Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | January 9, 2020

Bath Tub Derby Flashback

Locally, the Bath Tub Derby was born in 1968 when eight locals sat down to organize it, using a dog-eared photo of the World Championship in Nanaimo, BC for inspiration.

The Derby was preceded by the Great St. Lawrence Endurance Race from Brockville to Cornwall, passing over the Hydro Dam into the remains of the Cornwall Canal to the finish line at the foot of the Augustus Street swing bridge.

In the 1970 inaugural International Seaway Bathtub Derby race, “15 tubs started … six arrived afloat and under their own power at Johnstown, just east of Prescott. Each tub was accompanied by a rescue boat, and the rescue boats were going crazy.”

“One tub swamped twice on the first seven kilometres … another gave Ewan Girard the Derby altitude record by turning a complete somersault when it smacked into a two metre wave at 29 knots.”

Modified tubs – “tubs with souped-up or special racing motors” – made their first appearance at the Derby in 1970.

The photos posted here were taken by Marcel Quenneville. In one of his columns he recalled heading to the Standard-Freeholder basement darkroom one spring 1970 evening only to spot three of his work buddies on their knees building a bathtub boat, preparing for the 3-day International event a few months away.

The August 1970 event drew 19 floats which travelled along Pitt Street to the Cornwall Canal.

“Dances were held, but the main attraction was on Saturday afternoon when the races occurred,” said Quenneville. “People started arriving two hours before the event. By mid-day police estimated 20,000 had lined the canal watching this amusing spectacle.”

Immediately people from as far away as Illinois began making plans for the following year, but that was not to be. The Cornwall Canal with 35 acres of waterfront property was offered to the City for a token $1 and was to disappear to progress, in spite of considerable heated debate.

The maze of power lines on the north canal bank were vaulted underground. The above photo is from the Cornwall Electric collection.

In the autumn of 1971, a major portion of the remaining post-Inundation canal opposite the original Square Mile town was filled and levelled with topsoil. The majority of the 11.5 mile Cornwall Canal had already disappeared in 1958 with the Inundation that wiped out the now Lost Villages, created Lake St. Lawrence / the head pond for the Saunders Generating Station and in the following year, the official opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway for international shipping.

The former canal lands continue to evolve, forming what most consider to be Cornwall’s waterfront gem.

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | January 8, 2020

Saunders Hydro Dam Construction

The photographs on this page were among 44 4″x5″ black and white images donated in December by John MacKay, Jr of Port Alberni, BC. The photographer was his father, John Dodds MacKay, taken when he was the Manager of the Mechanical Department for the Comstock Company in Ottawa.

J.D. entered the company from Halifax in 1946. having experience there in contracting, sales and design engineering. His first job with Comstock was as a mechanical estimator, then project engineer. He was responsible for the mechanical estimating and the training of estimators, figuring jobs amounting to several millions of dollars. Later he was made project engineer in Toronto and vicinity. In January of 1954 he was transferred to Ottawa as the manager of the Mechanical Department. This branch now carries all Comstock Company’s services, including electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation.

Later he worked on the St. Lawrence Power Project. John Jr was born in Cornwall on February 8 of 1956 when his dad was working on the dam as a mechanical engineer.

John Jr. recalls using some of these photos himself for school projects in the late 1960s while attending Public School in London, Ontario.

We are very pleased to incorporate these photographs into our extensive St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project collection.

There is a story that a dam worker checked himself into the hospital, complaining of double-vision. He spoke to John Sr. in the Cornwall office. A short time later on the New York State side of the dam, he ran into John’s brother who was visiting from Halifax. Not realizing that the brothers are identical twins, the worker was overwhelmed at the man’s apparent ability to be in two places simultaneously, thus prompting the hospital visit.

 

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | November 11, 2019

Local Heroes

In 2014 the Royal Canadian Legion Ontario Command launched the first in an ongoing series of Military Recognition Books. The inaugural edition details the lives of more than 450 veterans and commemorates their sacrifices. In this post we draw attention to those with a connection to the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.
Volume I of the Military Service Recognition Book includes summaries of the following veterans from Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry:

  • Gerald Belanger was born in Cornwall, served in Korea and died in 1972.
  • Dan T. Delage served in the SD&G Highlanders.
  • James A. Lalonde was born in Sussex, served in Cyprus, Germany and was reported living here in Cornwall in 2014.
  • Fernand J. Marion was born in Metcalfe, served in Italy, and as of 2014 was a member of the Cornwall Legion.
  • Gerard S. Marion was born in Cornwall and served as a radio operator.
  • Alexander (Alex) J. McLellan served in Belgium, and as of 2014 was a member of the Cornwall Legion.

Volume II of the Military Service Recognition Book includes summaries of the following veterans from Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry:

  • Brent L. LaFave was born in Cornwall and served in the SD&G Highlanders.
  • Robert G. MacMillan was born in Winchester and served in the Air Force in World War I.
  • Alex W. Ramsey was born in Cornwall and served in the Navy during World War II.
  • Robert T. Robertson was born in Cardinal and served in England and France during World War I.

Volume III of the Military Service Recognition Book includes summaries of the following veterans from Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry:

  • Arthur William Boate served and died in World War II as a member of the SD&G Highlanders.
  • Gordon B. (Bruce) Butler was born in Cornwall and served in the Air Force in Egypt.
  • James R. Hubel was born in Cornwall. He enlisted in the Army, then relocated to Toronto.
  • Ron Lefebvre was born in Alexandria and served in Cyprus and in the Congo.
  • Pierson C. McArthur was born in Martintown and fought at the Ypres, the Somme, Arras, Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele.
  • Xavier F. Sabourin was born in Maxville and served in the Army Service Corps.
  • Harold M. (Mac) Upton was born in Cornwall and serves in the Navy during World War II.
  • Eric Urquhart was born in Williamstown and served in the Air Force during World War II.
  • Eric E. White was born in B.C., served in the reserves and as of 2016 was living in Williamstown.

Volume IV of the Military Service Recognition Book includes summaries of the following veterans from Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry:

  • Bernard Ashton was born in Cornwall and served in the AIr Force during peace time.
  • Frederick (Fred) Sidney George Buckland was born in England, served in Continental Europe during World War II, was a member of the Legion in Cornwall and died in 1990.
  • Blake Bird Keyes was born in Gananoque. He was the brother-in-law of Major Archibald MacDonald of the SD&G Highlanders. Both were killed in action during World War II.
  • Frederick A. Lauzon was born in Summerstown and served as infantry during World War I.
  • Archibald MacMaster was born in Glengarry and served in North Africa and Italy during World War II.
  • Robert Mark was born in Maxville, and served in Hanover, Germany during peace time.
  • Norman M. Morrison was born in Moose Creek, served in the Dragoons in England, Scotland, Sicily, Italy, France, Belgium and Holland.

Volume V of the Military Service Recognition Book includes summaries of the following veterans from Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry:

  • Aime Joseph Lafrance was born in Cornwall and served in the Army in Italy during World War II.
  • Alec MacDonald was born in Williamstown and served in the Navy during World War II.
  • Albert Victor Mason was born in Peterborough and served with the SD&G Highlanders in Central Europe during World War II.

Volume VI of the Military Service Recognition Book includes summaries of the following veterans from Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry:

  • Harold Jospeh Hood was born in 1917 on Scugog Island, Ontario. He enlisted in the Army and landed around noon on June 6 1944, D-Day with the 9th Brigade of SD&G Highlanders 1st Battalion.
  • George Pollock was born in Iroquois, initially serving in the Air Force then integrating into the Navy. He served in Canada, France and Egypt during peace time.
  • Alexander George Wensley was born in Weston. He served in the SD&G Highlanders in France, Belgium and Holland during World War II, having trained in Cornwall.

Our thanks to Royal Canadian Legion Branch 297 1st Vice President Marvin Plumadore for ensuring that copies of this series of publications was donated by the Branch for use at the Cornwall Community Museum and Archives.

 

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | October 26, 2019

Historic Cornwall – Munro C.E.

Munro C.E. was one of the early suburbs in the former Cornwall Township that became a Cornwall neighbourhood on January 1, 1957 when the City annexed much of the Township.  The name Munro C.E. no longer appears on Cornwall maps.

It bordered on West Front, Hartle, and Wm C. Robertson, bounded by Frontenac, King and Walter Streets.

As suggested by this ad from July of 1959, prior to picking up and relocating to the new Highway 2 West (Vincent Massey Drive), Archie’s Golf Range was located southwest of West Front School, at 3 King Street, near the former Roosevelt Bridge.

This 1961 Marcel Quenneville aerial image shows the former golf course location.

A photo of Archie’s miniature golf. This photo and the next are courtesy of Jerry Sauve.

This building was relocated and is incorporated into today’s pro shop at the current Vincent Massey location.

From Hy-Trous to Nutrite to Synagri
In 1953, the wet and dry fertilizer manufacturer, which began at 121 Pitt in 1949 and soon relocated to Wallrich Avenue, made its final relocation, this time to the canal bank at 42 Frontenac Street.

Nash Kalil purchased the plant from E.J. Kaneb in 1957. Quebec City-based International Fertilizers Ltd. acquired Hy-Trous in 1959. In September of 1967, Genstar Ltd’s Brockville Chemical Industries Ltd. purchased the plant. The company branched out into Chesterville in 1971.

July of 1976 witnessed a name change to Genstar Chemical Ltd, utilizing the Nutrite trade mark and in September of 1979 the name changed to Nutrite Inc.

This was the plant in 1994.

This newspaper ad is from 1996.

In 2002, the name changed to SynAgri.

This Google Street View image is from 2009.

The Cornwall plant was closed in 2013 with the company citing problems with its property lease. In 2014 SynAgri began a two-year transition to completely rebuild an expanded plant in Chesterville.

The Cornwall plant was demolished ca. 2019 while the Chesterville Synagri operation is a going concern.

Remnants of the Synagri spur line remain.

Prior to finding a home in Guindon Park in 2019, the Cornwall Rowing Club had its heart set on the former 42 Frontenac Street property, but opted not to delay while waiting for the federal government to divest itself of the property.

Universal Terminals
Universal Terminals Ltd was operating at or adjacent to 42 Frontenac Street by 1961 and continued to operate a depot there until at least 1992.

Tank Truck
By 1965, Tank Truck Transport Ltd. was operating on King Street. By 1988 the name had changed to Tank Truck & Teledyne Ltd and continued on until at least 1992. By 1997 they resumed operating as Tank Truck Transport Ltd and since 1998 they are listed under P.O. Box 1094. Tank Truck Transport Inc presently (2019) operates from 1300 Rosemount Avenue.

Styrotile Sales
By the 1960s, Styrotile Sales had relocated from 4 Walter Street to 400 2nd St W.

In 1959, right next door to Styrotile retail flooring was McDonald wholesale flooring at 4 Walter.

Prior to McDonald, Leonard’s Meat Market occupied that location.

 

To return to our main post on Historic Cornwall neighbourhoods, please follow this LINK.

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | October 26, 2019

A Visit to the Cornwall Community Museum

The United Counties Museum in the Wood House opened on June 12, 1958. Howard Smith Paper Mill had previously taken over the Walter Wood farm at 731 Second Street West and converted most of it for employee parking and a new wood room. Realizing the need for a community museum, the mill graciously offered use of the house to the newly reorganized SD&G Historical Society.
The Wood House on the move in 2000In 2000 when the United Counties Museum in the Wood House was relocated to our current location in Lamoureux Park and the collection was consolidated with the collection from Inverarden Regency Cottage Museum, we became the Cornwall Community Museum.

The people's museumA new cornerstone was laid, proudly announcing to all that this Museum is dedicated to the entire community of Cornwall.As such, the Museum contains several theme areas, systematically structured and sequenced to broadly represent large demographic groupings of the historic local citizenry. It is our desire that everyone who participates in one of our guided tours of the Museum will come away with a greater sense of connection to our roots and to the foundations of this great province.

We begin our tour with the Loyalist founding of the square mile town of Cornwall and progress to the present-day 31 square mile city.

The Founding of Cornwall – main floor
founding_20191019_131852 CR loresCornwall dates its founding to June of 1784, provisionally named after its military leader, Sir John Johnston, formerly of the Kings Royal Regiment of New York. Our 1840 Loyalist farmhouse was moved here in 2000 as per the framed photos.

founding_20191019_131927 CR loresOn this side of the room we have depictions of early laundry, industry and blacksmithing. The blacksmith tools of Joseph Laundrie, donated in December of 2017, include his anvil, forge tools, harness equipment and a photo of the man at work.

Entrance Area – main floor
entr_20191019_132105 loresCornwall is sometimes thought of the nation’s hub of its first national sport, lacrosse. The Lally lacrosse stick factory operated in Cornwall and other factories were nearby in Akwesasne. This combined with an abundance of champion players, a large field with grandstand and night lighting all contributed to the claim to fame. Hockey sticks were manufactured in nearby Martintown and sold from an outlet in Cornwall. The bell was once used to mark time in the government carpenter shop along the banks of the former Cornwall Canal.

entr_20191019_132019 loresPottery of all sorts was a mainstay for decades. On Cornwall’s canal bank stood a high-end pottery, known for most of its life as Flack and Van Arsdale. Although the company has been out of business for a long time, their product is still widely traded.
American Oren L. Ballard left his pottery in St John’s, Quebec to open a pottery on part of hydraulic lot 4, leased from William Mattice, along the canal race in the east end of Cornwall in 1864.

scan0016In 1868 (or 1869) Americans David Andrew Flack and Isaac Hatfield Van Arsdale purchased Ballard’s pottery. Located between the Head and Tail Race adjacent to the Cornwall Canal (just west of the Dundas Cotton Mill), Flack & Van Arsdale was the only pottery in Ontario operated by water power.

scan0021By 1870, the partners had invested $11,000 in the business and the pottery was one of only nine in Ontario to import Jersey clay. Ten men were employed year round to turn $3,000 worth of clay into $30,000 worth of merchandise. in 1900 the firm began to decline. The business was sold after the death of head potter Isaac Van Arsdale in 1907.

1900s Kitchen – main floor
VC staff_2019During the peak tourist season, the counter becomes base of operation for the City of Cornwall Visitor Centre.

Kit_20191019_132531 CR loresAt other times it reverts to Museum use. In 2019 that area commemorates the 60th anniversary of the official Opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Year round the balance of the room depicts life ca. 1900-1957.

Kit_20191019_132325 loresThis typical 1900s wood stove was custom-ordered. The bevelled-edge mirrors, decorative trim and decorative tile make it a very rare stove. The Wood family who lived here also had a wood stove which replaced the open hearth behind this stove and the beehive oven in the entrance area.

Kit_20191019_132425 lores

This ice box is large and upscale in that it is metal-lined, making it more hygienic than an all-wood model. As depicted in the photo collage above the ice box, the ice was commercially harvested from the canal out front, warehoused across the street and delivered in smaller blocks as needed.

Kit_20191019_132417 CR loresFood was stored in pottery, metal and glass containers.

Kit_20191019_132407 CR loresMilk was home-delivered in glass bottles like these from local dairies. 

Kit_bottles20191019_132215 CR loresCornwall had a short-lived brewery. The community enjoyed having several local soft drink bottlers, such as Denton.

Kit_PCards_20191019_132225 loresHere at the Museum, we are pleased to offer for sale an affordable selection of vintage-style post cards and local history books.

MM

The above represents the initial stages of a visitor experiencing a typical guided tour through the Cornwall Community Museum. Stay tuned – there is much more to follow.

LP_20191019_132824 loresOther main floor areas of the Museum include a dining room, Seaway and historic churches exhibit, gentlemen’s study and ladies’ parlour.

SR_20191019_094952_loresThe top floor of the house includes a 1940s bedroom, overlaid with a cotton mill textiles theme, a sewing nook and two adjoining rooms focussed on diverse aspects of community service, such as historic fraternities, service clubs, municipal government and Cornwall’s two first permanent hospitals which opened in 1897 and their respective schools of nursing.

Utilities_20191020_121844 loresBelow the house are research areas and additional Museum exhibits, featuring Cornwall’s big three historic industries, the historic Compo/Decca/MCA record plant, historic schools and school swag, the street railway and historic Cornwall merchants.

We are the community Museum and our goal is to exhibit and interpret a broad selection of artifacts representative of the community.

 

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | October 12, 2019

Holy Cross Church

Responding to the growing population in the vicinity of Courtaulds, Holy Cross Parish was carved out of the parish of St. Felix de Valois on January 17, 1954, celebrating its first Eucharist almost one year later on Christmas Eve of 1954. Holy Cross was re-absorbed by St. Felix (albeit in a replacement church in a more viable location), celebrating its final Eucharist on January 7, 2017. The Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall explained the rationale for the closure: “with the changing demographics, fewer people attending church on a regular basis and a lack of French speaking priests, it had become clear that three Francophone parishes were no longer needed. After consultation over several years with both the parishioners of the affected parishes and the Council of Priests, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, made the difficult decision to close Sainte-Croix (Holy Cross).” The new boundaries of St-Felix include everything in the City east of McConnell and south of Marleau.

Catholic schools frequently take the name of the parish in which they are situated, however, in this case, the school came first. All Catholic parishes within the City of Cornwall are direct or indirect off-shoots of Cornwall’s first Catholic parish, St. Columban, which began as a mission of St. Andrew’s Parish. Like Nativity and many other Francophone parishes, Holy Cross began as a bilingual parish, initially unable to sustain itself as a unilingual Francophone parish.

The now late Bishop Eugene P. LaRocque decided to strengthen the Francophone community by declaring as many bilingual Catholic parishes as possible to be unilingual French or English. As such, the Anglophone component of Holy Cross was encouraged to move to the newly-founded parish of St. Peter. Prior to the 1978 split, the 25 year-old bilingual parish had grown from a membership of 600 to 6,000 parishioners.

The rather plain concrete church’s physical dimensions were 45’ wide by 138’ long, originally sitting on 6 lots (250’ x 150’) purchased from John Lafave on the corner of Leonia and Easton.

In 1949, two additional lots were purchased from the same owner, resulting in the church becoming bordered by Anthony, Easton and Leonia.

The adjacent Holy Cross School has long-since ceased to function as an elementary school, eventually being demolished to create a new residential subdivision, as pictured.In February of 2019, the City received a Demolition Permit request from the new owner. This is what the former church looked like at that time.

The nave in 2019

Looking towards the loft

The main sanctuary

A heating pipe had ruptured, spewing steam throughout the basement hall.

At the time, the owner had tenants in the former rectory; his plan was to preserve the rectory, but demolish the church.

In the summer of 2019, rather than being demolished, the church was re-purposed as a Sikh temple.

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | October 1, 2019

Scores Cornwall – gone before concluding year 6

On the heels of a company job fair a month and a half earlier, on December 9 2013, a restaurant chain which launched in 1995, opened in the Brookdale Centre (960 Brookdale Avenue) in Cornwall with Rob Cardinal and Stephane April at the helm. Originally constructed as an enclosed mall, the property was re-developed in 2000 and converted into an unenclosed shopping centre.

The Montreal-based Scores chain operates in Quebec, Eastern Ontario and New Brunswick. The Cornwall restaurant was the chain’s 44th and the 3rd in Ontario. At just over 66,000 square feet, the restaurant had a capacity of more than 200 patrons. Take-out and delivery were also available.

Included on the menu were chicken, ribs, brochettes, grills, steaks, sandwiches and fajitas.

An all-you-can-eat soup, salad and fruit bar was featured as a stand-alone or as a meal add-on. The above four images were pulled from a promotional video.

On the evening of September 30 of 2019, without any fanfare (other than a few staff, several fans and some vocal critics adding their two cents on social media) the local franchise quietly faded into Cornwall restaurant history. The restaurant business here is highly competitive and even more chain outlets are about to open. One can well-imagine the rationale for closing. The five year mark is considered a crucial milestone in the life of any new business; kudos to Stephane and Rob for enduring the hard work and long hours to make it to that juncture.

These photos were taken during that final night. This was the dine-in entrance.

The view from the front. The restaurant walls featured large photographs of local landmarks. The franchise may have started a trend; various local eateries and other businesses now proudly display photos and murals of current and historic Cornwall locales, some of which were obtained through the SD&G Historical Society. Businesses are welcome to contact the Museum for details.

Late morning the next day, after a meeting, the owners made it official with this notice on the front windows.

At the time of the Cornwall store opening, Scores parent company Imvescor Inc., also operated Pizza Delight, Mikes and Baton Rouge. In December 2017, MTY, which also owns Au Vieux Duluth, Mr. Sub, Thai Express and Sushi Shop amalgamated with Imvescor.

 

 

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | September 23, 2019

Remembering Parisien Beverages

722 Pitt_Parisien Beverages_1957_webNiagara Dry, John Collins, Orange Crush, Nesbitt’s Orange, Pure Spring, Canada Dry, Mountain Dew, 7-Up, Dr. Pepper and Pepsi-Cola at one time or another were bottled here in Cornwall by Parisien Beverages. The above photo is from the Marcel Quenneville collection; on the right is Otto Mayer (age 29 when the photo was taken in 1957).

722 Pitt_Parisien Beverages_1951 DirParisien Beverages launched in 1935 and operated at 722 Pitt Street until 1962.

In 1962 they relocated to 215 Saunders Drive in Cornwall’s former industrial sub-division.

722 Pitt_Parisien Beverages_Soda case_Ray CaronRay Caron shared this Parisien crate from the late 1960s.

They operated at Saunders Dr. until 1982 when Pepsi purchased the bottling operation and moved it to Ottawa.

Sales and warehousing remained in Cornwall until June of 1993 when Pepsi closed the Cornwall operation entirely. Pepsi had purchased the Parisien distribution operation the year prior.

722 Pitt_Parisien Beverages_1929-2000_sky pilotThe Pepsi Sky-Writer plane with its Sky-Pilot was in operation from 1929 until 2000.

Here in 2019, the original 722 Pitt Street building is a good example of an older commercial building which has been nicely updated and now houses a variety of businesses.

And this is a recent view of 215 Saunders Drive.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | September 21, 2019

It’s been a gas

Driving by the familiar landmark over the past few days it was difficult not to notice this building passing into Cornwall history. At 1616 Pitt Street at the corner of Emma, a convenience store, an eatery and a rental outlet occupy the other three corners of that busy intersection, not far from Via Rail.

For most of its life, this structure housed a series of service stations. For example, in 1959 Clarence Beechener operated his service station there and by 1975 it was Aurele’s Service Station.

When this photo was taken in 1989, it flew the Petro Canada banner.

Until the summer of 2018, the building was the base of operation of Tartan Home Comfort; the owner is now employed by a former competitor.

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | September 15, 2019

Bishop Macdonell Senior School

Back in the mid-1970s, Bishop Macdonell School located on Adolphus Street at Third Street was a senior school, housing just 7th and 8th graders, unlike today.

This photo of Mrs. Joan Martin’s class was taken ca. 1975. Who do you recognize?

So far we’ve identified several of the people pictured:

Rear:
Monique Martin, Kenny Cox, Kim Lalonde, Brian Shaver, Gary McDougal, Don Smith, Colleen Dupuis, Joan Martin (teacher)
Next:
______________ , Curtis Collins, Gordie Lefebvre, Richard Martin?, Wayne Joseph, David Taillon, Sandra Mitchell
Next:
Greg Villeneuve, Joanne Lepage, Robert King, Kevin Blue, ________________, __________________, ________________, David McLeod
Front:
_______________, ______________________, Pam Wollinger, Brigitte _________________, Karen Leduc, __________________
Our thanks to David Taillon for allowing us to scan this photo from his elementary school years.

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In The Wood House at the waterfront, Cornwall, Ontario, Canada