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Mattawa is a town in northeastern Ontario, Canada, at the confluence of the Mattawa and Ottawa Rivers in Nipissing District. Mattawa means "Meeting of the Waters" in Ojibwa. In 1615 Etienne Brulé and Samuel de Champlain were the first Europeans to pass through this area.
The area was first inhabited by native peoples who used the Mattawa River as an important transportation corridor for many centuries. In 1610, Étienne Brûlé and in 1615, Samuel de Champlain were the first Europeans to travel through the Mattawa area. For some 200 years thereafter, it was a link in the important water route leading from Montreal west to Lake Superior. Canoes travelling west up the Ottawa turned left at "the Forks" (the mouth of the Mattawa) to enter the "Petite Rivière" ("Small River", as compared to the Ottawa), before continuing on to Lake Nipissing.
Other notable travellers passing by Mattawa included Jean Nicolet in 1620, Jean de Brébeuf in 1626, Gabriel Lallemant in 1648, Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Médard des Groseilliers in 1658, La Verendrye in 1731, Alexander MacKenzie in 1794, and David Thompson in 1812.
In the 1820s and 1830s, the Hudson's Bay Company sent canoe brigades from their Fort Coulonge Post to this river junction in order to trade furs. In 1837, a permanent post was established which was relocated in 1843 to shores of the Ottawa River in the centre of present-day Mattawa. After the fur trade diminished, the post traded general merchandise to supply lumbermen and eventually closed in 1908.
In the 19th century, Mattawa became a hub for the logging industry which would harvest large untouched stands of white pine in the area and using the Mattawa River to transport logs to sawmills. In 1881, the railroad was built to Mattawa  which was mostly built by French Canadian labourers. After the railroad's completion, these labourers and their families would settle in Mattawa and surrounding areas, bringing with them their culture and heritage.
While logging is still an important industry in this region, nearby provincial parks and wilderness support the camping/hunting/fishing tourism industry in Mattawa today. Mattawa is located on the Canadian Pacific Railway Chalk River subdivision, connecting Smiths Falls and North Bay, with an additional connection to Témiscaming, Quebec.
Mattawa elected Canada's first-ever Black mayor, Firmin Monestime, in 1963. Monestime served as mayor until his death in 1977.
In April 2010, the old Mattawa hospital (visible as the red building in the image to the right) was demolished amid controversy, since the building was a local landmark for which heritage status was considered. A new Mattawa Hospital had been in service for about a year. The area will be further served by a new regional hospital in nearby North Bay, expected to be completed in January, 2011. The old hospital site is expected to be used for the construction of a new secondary school funded by the Province of Ontario through the Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Franco-Nord. 
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