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Lumbering and farming attracted the first settlers to Campbell’s Bay, which was incorporated as a municipality in 1904. E.H. Workman was the first mayor. The village was named after Lieut. Donald Campbell, a soldier in the Scottish Regiment, who was granted a large amount of land. The main drag, Front Street, is unique in that its buildings are on one side of the street only, giving everyone a majestic view of the Ottawa River.

James McFarlane operated one of the first stores in Campbell's Bay. John McLean owned the first sawmill. The first school was Flood's School built before 1863 and situated near the Protestant graveyard. The Roman Catholic mission was erected in 1919 and the new church was completed in 1939. The court-house was built in Campbell's Bay in 1926-27. Judge Miller was one of the first to preside over the court. Because of its central location in Pontiac, Campbell's Bay became the county seat in 1926. Municipal Regional County meetings are held every month in the building at the corner of Highways 148 and 301. The MRC building is also home to the automobile license bureau and various economic development agencies.