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10 Worst Cities to Live in Canada: Part 3, Hawkesbury, Ontario

29 December 2012

Hawkesbury real estate is actually extremely affordable. But that’s because this is a town trying to rebuild, and that has poor living conditions in just about every other area.

Hawkesbury was found in 1859. It sits on the West side of the Ottawa River, about halfway between Ottawa and Montreal, but within Ontario’s boundaries. The city has a population of 10,500 and about 85 per cent of those residents are French-speaking. That makes this the largest concentration of Francophones in North America, with the exception of Quebec. Most of Hawkesbury’s population, for the past nine generations, have worked at the paper mill. Some went to work there right after graduating high school, while some didn’t wait and started in grade nine.

The mill closed in the 1980s, and that began the downfall of Hawkesbury. Those who had relied on it for so long now had nothing for their families. And unfortunately, things didn’t get much better for the city. In the past decade, hundreds of manufacturing jobs have also been lost and the closing down of those plants have resulted in the loss of millions of dollars that were once poured into the city.

The city has now been compared to Detroit, just after the car manufacturing plants there faced so much trouble.

Hawkesbury has tried to rebuild itself and become a booming town once again, but nearly all efforts have been futile. They first began by holding festivals and street fairs, but this did little to boost morale or the economy.

Ten years ago real estate space also opened up along the Ottawa River. It was thought that this would be a prime place to build commercial units, which would help bring in some money to the economy; and tourist attractions, which would also bring more people – and their money – to Hawkesbury. that real estate space unfortunately, was purchased by a developer who instead built only six houses. Those houses, according to Hawkesbury residents, are “grey and ugly.”

To top it all off, Hawkesbury also has the lowest household incomes in the entire country, at $50, 783. This is due to the closing of the paper plant, as well as the manufacturing plants. It’s also due to the fact that a large part of the Hawkesbury population is retired and elderly individuals who have very little income.

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