Blackburn Hamlet is just south of Beacon Hill and the Queensway, where Innes Rd meets Bearbrook Rd & Navan Rd. The area was first settled between 1803 and 1811, and eventually the community was named after Robert Blackburn, who was a Member of Parliament for Russell in 1858. In those early days, nearby Russell Road was toll road.
In 1956, the land surrounding Blackburn Hamlet was acquired by the National Capital Commission (NCC) to establish the Greenbelt around Ottawa, which limited further expansion of the hamlet, but made existing properties more desirable for access to the greenspace. In the 1960s some redevelopment occurred in the community. Blackburn Hamlet had about 9,000 residents.
The community has NCC Greenhouses & a Regional Detention Centre to the west, and Department of Defence (DND) proving grounds to the east, and the Mer Bleue Conservation Area to the south.
There are several schools in the area, but most notable is the French public high school, Louis Riel, which is home to North America's largest air supported fabric structure, at 12, 4222 square metres.
Blackburn is only a 10-minute drive from downtown but still has an old-fashioned country village feeling.
Blackburn Hamlet is a relatively new neighbourhood; with 3% of homes pre-dating 1960, 32% from 1961-1970, 53% built 1971 - 1980, and 12% built since 1981. Blackburn Hamlet's 3,000 dwellings are comprised 43% single family, 3% semi-detached, 40% row houses, and 9% were low-rise apartments. The great majority (78%) of residents owned their homes and 22% rented.
The hamlet has several elementary schools in the Public and the Catholic system, and has the Louis Riel French public high school at its northern end, and a library at its southern end.
There is a small shopping centre in town, and there is larger big box shopping nearby, to the northwest at Blair Rd & the Queensway/417.
The town has an ice arena and an outdoor pool, as well as a wintertime outdoor ice rink, several tennis courts, and baseball diamonds. There is a toboggan hill just north of the Hamlet, along Green's Creek. The Mer Bleue Conservation Area has over 250 kms of hiking and cross country ski trails. The high school also has a running track. The outdoor soccer fields, known as the Hornet's Nest, also include an inflatable indoor field, known as the SuperDome (which is North America's largest air-supported fabric structure indoor recreation facility).