Posted by: Media Manager | July 23, 2017

Historic Cornwall – Sister Macdonell

Sister Macdonell, often incorrectly spelled as MacDonald, 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 Sister Macdonell no longer appears on Cornwall maps.

The Macdonell family farm property had been passed down to Sister Janet Macdonell and ultimately to her religious community, the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph. The property was a strip of land on the east side of McConnell Avenue, north of 3rd Street East, part of Lot 6, just east of the original Square Mile Town.

The “New” Hotel Dieu Hospital

HDH_1959-11_CR_300In 1948, Sister Marie de la Ferre made a provincial application to replace the outgrown Water Street Hotel Dieu Hospital. In 1952, sod was turned on the Sister Macdonell site and construction of the new five storey, 250 bed Hotel Dieu Hospital began in late 1952. The cornerstone was laid on June 16, 1954. June 1, 1955 was the planned opening date, but Maternity & Pediatrics were not ready in time. The first patient, Mr. Waters, was admitted by Dr. C.J. Hamilton on August 17, 1955 and on September 14, 1955, the hospital officially opened to a crowd of more than 3,000. The new hospital was fully approved by the Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation in 1956. The project included a separate boiler house and laundry. Not only did the Sisters donate $200,000 and the land, but they also assumed responsibility for the $1,800,000 loan and contributed an enormous amount of free labour. Their contribution to the community was considerable. The above photo was taken in 1959.

The photo above is from 1970; it reveals a new structure to the north of the hospital.

Constructed in 1961 on the hospital site at 840 McConnell Avenue and opened the following year, the new R.H.S.J. Hotel Dieu Convent housed the Sisters who were responsible for the Hospital Administration. Living on-site meant that the Sisters could be called into action on very short notice day or night. The order had also been responsible for the original hospital.

Ca. 2000, the religious community relocated to a large brick house at 783 Guy Street, to the rear of the hospital, on separate property.

In 2003 the Sisters gave over the hospital and property for a token $1, pending a consolidation of services from the General and Hotel Dieu sites. Over a period of some years, the former “new” Hotel Dieu Hospital and the former Cornwall General Hospital would progressively amalgamate under the name of the Cornwall Community Hospital, largely being rebuilt on former Hotel Dieu Hospital expansive property, much larger than the half-block Cornwall General site that would be re-born as The Care Centre.

On Friday, July 21, 2017 the Cornwall Community Hospital announced that a contract had been awarded for the demolition of its North Annex. The hospital’s I.T. and Facilities Departments were due to have completely vacated the premises by the end of the day in favour of more modern quarters in the expanded hospital complex. Once the former R.H.S.J. convent turned Annex has been taken down, the area will be used as a doctors’ parking lot.

The former convent has witnessed a variety of uses and structural changes over time. Gone are the former garage and courtyard walls.

The Sisters’ airy community room became hospital office space with a view.

There is an adjacent kitchenette and break room.

Some of the symbols associated with the R.H.S.J. Convent are still witnessing to the buildings’ original purpose.

The two-storey bedroom wing was separate from the community wing. Some of the former convent bedrooms served those in training at the hospital. For a time, long-time Hospital Chaplain Father Claude Halle also lived there.

Microsoft Word - Former Hotel Dieu Convent.docA wall had been removed to facilitate a combined kitchenette and lounge.

In many ways this moment further delineates the end of an era of Catholic public acute care hospitals in the City.

Med Ctr_aerial_1970-09_2010-22.139To the immediate south of the hospital stands the McConnell Medical Centre as depicted in 1970.

Adj proptiesIn this 2017 image we see that the Medical Centre has been enlarged considerably and further south are two other significant structures on the former Sister Macdonell estate.

This was the Cornwall Regional School of Nursing on the s.e. corner of 4th St E and McConnell Avenue. It later became the student residence for St. Lawrence College and more recently a seniors’residence, which constructed a second building to the east.

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

Posted by: Media Manager | July 23, 2017

Ed. Warner’s – From Livery to Taxi to Auto Dealership/Garage

Ed Warner started Cornwall’s first taxi service in 1911. Located at 30-32 2nd St W when it succumbed to fire on November 29, 1951, the taxi, car dealership and service garage was then sandwiched between the Cornwallis Hotel and Shirley’s Lunch. Previously, ca. 1930 we see the business operating from the next block at 29 2nd St E, near Warner’s residence at 35 2nd St E.

This recently donated 15” ruler was likely issued in the 1940s. Wes Dunbar and Ed Anderson are noted on the ruler.

Among the related artifacts in our Archives are:

    • 1924-03-04 Invoice – E.D. Warner Auto Livery and Garage
    • 1924-11-01 Statement – E.D. Warner (McLaughlin, Buick, Star)
    • 1925-08-01 – E.D. Warner (McLaughlin-Buick, Star, Willys-Overland ) – Taxi 105, Garage 14J
    • 1926 – Near King George Hotel (McLaughlin-Buick, Willys-Knight, Overland, Pontiac) & Taxi

    • 1930 ad – Warner’s Garage / Ed. Warner, 29 2nd St E
      (Buick, Pontiac, Cadillac, LaSalle, G.M.C. trucks)

  • 1931 Bell Dir – bus 29 2nd E, res. 35 2nd St E.
  • 1939 17 employees earning $22,475.55, finished products worth $176,959.16
  • 1940-12-28 – Ed. Warner (Cadillac, LaSalle, Dodge, DeSoto)
    • Sale to Glen-Stor-Dun FARM (this was the Glebe House of Refuge from 1912-1952)
  • 1941 16 male employees earning $28,267.47, finished goods worth $266,687.08
  • 1942 13 male employees earning $23,637.44, finished goods (sales) worth $135,000
  • 1947 Invoice – Ed. Warner Limited (Chrysler, Plymouth, Fargo Trucks)

This is a sampling of the many items in the Archives at your Cornwall Community Museum.


Posted by: Media Manager | July 21, 2017

Leger’s Hardware / Proulx Brothers

The 1951 Cornwall City & Township Directory includes an ad for Leger’s Hardware at 361 Alice Street. The store was located in Lorneville on west side of Alice Street between Walton and 1st St. E. The centre of Alice Street was the dividing line between the historic Cornwall Township neighbourhoods of Lorneville and Riverview.

45_Leger's Hardware

Pictured above is the store’s 1954 Business Listing in the Bell Directory.

This 1957 sales receipt for Leger’s Hardware hints back to the time of three and four digit telephone numbers.

The 1959 City Directory lists Leger’s Hardware, still at 357 Alice Street, still owned by Emile G. Leger. From the 1939 City Directory we know that Emile previously worked as a clerk for Belanger & Gauthier.

In the 1963 and 1970 City Directories, we see the business listed as Leger Hardware Reg’d at the same address and phone and now owned by Robert Proulx.

This 1965 school yearbook advertisement reveals that the store was still a merchant of C.C.M. bicycles.

According to the 1971 City Directory, Jean (John L.) Proulx had joined Robert in the business, now operating as Proulx Brothers Hardware. The prior year, John was listed as working for Hodgins Lumber as an accountant.

Other businesses subsequently operated from that location. The building still stands and recently (2017) housed a variety store.

The paint stir sticks shown above are from a large collection donated to the Museum recently. What’s in your closet waiting to be shared? Contact us at .


Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | July 20, 2017

Hotel Cornwallis. Artifact of the Week.

A silverplate vase given to Edith Firth for 25 years service at the Cornwallis Hotel.  Acquired by the museum in 2011.

The museum is always looking for Cornwallis related memorabilia, contact us if you have anything.

Hotel  brochure, ca. 1940.

The letter sent to Mrs. Mary Synder inviting her to the official opening of the hotel as the person who named it the CORNWALLIS.

Advertising card, pre 1934.

The theatre featuring “talkies” across the street was the Capitol.

This photograph was taken in the Club Dining Room in the Hotel, on the regular meeting night of the Cornwall Kinsmen Club, Feb. 9, 1944.

In this photograph Kinsmen are seen parting with their clothing to give to the “Clothing to Russia” campaign, as part of the War effort.

In the foreground, left to right:  Ernie Sleeman, pres; Robert Revie and George Hunter, campaign organizers.

In the background, left to right:  Clint Birchard, Harry Devitt, Ray Hartle, Joe Elson, Ed Goss, Graham Dennison, Lloyd Gallinger, Arnold (Standard-Freeholder, photographer)

The hotel was constructed in 1928 by the Cornwall Community Hotel Co. Ltd., and headed by MP Arnold Smith, insurance agent Harry W. Snetsinger, wholesale grocer Arthur Chevrier, coal merchant J.E. Chevrier and Road Master J.C. Broderick.

In the late 1930s the Hotel advertised that it was “…the most comfortable hotel in Cornwall, yet rates are no higher.  Large airy rooms and fresh crisp cleanliness add to the many comforts at this beautifully quiet hotel.  Hotel operated on European Plan.  Rooms $2.25 up.”

With 90 rooms and 40 baths, the brochure continues: “Every convenience of the hotel is available at the Cornwallis, which is Cornwall’s newest, fireproof hotel.”

The place to be seen in Cornwall, the dining room stated the 1945 banquet celebrating the incorporation of Cornwall as a City.  Former U.S. President Truman was one of its more illustrious guests.

The dining room’s most famous guest, however, Queen Elizabeth II, never made it for lunch, the royal yacht being held up by fog during her 1959 Canadian tour.

Ironically, a fire in 1977 led to the hotel being demolished.


Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | July 20, 2017

Cornwall Sports trophies and medallion.

A sterling silver medal awarded to Vince Martelle for being on the winning team for the 1937 – 38, Hazeley Cup.

The medal was donated by Ron Martelle in 1989, a former Cornwall mayor, his dad was awarded the medal.

Here is a useful trophy.  A pewter glass bottom pint tankard awarded to Earnest M. S. Mattice by the Cornwall Lawn Tennis Club, on July 26, 1886.

Donated to the museum in 2012 by Mary Mitchell of Ottawa.

A wood, plastic, and metal trophy awarded in 1973 to Peewee Lacrosse Division Coach A. Bissonnette.

The lacrosse stick could also serve as a swizzle stick.  Given to the museum in 2013.


Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | July 19, 2017

Fifth Wheel Truck Stop, Cornwall.

The caption on this “Standard-Freeholder” photograph dated December 2, 1977 reads:  “New Fifth Wheel Truck Stop opened this week.  The motel-restaurant complex at McConnell Ave., near Highway 401 is specially designed to cater to truckers.  Mayor Gerald Parisien was guest of honour at the ceremony and sliced a huge loaf of bread.  From left are Jim Powers, owner, Mayor Parisien, Claude Warren, owner, Ray Duhaime from Menard Construction and Lewis Loveridge, owner.

1992 5th Wheel brochure.

The 5th Wheel Truck Stop, 1901 McConnell at 401.

Throughout the 1990s the 5th Wheel Truck Stop became a favourite place for teenagers to tell their parents they going to for a coffee after midnight.  (any excuse would do as long as it could be plausible.)

Cornwall’s 5th Wheel was opened on Dec. 2, 1977.  The chain of highway stops started in 1972 and in 2006 had six locations across Ontario.

In 2005 the Cornwall 5th Wheel franchise was operated by Rob and Caroline Short.  The complex included gas, propane and diesel fuel, a truck scale, a 24 hour restaurant, and store, a motel, laundry mat, arcade, R.V. dumping station, drug and alcohol testing, barber shop, a non-denominational chapel, and one of Ontario’s privately owned travel centre parking lots, capable of holding 250 full tractor trailers and 200 cars.

The 5th Wheel in 2000.

2009 brochure.

Posted by: Media Manager | July 17, 2017

Anthony (Tony) Defosse Brick & Cement Block Laying

This heavy cardboard desktop stand-up 1962 calendar with thermometer was donated to the Museum today. Tony Defosse operated his brick and cement block laying business from 536 Augustus Street in the mid-1960s. Right beside him on the s.w. corner of 6th St W at 538 was Bea’s Confectionery, operated by Edgar and Florence Lemieux. On the n.w. corner of 5th St W and Augustus was Clifford Mcteer’s blacksmith shop at 500. And mid-block at 524 was Villeneuve’s food Market.

Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | July 16, 2017

Camp Kagama, Sheik’s Island.

A postcard showing a line of tents at Camp Kagama on Sheik’s Island,

The camp was formed in 1936 by Rev. Narcisse McLaren of the Moose Creek United Church.  Dedicated to the “welfare of all children” the camp became a project of the Stormont-Glengarry Council of Christian Education.

The camp was a victim of the St. Lawrence Seaway Project  when the island was drowned.  It closed in 1956 to reopen at a new location in 1962.

I believe that this group photograph marks the reopening of the camp in 1962 on Morrison Island.

1st row:  Audrey B; Judy Little; Bernice J; Beth J; Mrs. Pearl; Mrs. Burton; Kathy E; Jean W; Elaine; Susan S; Mrs. James; Mrs. Gallinger; Mary A; the cooks – Barbara and James.

2nd row:  Mary J; Debbie R; Mary D; Gail B; Myron M; Cheryl W; Wendy C; Holly M; Donna D; Sharon L; Jean B; Mary M; Karen H.

3rd row:  Bill P; Kathy M; Audrey W; Lynn M; Joyce B; Helen B; Beverley M; Wendy M; Lee M; Donna Miller; Judy L; Janice M; Brenda M; Linda M; Susan J; Robert J.



Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | July 16, 2017

Cornwall Scrapbook.

While moving my office at the museum I found another copy of the very popular CORNWALL SCRAPBOOK, now available at the museum for $25.

Originally there were 750 printed.  They sold out within a year, and will not be reprinted.  So if you want a copy, visit the museum for what I believe is the last one even I am going to find under my pile of files.

If you are interested in learning more about historic Pitt St., this book is a must for your library.

The museum is open Wed. to Sunday 11 to 4, in Lamoureux Park.  For info email  We do take mail orders, but postage is not cheap.

Posted by: Media Manager | July 15, 2017

Sam’s Garage – a father/son landmark

Sam Laundrie appears to have opened his auto garage sometime between 1938 and 1946. According to the 1937 City Directory, at that time he was working for Canada Cottons and living in his parent’s home at 342 7th St. W. The 1951 City Directory has him still at the same residence, but operating his garage at 645 Cumberland St. near 7th.

In 1954 the City Directory as well as his Yellow Pages ad show his business address to be 334 7th St. W. Perhaps the phone was located in his residence at that time. The 1956 Yellow Pages ad shows the actual garage address on Cumberland St.

These ca. 1949 photos of his sister Julia Filion’s family give glimpses of the original frame garage, which was small and set well back from the street. At the time, the Filions lived in the bungalow to the south of the garage. In the photo on the right, the family homestead on the corner is visible and the garage is clearly southeast of the house, whereas the replacement garage begins to the southwest.

Sam’s son, Dave, recalls carrying the large bricks, at the age of 11 or 12, around the garage site. The new brick block structure was erected around the older wooden garage. Around 1959 when the new garage was ready, the old building was levelled.

Labour Day Parades were quite popular here in the 1950s and Sam generally entered a float. Providing entertainment on the float were Paul Poupart and the Boys. Note the placard: “Sam’s Garage: You break ’em, we fix ’em.”


Dave started to help out his dad at the age of 14 (1961) after school and on weekends. He undertook his apprenticeship with Sam and was certified in 1971 at St. Lawrence College.



Dave (pictured here with his wife Rollie on their 45th wedding anniversary) is now enjoying a well-deserved retirement; the last date he worked was March 29, 2017. The signage has since been painted over because the new owner uses the shop exclusively to service his own commercial vehicles.

Older Posts »


Cornwall Industry

A Cornwall Community Museum Blog

Streets of Cornwall

Pitt St. and Beyond

Cornwall Canal and Shipping History

A Cornwall Community Museum Publication

Cornwall Community Museum

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