Petawawa, Ont, incorporated as a town in 1997, population 15 988 (2011c), 14 651 (2006c). The Town of Petawawa is located at the mouth of the Petawawa River where it flows into Allumette Lake, a widening of the Ottawa River. Petawawa is 19 km northwest of PEMBROKE and about 150 km northwest of OTTAWA. Incorporated as a village in 1961, in 1997 it merged with the township of Petawawa (incorporated in 1865) to create the town of Petawawa. The town and township take their name from the Petawawa River, which in turn may be a corruption of the Algonquin word, which is said to mean "where one hears the sound of the waters." An alternative story is that it was named after an aboriginal woman who lived on the river.

The township was surveyed in 1857, but it attracted few settlers until 1904, when the Canadian government chose it as the site for a new military camp. Camp PETAWAWA eventually grew to encompass large portions of 4 townships, and has become one of Canada's most important military bases. The community of Petawawa developed to provide services for the military base, a function that it continues to serve.