part of Prescott County and the western part of Argenteuil County, those are the numbers that most matter to our local readers: town of Hawkesbury, Champlain township, East Hawkesbury township, Alfred-Plantagenet township, The Nation municipality, Grenville village, Grenville-sur-la-Rouge municipality. We analysed numbers over the last twenty years, from Census 2001 to Census 2021, in both population and housing availability for this population, so as to indicate progression, status quo or regression in %. This first report will focus on two small-urban communities: Hawkesbury town and Grenville village, while we may discuss rural communities later.
Top performer over that twenty year period was the village of Grenville, whose population grew from 1315 in 2001 to 1816 in 2021, an increase of 38%, along with a dwelling availability growing from 621 in 2001 to 951 in 2021, an increase of 53%. When contacted and interviewed by phone, Pierre Thauvette, the village’s mayor, was very pleasantly surprised by those numbers although he expected a good standing considering his village’s major transformation over the last twenty years.
‘I am a local boy, born and raised in the village and very proud of my roots; I am now retired and can focus my experience, my energy and my passion on my responsibilities as mayor; the village is privileged to be managed by a council and councillors that work hand in hand for its community’s welfare. I would think that some of our new residents are former residents from Hawkesbury or Eastern Ontario that may have moved here to find basic lodging, more affordable housing if they are considering ownership, along with all services expected in a small urban setting: water, sewer, schools for Francophones and Anglophones, major supermarket, gas stations, major fast food outlets, SAQ and more! We still have a bank of a few hundred building lots available, a few major building projects soon to get underway or under study (canal, marina, multiplex residential building,…) and we plan to keep on growing and improving services to our citizens with the contribution of our federal and provincial partners, and the MRC of Argenteuil.’ Considering the village’s steady growth and popularity, by year 2050, it will have reached a population of around 3000, a major accomplishment and credit to its municipal leaders’ planning!
The town of Hawkesbury is showing quite stable results: while in 2001, it registered a population of 10319, the 2021 census results show a population of 10194, a loss of 1.2% over twenty years, while total dwellings remained stable at around 5300 housing units. In a previous interview, mayor Paula Assaly had pointed out the fact that availability of housing was a major deterrent to the town’s growth and that it should be one of town council’s top objective in order to welcome new families and to address a much needed workforce shortage. When contacted for comments by the Regional, here was her emailed response:
‘The Town of Hawkesbury is showing sustaining results: Hawkesbury is strong, resilient and continues to grow as the major commercial and industrial centre of the region. Inasmuch as Hawkesbury sustained major hits due to the closures of the CIP in 1982, Amoco in 1992 and PPG in 2008, it has maintained its population at 10,200 and dwellings continue to grow. The demand for housing exceeds by far the supply. Several residential projects are still on the drawing board while others have been issued building permits. Major employers such as the Hawkesbury General Hospital, the Mental Health Centre, IKO, Tulmar, Montebello Metal and the expansion of the Prescott-Russell Residence continue to show that Hawkesbury is the location of choice due to its geographical location between Ottawa, Montreal, the Laurentian and the US borders which are all within 100 kms. Coming soon is Ecolomondo, a tire recycling facility nearing completion, Les Modulaires Héritage, a pre-fab construction industry presently operational and expanding, Canac, a home and building products store and a Distillery. Location, low hydro rates and natural gas are services which attract industries. Furthermore, Hawkesbury was nominated as the Welcoming Francophone Community by the Ministry of Immigration to facilitate the integration of immigrants who fulfill our labor shortage. The Town has a large Sports Complex facility with a skating rink, multifunctional and sports hall, community hall, outdoor and indoor tennis courts, a pool and a fully equipped library nearby. Among amenities, Hawkesbury has several restaurants, shopping centres, car dealerships, a marina, the LCBO, a beer store, two both launch sites, 8 parks, a cultural centre, and a waterfront to the Ottawa river. Hawkesbury has excellent francophone elementary and secondary schools where students can learn English and become fully bilingual including an Adult Study school. La Cité, a post-secondary college from Ottawa, has a satellite campus right in Hawkesbury. The Town hosts many community organisations. As our adjoining neighbours such as Grenville Village and Champlain Township continue to expand, Hawkesbury will benefit from this growth as it moves forward in the future and expands its industrial park!’
As one of the region’s media, The Regional is happy to feed its readers with relevant and up-to-date information; the results of Census Canada 2021 are essential; published by StatCan (statca.gc.ca), a government agency created in 1971, it is commissioned to produce statistics to help better understand Canada, its population, resources, economy, culture and society. Local media help spread the news.