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The town is located on the south shore of the Ottawa River, opposite Aylmer. The name Buckingham was chosen in honour of John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham (1792–1840), who served as Governor General from 1838 to 1839 and had been born in County Durham in England. Buckingham was founded by Philemon Wright at a location known as Wright's Crossing because it marked a convenient portage route between Lac des Chats and Lac la Pêche where his sons established their homes: William at Britannia Bay (now Ottawa) and Philemon Jr., near what became Aylmer. In 1799, Lord Selkirk established an agricultural settlement consisting mainly of Scottish immigrants along the river valley below Buckingham called "Pattenburg" or "New Scotland". It included more than 200 lots which were granted to settlers for farming purposes only; no provision being made for building sites or dwellings since these would be erected later by individual owners according to their own taste and resources.