Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | July 6, 2018

Cornwall & Counties Map – a great find!

Ada Sloan stopped by the Museum yesterday to offer us a great map that she’s treasured for years. She spotted the item at a yard sale years ago and picked it up for a song. It’s been proudly displayed in her work area at St. Lawrence College ever since, but Ada will be retired as of this afternoon and she desired to ensure that the three foot by five foot roll up cloth map would have a new home where it will continue to be treasured.

The map is of the three United Counties of DS&G (yes, it wasn’t always referred to as SD&G as is now the case.) Some of the really cool features include the identification of the Mile Square town of Cornwall and a few of the early Cornwall Township neighbourhoods (Beaconsfield, Gladstone, etc), the clearly indicated Concessions and the fact that all of the now Lost Villages are identified. That in itself indicates that the undated Department of Highways map is pre-Seaway era. The Department of Highways Ontario (DHO) came into existence in 1931 and continued until 1971, narrowing the time frame somewhat. The provincial highways (now County Roads) are also plainly indicated. Among those shown is Highway 34, which was so named in 1936. Another indicator of era is the inclusion of the New York Central & Ottawa Railway, which operated from 1897 until 1957. A further aid to determining the approximate date of the map is the dotted lines around the annexed former Cornwall Township neighbourhoods. We see those around East Cornwall (formerly known as the south portion of Gladstone), the former Cornwall General Hospital, the former Glengarry cotton mill as well as around the Victory (Wartime) Housing on the site of the former Fair Grounds. The latter district was annexed in 1943 to ensure that the Federal Government’s proposal to construct wartime housing at the Fair Grounds would benefit Cornwall. That narrows it down to between 1943 and 1957. Ada told us that she believes the map to be ca. 1950, so that fits perfectly.

Thank you for thinking of us, Ada. Your map is now proudly hanging in the Museum. Please come visit anytime!

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | June 23, 2018

R.H. Saunders G.S. – 60th Anniversary

A hydro-electric milestone is being celebrated this year; Cornwall’s R.H. Saunders Generating Station turns 60 on July 8.
Pictured above is an Ontario Hydro photo of the official opening of the site in 1958 prior to the 1959 official opening of the international Seaway to facilitate large ocean-going vessels to access the Great Lakes.
As part of the festivities, today, June 23 2018, about 500 people from Cornwall, Quebec, New York and elsewhere, are being treated to a rare guided tour of select areas of the multi-story structure. It has been ten years since such a tour was possible. Admission is free, but had to be pre-arranged. Guests are being accompanied by a team of staff and volunteers who explain aspects of the operation.
Saunders 60th_promo items_webAt the conclusion of the nearly two-hour tours, guests are offered a bag of souvenir memorabilia and the option to experience the exhibits in the Visitor Centre.
Saunders 60th_booklet_webOther give-away items in the black reusable bags were souvenir booklets
Saunders 60th_token_weband wooden commemorative tokens.
Meanwhile, others, such as these fishermen, are enjoying the river for other reasons.

Having been well-constructed and maintained, some of the 1950’s era hydro-electric equipment is still faithfully performing its job, but others have been replaced by modern technology.

In 2002, the facility completed a ten-year refurbishment of the 16 Canadian turbines, boosting electrical production to 1,045 megawatts from 926 mw, supplying between 4% and 8% of the province’s power needs. In 2011, it completed a $20 million upgrade to its protection and control system, bringing the facility more fully into the electronic/digital age.

The old single-site control room has been replaced with a modern one that controls several generating stations along the St. Lawrence, Ottawa and Madawaska river systems.

After the 9/11 scare, the old visitor centre was shut down and subsequently replaced by the current nearby visitor centre in 2010. The St. Lawrence Power Development Visitor Centre is open each day of the week other than on Mondays from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. until August 31.

According to a statement on OPG’s website, OPG employs a staff of about 80 people at the station, most of whom live in the Cornwall area.

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | June 20, 2018

Seaway City Souvenir

This 1960s era artifact is a composite of two images, both of which were commonly used for postcards on their own and together. It features a 5.5″ x 8″ combined image mounted on a brown leatherette hanging frame with fringes around the image. Diagonally intersecting the images is the text: “Greetings from Cornwall Canada, the Seaway City.” The upper image is of a Canada Steamship Lines vessel navigating the former canal while the lower image reveals a section of the south side of Second Street West between Pitt Street and Augustus Street, including Shirley’s Restaurant and the Cornwallis Hotel, neither of which exists today.

This treasured item was recently donated to the Historical Society by Museum neighbours Walter and Rita Tallon.

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | June 7, 2018

Quality First Laundry & Cleaners – final cleanup?

In 1906 Quality First Steam Laundry opened shop at 16 Fourth Street East.

Old Fire Insurance Plans reveal that a number of small businesses were in close proximity, including a popular blacksmith shop – some info on the blacksmith shop can be found at this LINK.

Ownership of the laundry changed hands.

And then again.

In 1942 the operation employed 11 women and 4 men.

This 1971 newspaper advertisement reveals the attractive plate glass store front; the store featured “electronic” dry-cleaning.

Likewise, this 1987 newspaper advertisement gives us a view of the store front and yet other owners.

Two years later the business closed its doors for the final time. The front shop disappeared from the streetscape some time ago, while the back of the building functioned as an automobile repair shop for a time.

These 2016 images reveal an area of the downtown very much in need of a re-birth.

The past few days the property has been undergoing what appears to be a demolition and salvage operation. What is to become of this property – has anyone heard?






Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | March 25, 2018

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Ltd

155 Pitt_AP_scrap0083_1960This December 1960 image shows the old A&P groceteria at 155 Pitt Street with window signs announcing the store’s imminent closure and the subsequent grand opening of its new modern store at 814 Sydney Street.

AP 1961_Farm Boy 2018_webIn this fantastic January 1961 Marcel Quenneville image we see the new A&P store’s official opening; the photo below Quenneville’s is mine [Don Smith’s] from today showing Farm Boy now in the same venue.

Rurban CRFarm Boy got its start in a section of the former Powdrell and Alexander curtain factory at Cumberland and Fourth Street. Rurban now calls that location home. Do you or someone you know have photos of the Bellemaire’s original farm market at that Cumberland Street location? If so, please e-mail me at .


Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | March 16, 2018

Calico Ball, invitation, Iroquois, 1886.

This invitation to the Calico Ball, printed on calico was sent to Ira Carman.

The Museum acquired this artifact in 1994.

Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | March 15, 2018

Chesterville, Ontario, – historic images.

ccThe archives at the Cornwall Community Museum has an extensive document and photograph collection of material from Stormont and Dundas Counties, this is a small sample of our holdings regarding Chesterville.

The Dominion House (Hotel) was established by Matthew Flynn at the time of Confederation.  Before World War I, it was operated by  Thomas. Flynn, located on Main St., the telephone number was “9”.  The three storey hotel had 25 rooms.  It was patronized “by the best citizens of Chesterville and vicinity.  “Stables and sheds for farmers and others were located in the rear of the hotel.”Located opposite the CPR Station, the enterprise was incorporated in Oct., 1907.  “They are manufacturers of Royal Condensed Milk and Imperial Evaporated Cream.  Royal Condensed Milk is produced in the celebrated Chesterville District of Dundas Co., Ont., dairy products from which district won the highest awards at the World’s Fair Chicago.  This brand owes its fine quality to the freshness and purity of fresh milk or cream.  It makes a perfect and naturally complete food for infants, nursing mothers, invalids and aging people, or anyone troubled with weak digestion…”

This Edwardian era postcard shows the bridge over the Nation River at Chesterville.

The postmark on this card is dated 1907.  The horseshoe is a symbol for good luck.

A late 19th century sepia cabinet card by Chesterville photographer M. Flynn.

The Honourable Fred McIntosh Cass, one of Chesterville’s most prominent 20th century citizens.

Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | March 14, 2018

Stanley Island, Maxville, Cornwall historic postcards for sale!

A R. & O. Steamer leaving Stanley Island.  $5.00 only.

If you are interested in historic SD & G and Cornwall postcards be sure not to miss this sale.  Price below ebay, the Cornwall Community Museum is featuring historic postcards in its bookroom, open 11 am to 4 pm Wed. to Friday throughout March and Wed. to Sun. 11 to 4 pm  from April.

Information:  613 936-0280 or

The world famous Algonquin Hotel, Stanley Island.  This Edwardian era postcard is available for $5.

Jealous?  Bathers in the St. Lawrence off Stanley Island.

If you want read more about the Algonquin, and the history of the St. Lawrence between Lachine and Prescott be sure to obtain a copy of SECRETS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE, only available for $30 at the Cornwall Community Museum, only 10 left.

Along with this book the Museum’s bookroom also has a selection of out of print local histories.

Edwardian Hamilton Island, postcard for sale.

Edwardian Main Street.  For sale.

The Great Fire, Pitt Street, Cornwall, August 7, 1933.  A bargain at only $5.

Cornwall’s old fort, aka Fort Augustus.  When you open the card up it reads “Oh Joy, Cornwall is the best town in Canada.”  $5.

Cornwall Public (Central) School.

This is just a small selection available at the Cornwall Community Museum.


Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | March 12, 2018

CORNWALL and SD & G history for sale.

No history of Glengarry County can be considered complete without this book.  Author Rayside documents the other Glengarry, a poignant counter to the heroic Glengarry Myth.

It is possible that you may never have heard of this book, as Glengarry booksellers actually sold it under the counter in a brown bag when it was released in 1991.

This rare second hand edition is now available only at the book room at the Cornwall Community Museum for $20 (original price $40).

The museum is open throughout March, Wed. to Friday, 11 am to 4 pm, call 613 936-0280, or email

The perfect book for the Revolutionary military enthusiast. Softcover, originally $15, now $5.

Cornwall International Bridge, construction of the North Side, April 8, 1898.  The construction, collapse, and repair of the international bridge system was captured in a series of photographs by J.A. Noe of Cornwall.

The south span of the International bridge between New York State and Cornwall Island, the day it collapsed claiming 15 lives, Sept. 6, 1898, photograph, J.A. Noel.

To see more rare photographs and histories of Cornwall’s two bridge disasters be sure to obtain a copy of  THE LIVING RIVER – SECRETS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE only at the bookroom at the Cornwall Community Museum.  Cost:  $30.

If you follow this page, you will remember that by some strange twist of fate, the book was withdrawn, lost and then found in a storehouse in Surrey BC.  We were able to obtain some copies and now with Ian’s imminent retirement only have ten left.  Once these are gone, that is it.

South span repairs, Sept. 30, 1898.

A circus parade led by elephants lumbers through Cornwall, late 19th century.

Have you heard the story about the elephant that tried to swim across the St. Lawrence at Cornwall?

If not, be sure to obtain a copy of THE LIVING RIVER SECRETS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE, while available.



Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | February 23, 2018

Chuck Charlebois – Mr. Renaissance

Our followers may be interested in these political campaign items, which give some insight into Chuck Charlebois’ personal involvement in the community from years ago.

Our condolences to Mr. Charlebois’ family on his passing.

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Cornwall Industry

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Cornwall Canal and Shipping History

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Cornwall Community Museum

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