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Rapides des Joachims was originally a mission post on the Upper Ottawa River, where an early Hudson's Bay Post was established at the foot of the long rapids. By 1871 it had become a small village doing considerable lumber business. The river steamers called there because it was, at that time, the head of navigation on the Ottawa.

By 1871 a steamer had begun to make the run 18 miles further upriver to Roch Capitaine. The Montreal Telegraph Company kept an office in Rapides des Joachims. In 1886 the Oblate Fathers built a frame church in the village, which was used until 1922, when a new church was built.

Rapides des Joachims was incorporated in 1955, with J H Mador as its mayor. Later, the township of Aberdeen was added to it. Today, "The Swisha" is known for its good hunting and fishing, and is home to a Commonwealth Plywood mill. Today the village is also the site of one of the Ottawa Navigable Waterway bypasses, which transports boats around the Ontario Hydrodam, connecting the Pembroke stretch of river to the upriver section to Matawa.