Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | September 17, 2018

Cornwall (Classical) College 1948-1968

On the 50th Anniversary of the closing of Cornwall College (Cornwall Classical College), 150 college alumni, faculty and friends gathered at Cornwall’s Nav Centre for a reunion.  Many of those in attendance at that September 15, 2018 event also attended a similar reunion in 2013. Some had likewise gathered at St. Lawrence College for a reunion in 2008.  A photo album from that event can be accessed at this LINK.

They gathered to renew friendships and to reminisce of days gone by and a time that was formative for them.

They also expressed their gratitude for the religious who gave so much of themselves.  The school was founded by the Clerics of St. Viator.  Alexandria-Cornwall’s Monsignor Rejean Lebrun and Bishop Luc Bouchard of Trois-Rivières were among those who expressed their appreciation for what they received while students at the former combined high school and university. Monsignor Lebrun, who took a turn addressing the assembly, was a student of College Classique between 1950 and 1958.

The buffet supper Saturday night was truly a feast.  Two potato soup was followed by Summerstown salad.  The main course included beef, chicken and salmon, while the entrees included potatoes, snap peas and carrots.  The cheese cake rounds were delicious.

Our Associate Curator was an invited guest; after dinner he was presented with some memorabilia of the school.

Pictured above is Normand Allaire who donated his school ring and school gym shorts to the SD&G Historical Society for its collection at the Cornwall Community Museum. In his professional career, Allaire served as President and CEO of Runnymede Healthcare Centre (1984-2005) and later as a Canadian Citizenship Judge (2006-2012).

His donation inspired Wayne Gosselin to contribute his school sweater, pictured above.  The sweater’s label indicates that the garment was purchased from historic Cornwall retailer, Marcel Raymond.  The 413 Montreal Road store, pictured below, had the motto:  “Male attire that women admire.”

Some other alumni indicated that they, too, plan to add their cherished school memorabilia to the growing collection at the Museum.  We appreciate these donations entrusted to us and look forward to that which is yet to come in order that it may be shared with the larger community.

More photos from the reunion can be viewed at this LINK.

To view our post on historic East Lorneville and the college, please follow this LINK.


Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | September 15, 2018

City Smoke Shop & Restaurant

From the late 1950s through to 1980, Ed Langin’s City Smoke Shop was a downtown Cornwall fixture.

When the business opened about 1959, it was known as City Smoke Shop. In 1961, the Colony Coffee Shop (sometimes called the Colony Restaurant) opened inside the smoke shop.

This vintage post card indicates that at a point the Coral Room (lunch counter) and City Smoke Shop operated at that 15 Second Street East location, yet the telephone directories are moot on that branding.

Neon signs became abundant throughout the downtown as depicted in this Marcel Quenneville photo.

In 1978 a re-branding occurred; the businesses operated under the single name of City Smoke Shop and Restaurant.

By 1982, Ali’s Smokemeat Smoke Shop had taken over the location.


Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | September 8, 2018

Gerry Grant 1924 – 2018

Today our community remembers the life and service of Gerry Grant.

Flags across the City have been at half-mast for about a week now, leading up to this former City Councillor’s funeral this morning.

Cover of 1985 campaign brochure – elected for a 3 year term

He was known as a tireless volunteer and as a mentor to others also engaged in community service.

In his career, Grant was employed by C.I.L.; among his roles were Manager of the Purchasing Department and Manager of the Transportation Department.

His community service extended to Branch 297 of the Royal Canadian Legion, Kiwanis Club of Cornwall, Cornwall & District Traffic Club, HSPM Credit Union, Cornwall Service Club Council, the Canadian Red Cross and the Cornwall Children’s Christmas Fund, where he filled many roles, including on the executive of several organizations. In 1992 Grant was named Citizen of the Year.

Down the years Grant was also a member of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Cornwall Golf and Country Club, the SD&G Highlanders’ Association and others.

Cover of 1988 campaign brochure – failed attempt at re-election

His political campaign platform included:

  • Open, more business-like meetings of City Council
  • Efficient, effective administration and municipal services
  • Monitoring of spending to prevent heavy tax increases
  • Co-operation with senior governments
  • Industrial expansion / jobs
  • Small business development
  • Respect for the natural environment
  • Increased opportunities and activities for youth
  • Transit system improvements
  • Seniors’ Housing

Grant, whose health had been failing, although having been hospitalized for a time, died peacefully at his home at Riverdale Terrace.

Rest in peace, gentle man.

Further reflections on Gerry Grant’s life and contribution to the community can be found at the following links:



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

Captain E.S. Brand & the St. Lawrence Seaway

Recently a small, but nationally important collection of some 60 maritime artifacts was received by the SD&G Historical Society.

Eric Sydney Brand (1896-?) served in the British and later Canadian military. In July 1939 Captain Brand was loaned to the Royal Canadian Navy as Director of Naval Intelligence. Soon after this appointment, he was also given the responsibility of organizing the Trade Division at Naval Service Headquarters to handle the Royal Canadian Navy’s contacts with the merchant shipping of all nations. He held these two posts until 14 April 1946, when he retired from active service in the rank of Captain. In 1946 he was appointed Controller of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Shipping under the Department of Labour. During 1946-1947 he was special assistant to the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply on the drafting of legislation to establish a Canadian Maritime Commission. Brand later served as a special assistant to the Minister of Mines and Resources on immigrant transportation, as Executive Director, the Canadian Maritime Commission, and, finally, as the Director of Marine Operations, Department of Transport.

The donated Coast Guard artifacts belonged to David Lever, a now retired professional sailor. He and his wife Corrina collect Seaway memorabilia. The Auxilliary badges are from Maritimes Region; they were given to David when he was acting as their training officer and as liaison officer from JRCC Halifax. The shoulder board was his as Senior Marine Search and Rescue Controller Halifax Rescue Co-ordination Centre (Now Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre). He served in the Fleet from 1984 to 1986 and 1986 to 2008 at JRCC Halifax and 2008 to 2014 at Search and Rescue HQ Ottawa.

The donated Seaway-related artifacts are a mixture of documents, books and photographs given to Brand during his career, whereas a few drawings were created by Brand himself. The Levers acquired those items from Brand’s son, Christopher. These include some typed speeches of Lionel Chevrier, Seaway maps, and St. Lawrence Power Project Progress booklets.

Among the other interesting artifacts still in the Levers’ possession relate to the opening of the Seaway, including invitations to Captain and Mrs. Brand to attend the opening ceremony and the Prime Minister’s Buffet Dinner in Montreal.

Speaking of the donated artifacts, David Lever commented that: “Corrina and I consider them vital for preservation of Seaway research and memorabilia.” We are grateful that the Levers chose us to preserve this important aspect of our Canadian heritage.

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | August 24, 2018

Wales: The Last Wedding

This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the St Lawrence Power Project, while anticipating next year’s 60th anniversary of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

With this year’s drought and resulting low water levels, there is much renewed interest in the Lost Village of Wales. People have been walking the temporarily resurfaced streets of Wales and collecting souvenirs, such as bricks from the former Grand Trunk Railway station.

Shirley Heagle provided us with this June 1, 1957 photo taken on the steps of St. David’s (Anglican) Church at Wales. She and her now deceased husband, Raymond, were the last couple to be married there prior to the demolition of that church in anticipation of the Power Project inundation. St. David’s was demolished in 1957, but some stones and human remains from the church cemetery were relocated to the new combined St. Lawrence Union Cemetery near Ingleside. St. David’s stained-glass windows found a new home at Christ Church in Long Sault, while the Casavant pipe organ was relocated to St. James in Morrisburg.

Wales was originally known as Dickinson’s Landing Station, a mile north of Dickinson’s Landing. As the area around the station grew in population, the church was built in Wales and the parishioners from St. Peter’s in Woodlands transferred to the new church. These two church photos are from historic post cards.

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

CGH School of Nursing Class Rings

The former Cornwall General Hospital School of Nursing operated from 1899 until 1969, while the hospital’s RNA Training Centre served the community from 1968 until 1989.

During that period of time, Pommier Jewellers designed a series of CGH school rings, evolving with the changing times and according to the wishes of various graduating classes. We are aware of at least three distinct designs (ca. 1922, 1952 and 1969).

Andre Pommier tells us that his popular jewellery shop at the junction of Pitt and Second Street still has the ring moulds. Using these moulds, he can create replacement rings for any lost or badly damaged school ring. However, his preference is to professionally repair any damaged ring.

Recently the Cornwall General Hospital Down Memory Lane project arranged for three of these different rings (accompanied by their owners) to gather at Pommier’s for a ring cleaning and photo opportunity. The project is raising funds to create a permanent commemorative of the school of nursing, the RNA school and the hospital itself on the original hospital site, now operating as The Care Centre. The Centre offers affordable seniors’ housing and a mix of health-related offices, each independently operated.

Pictured from left to right are Rosamond McCuaig-Loucks, Keitha Lewis (Edwards) CGH R.N. Class of 1952,  Andre Pommier, Carol Matheson (Edwards) CGH R.N.Class of 1952, Sharon Burley (Hunt) CGH R.N Class of 1969; her ring was completely refurbished by Andre Pommier.

Rosamond McCuaig-Loucks represented Neil McCuaig, Class of 1969, deceased 24 March 1993. Neil received the 1922 ring from his Aunt Florence McCuaig, a CGH 1922 graduate. Neil gave the ring to his wife Rosamond, graduate RN of the Regional School of Nursing. Rosamond is now remarried to Bert Loucks.

As Rosamond mused, “I wonder if there are more rings?” Do you know of other designs? If so, we’d love to hear from you at If you can help with a financial donation or memorabilia item for the project, please contact Sharon Porter at 613-935-9457.

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?






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