The riverside city of Pembroke started as many towns did, when explorers traversing Canada's waterways settled on a place to land and potentially set up homes and businesses.

In this case, the explorer was Samuel de Champlain and the business that came later was the fur trade.

However, the massive forests of white pine trees surrounding the city soon became its economic engine once the logging and timber industry got started.

"In the 1800's the logs would have travelled up the Ottawa River to Quebec City after they were cut in the huge forests in this area," said Angela Siebarth, curator of the Champlain Trail Museum.

She said the lumber boom made Pembroke one of the biggest towns in eastern Ontario with Robert Booth at the forefront.

The lumber baron's logging company was once the largest company in the country, with his 1894-built mansion a sign of the community's prosperity.

"He built it for his wife and two children," said Wendy Webster, who currently owns the mansion and runs it as a bed and breakfast. "His young son died during the war and the daughter, Gertrude lived on until she was in her 90's. She was quite a gal, she did lot of travelling."

As the forests shrank and the lumber industry dwindled, Pembroke's economic might gradually lessened.

Town can claim national hockey champions

There is one lumber-related organization that remains a powerhouse in the country – the Pembroke Lumber Kings of the Central Canada Hockey League won Canada's Junior A championship last season for the first time.

Hockey's place in the town goes as far back as 1905, when the McKay Street arena was built and housed Hockey Hall of Famers Frank Nighbor, Hugh Lehman, and Harry Cameron before they moved to the NHL.

In 1951 the Pembroke Memorial Centre celebrated its grand opening with an exhibition game between the senior Lumber Kings and the Montreal Canadiens, bringing legend Maurice "Rocket" Richard to their home rink.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Terry Marcotte and Carol Anne Meehan