Embrun is a growing town and new businesses and homes are being built. Embrun is one of the fastest-growing towns in Eastern Ontario by doubling its population in 6 years (Embrun had a population of about 5,700 in 2000) and tripling it in 25 years (Embrun had just 3,800 people in 1980). This has led to confusion about how big Embrun is since many data sources are out of date.
Status as an unincorporated town
Embrun is an unincorporated community. This means that although Embrun does exist, it does not have its own municipality. Instead it is part of the Russell Township, sometimes just called Russell. This has led to confusion between Russell Township and the village of Russell, a small village also located in Russell Township.
The important thing to understand here is that Embrun and Russell are seperate towns and that both of them together form the municipality of Russell Township (sometimes called Township of Russell).
Embrun follows the small town sterotype of "everyone knows everyone". Many people know or have acquaintances with most other residents of the town. This is especially true among senior citizens.
If you have any questions about how to get somewhere, then many people will be glad to help. Senior citizens are particularly helpful.
Embrun is mainly francophone. 60% of the town's population speaks french at home. Despite this, however, many signs are bilingual (although bilingual signs are not required in Embrun) and in stores cashiers will often understand English.
Even so, knowledge of a few basic words in French is useful. See the French phrasebook on Wikitravel to learn basic words in French.
There is pretty much only one way to get to Embrun: By car. If you are coming from Ottawa, travel east (in the direction of Montreal) on Highway 417 and get off at Exit 88. The sign for Exit 88 says "Rockdale Road: Vars, Embrun". It takes about 25 minutes to get to Embrun from the Innes-Walkley area, 30 minutes from the St. Laurent area, 35 minutes from Orleans, 35 minutes from Downtown Ottawa, 40 minutes from the West End, and 50 minutes from Kanata.
If you are coming from Montreal, travel west (in the direction of Rigaud and Ottawa-Hull) on Highway 40. Once you hit Ontario, it will become Highway 417. Get off at Exit 79. The sign for Exit 79 says: "Limoges Road: Limoges, Embrun".
It takes about 90 minutes to get to Embrun from the West Island, 100 minutes from the Dorval/Saint-Laurent/Pierrefonds/Cartierville area, 110 minutes from the Mont-Royal/Centre-Ville area of Montreal, 115 minutes from Vieux-Montreal and 120 minutes from the Montreal-Est area.
A map of the town of Embrun can found at http://prescott-russell.on.ca/documents/alacarte/map_embrun.pdf (note: that file is a pdf file, so you need adobe acrobat reader to view it)
Getting around Embrun by car is easy. Most of the town's tourist-related buildings and areas are accessible off the main road, called Notre-Dame Street.
While harder, one can get around Embrun on foot. The business park area in the western part of the town (near where Exit 88 hooks up with Embrun) has many stores fairly close together. However, walking from the western part of the town to the eastern part of the town can take almost an hour.
Traveling around Embrun by bicycle is quite convinent. In the western part of the town, a bike trail links several streets. In the central part of the town, a pedestrian lane on the side of Blais Street hooks up with the bike trail. From there, one can travel on Centenaire Street, a relatively traffic-free road, to get to the eastern part of the town.
Bicycle rentals are available at Vélo Xpress, located at 968 Notre-Dame Street. Vélo Express can be reached at 1-613-443-5500.
There are no bars, nightclubs or taverns in Embrun.
While in Embrun, you can also visit the small town of Russell. Russell is a short drive away from Embrun. Russell is a beautiful town with a more rural feel than Embrun. To get to Russell, drive west on Notre-Dame Street. It becomes Castor Street, which leads into Russell.