Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | June 6, 2021

The “McGill” House

The former house on the northwest corner of Second Street at York had been constructed by Wm Joyce prior to Confederation. It passed into Clara McGill’s possession in 1915 (formerly of The McGill Chair Company Limited located one block north). Armand Raymond purchased it from the McGill estate in early 1947.

In November of 1947, Cities Service purchased this house from Raymond, but were hindered from redeveloping the property for more than five years due to residential zoning complications and thanks to a tenant who refused to move.

Finally, on February 10th of 1953, at a meeting of the Ontario Municipal Board in Cornwall, the OMB cleared the way for the company to demolish the more than 80-year-old house and replace it with an ultramodern service station.

A month later, demolition was underway as evident in this Standard-Freeholder photograph.

Cities Service held its official opening on September 29th of that year with Mayor Aaron Horovitz drawing the winning prize ballots and the Standard-Freeholder there to capture the moment. Pictured are Lawrence St. Denis, Arthur Primeau, Victor Clavette (station manager), Winston Walker (tank station manager), Mayor Horovitz, T.R. Dunkin (station lessee), Mrs. Thomas McCulloch and Mrs. Roy Hartle.

Incidentally, Horovitz resided in the grand house a few properties to the west.

Subsequently the business was called Riddell’s Service Station, Newton’s Cities Service, Crites BP Service Station, Laporte’s B.P. and since about 1990, MacEwen’s.

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | February 13, 2021

Heritage Highlights 2021

In 2021 the volunteer City committee, Heritage Cornwall took a different approach to hosting the annual Heritage Fair at the Cornwall Square. This year, the event which began locally at Brookdale Mall in 1984 as part of the Bicentennial celebrations, became a made-for-television event.

Largely in anticipation of a probable COVID-19 lockdown or restrictions, the committee partnered with Cogeco’s YourTV Cornwall to produce five weekly 30-minute episodes. 14 heritage groups, a mixture of regular and new participants, embraced the opportunity to promote their venues or projects. Most of the groups sent a representative to YourTV’s studio on Pitt Street to pre-record their segment. B-roll footage and photos were provided by some of the groups, while b-roll for others was shot in the autumn by Don Smith, a Cogeco volunteer and member of Heritage Cornwall. A few of the groups essentially created the core of their particular segment.

Smith also served as host and community producer for the series. YourTV Producer Chris Rohde recorded the in-studio footage and created the episodes as well as a 15-second commercial which aired on cable and on Facebook. The promotional clip has been viewed more than 2,600 times and appears below.

By popular request of those who are outside of the cable operator’s coverage area, Rohde produced a highlight clip for each of the episodes and will be releasing one each weekday during the final week of airing (February 15-19), Those highlight clips will be posted on the station’s Facebook page as well as on its Youtube channel. For convenience, as they are released, those clips will be embedded on this page.

In the premiere Episode of Heritage Highlights 2021, Ginette Guy and Carole Libbey of Heritage – Patrimoine Cornwall join us to talk about the advisory committee for The City of Cornwall, their directive as a board, and their efforts for the City of Cornwall. Then Gabriele Thomas, a volunteer with The Friends of Crysler’s Farm Battlefield, gives an account of the Battle of 1813 and details the museum and reenactments that occur at Upper Canada Village – Morrisburg, Ontario.

In Episode 2 of Heritage Highlights 2021, Brent Lafave of the Sir John Johnson Manor House joins us to talk about the history of the manor house and their fundraising initiative. Gardner Sage and Kirsten Gardner give the background to the Friends of Grand Trunk Railway 1008. Then Jennifer Black is in studio to discuss the Glengarry Pioneer Museum.

In Episode 3 of Heritage Highlights 2021, Jim Brownell joins us to talk about the The Lost Villages Museum and the history as to why the museum exists at Ault Park. The Cornwall General Hospital Down Memory Lane Project gets the recognition it deserves. Then John Arksey and Mark Alexander of the Loyal Orange Association are in studio to give some insight into the group.

In Episode 4 of Heritage Highlights 2021, Judy Neville joins us to talk about the Ontario East British Home Child Family group and museum. Keleigh Goodfellow gives the background to the Glengarry, Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum in Williamstown. Then Frances Fraser is in studio to talk about the Dalkeith Historical Society.

In Episode 5 of Heritage Highlights 2021, Jennifer DeBruin will share news of an exciting new initiative to take place in May. Dane Lanken will take us on a journey with the Big Bishop. Lastly, Don Smith invites us on a virtual tour of the Cornwall Community Museum and some neighbouring historic properties.

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | February 3, 2021

Cornwall News Distributors Limited

The company started in 1938 as Bryan News Agency, owned by Edward C. Bryan. The name officially changed in the mid-1950s.

In 1963, both business names were in use and the company was operating from a building at 306 11th Street West, sandwiched between Rolland A. Paquette Hardware at 304 and Gillett Upholstering Reg’d at 310. As can be seen in this photo of their interior, the company distributed games and toys as well as newspapers and magazines. (Standard-Freeholder photo)

At that time their staff members were, Front row: Jack Legroulx (Asst Mgr), E.C. Bryan (Pres.), Gordon Bryan (Mgr), Hilda Dupuis (Bookkeeper); Second row: Ada Killoran, Denise Marleau, Beverley McCormick, Mary Dupuis, Mrs. Ann Trottier, Paul Cinquini; Back row: Gary Jarvo, Rheal Martel, Garry Katz. Missing from photo: Lee Killoran. (Standard-Freeholder photo)

In this 1995 photograph we see them operating in the Cornwall Industrial (Business) Park at 840 Campbell Street. They ceased operations in January of 1997, but some of their existing distribution network was taken over by Benjamin News of Montreal, their parent company.

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | February 2, 2021

Labelle Motors

For quite some time people have been asking for photos of the car dealer/service station that once stood at the intersection of Montreal Road and McConnell Avenue, where a name brand drive-thru coffee shop stands today.

Labelle Motors at 373 Montreal Road appears in this March 1963 Standard-Freeholder photograph.

The photo was one of two taken for use in this newspaper advertisement.

This was the view from the lot looking west in August 1958. Note the snapped utility pole; a crane operator misjudged his clearance. (S-F photo)

The dealer sold Mercedes-Benz

as well as Studebaker.

The business was launched by Ovila Labelle. Later his son Roland Labelle and son-in-law Aurele Clement took over the operation. When it closed, Roland opened Minute Auto Wash nearby on Marlborough Street.

Champlain Oil Products was the brand of gasoline they sold. The chain was a spin-off of a company launched by Charles Emile Trudeau, father of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. In 1993 Champlain amalgamated with McColl-Frontenac Petroleum after having been in business since 1932. The elder Trudeau was a staunch Conservative.

The neighbourhood businesses have changed considerably. The former Royal Hotel is now a furniture store and some of the buildings have been replaced.

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | November 23, 2020

Honouring the role of 4-legged heroes

The Dalkeith Historical Society operates from a former Catholic chapel, that took over and later expanded a former commercial building.

Exhibits are to be found outside of the building as well as indoors.

One side of an outbuilding features a painted mural commemorating both human and equine military contributions.

Historically, horses have played a very significant role in military operations.

Branch 297 of the Royal Canadian Legion recently shared a Facebook post, announcing that the provincial OSPCA is offering for sale a commemorative Animals in War pin. The Ontario SPCA launched its first commemorative Animals in War collectible pin in 2017 to recognize the wartime contributions of animals.

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | November 17, 2020

Remembrance Day: 1956

1956 witnessed one of the largest Remembrance Day turnouts in Cornwall’s history. Even the Poppy returns well exceeded the $5,000 goal and record established the year prior. George Assaly, president of Legion Branch 297, officiated.

The Last Post and Highland lament were sounded at 3 p.m. that dreary Sunday afternoon. Services were moved from the usual 11 a.m. start due to conflicts with Sunday church services/Masses. No doubt, that change contributed to the large attendance.

In anticipation of the traditional two minutes of silence, the colour party’s flags were slowly dipped to the ground.

Mrs. E.J. McDonald and Mrs. Arthur Gallinger laid wreaths on behalf of the Silver Cross Mothers.

Following ceremonies at the Cenotaph in Memorial Park, a parade proceeded east on Second Street to Sydney Street. Brig. T.J. Rutherford, Director of Veteran’s Land Act for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, is pictured outside the Cornwallis Hotel saluting for the march past of military units, high school and naval cadets and other organizations, such as the North End Social Club.

Photo credit: Standard-Freeholder

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | October 28, 2020

Cornwall Operatic Society

Some history
The roots of what would become the Cornwall Operatic Society are revealed in the February 2 1949 edition of the Standard-Freeholder: “A little more than a year ago, Courtaulds (Canada) Ltd. had a male quartet. This group appeared at various factory functions and was always welcomed heartily. But Drummond Giles, Courtaulds’ vice-president and managing director, suggested the group be enlarged.”

“From various departments in the big mill new voices were recruited. The group began to swell. Then it was discovered that more voices were needed to round out the group. Mr. Giles suggested branching out into the city.”

“During the following months, more singers were added to the original group. Arthur F. Vogt, music instructor at Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School became music director. The group adopted the title “Cornwall Choral Society.” In its ranks were some of the best singers in the city.”

“Today, with the society almost at full strength, plans are being made to stage the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta “HMS Pinafore.” This will be presented in late March or early May.”

The article concludes: “Everyone knows the story of the growth of the oak tree from the little acorn. But that tale is no more amazing than the development of Cornwall Choral Society. From a quartet to a choral group in the space of about one year is a big jump.”

The Cornwall Coral Society’s first public performance was a broadcast of Christmas music over radio station CKSF in December of 1948.

According to an article in the October 1949 edition of the Rayon Reel, a Courtaulds employee newsletter: “The formation of the Cornwall Operatic Society a few weeks ago will be of special interest to readers of “The Rayon Reel”.”

The article continues: “Cornwall Operatic Society is the successor to Cornwall Choral Society which less than two years ago was formed under the chairmanship of Bill Thomas and was actively supported by Management here at Courtaulds.”

“Cornwall Operatic Society has now grown to an organization of 50 active members with a growing number of associate members. The number of ‘Courtaulds people’ in the organization has also increased greatly.”

The article is complemented by four group photographs. H.O. Hodder (the priest at Good Shepherd Church) and A. Peachey (a local physician) are among those appearing in those photographs.

Most of the C.O.S. performances took place in the former C.C.V.S. high school auditorium, famous for its acoustics.

Rev. Harold Oswald Norman Hodder and his wife Dorothy (Carr) Hodder were active participants in the Cornwall Operatic Society (C.O.S.) in the 1950s during his assignment here in Cornwall. Recently, their daughter, Mary (Hodder) Elderkin, donated several of her parent’s C.O.S. photographs, programmes and news clippings to augment the Society’s collection. The images below provide a chronology of the early operettas performed by the C.O.S.

HMS Pinafore – 1949 (March 28-29-30)
This photograph appeared in the March 30 1949 edition of the Daily Standard-Freeholder, captioned: “GILBERT AND SULLIVAN PERFORMERS – Some of the performers in the the Gilbert and Sullivan H.M.S. Pinafore presentation are shown in the above photo. The play is presented tonight for the last time at C.C.V.S. Auditorium. Left to right, front row, are Mrs. W.J. Thomas, Miss Louise MacArthur, Mrs. H.O. Hodder, Mrs. E. Timpson, Mrs. David Hunter and Mrs. L. Brindley, Back row, Ernest Irwin, Alex. McCue, William Irwin, Sylvio Dalbec and Reginald Dicola. The program is being presented by the Cornwall Choral Society.”

In this second photo from that program, pictured with Miss Eleanor Lemon, who played Mrs. Cripps, were J.J. Aubin, Eric MacGillvray, William Bennett, Connie Baker, G.N. Phillips and H.O. Hodder.

The success of Pinafore prompted the formation in the autumn of 1949 of the Cornwall Operatic Society.

The Mikado – 1950 (January)
The society presented The Mikado, directed by Arthur F. Vogt, to full houses at C.C.V.S. auditorium. A review at the time made special mention of Arthur Peachey, as Lord High Executioner, who drew loud applause for his performance. Jack Walker played and sang the lead role of Pooh-Bah.
Iolanthe – 1951 (February 12-13-14)

The program, which attracted large audiences, included Jack Walker as the Lord Chancellor, H.O. Hodder as Private Willis and Arthur Peachey as Strephon. Mrs. Harold Gunther, wife of one of the lead characters, created all 50 of the costumes from hundreds of yards of rayon, supplied by Courtaulds (Canada) Limited and held together by roughly 8 ½ miles of thread.

In the Standard-Freeholder photo are five of the principal characters from Iolanthe: Mrs. H.M. Banville as Cecilia, Mrs. Frank Timpson as Fleta, Noreen Eamer, Frank Phillips as the Earl of Tolloller and Harold Gunther as the Earl of Mountararat.

Iolanthe – 1951 (February 12-13-14)
The program, which attracted large audiences, included Jack Walker as the Lord Chancellor, H.O. Hodder as Private Willis and Arthur Peachey as Strephon. Mrs. Harold Gunther, wife of one of the lead characters, created all 50 of the costumes from hundreds of yards of rayon, supplied by Courtaulds (Canada) Limited and held together by roughly 8 ½ miles of thread.

In the Standard-Freeholder photo are five of the principal characters from Iolanthe: Mrs. H.M. Banville as Cecilia, Mrs. Frank Timpson as Fleta, Noreen Eamer, Frank Phillips as the Earl of Tolloller and Harold Gunther as the Earl of Mountararat.

Old Fashioned Girl – 1951 (April)
Pictured here is the cast of Old Fashioned Girl.

Pirates of Penzance – 1952 (March 31, April 1-2)
The cover of this programme bears the autographs of several members of the cast of the programme directed by Arthur F. Vogt. The chorus comprised 18 women’s and 14 men’s voices.

Pictured here are some of the characters: Elayne O’Neill, Russell Bailey, Mrs. H.M. Banfill, Noreen Eamer and Harold Gunther.

The Gondoliers – 1953 (March 9-10-11)
This operetta was under the musical direction of Joseph Riel with stage work directed by Gladys Carter and Rose Stevens. H.O. Hodder played the role of Giorgio. The late 19th Century costumes were by Malabar.

Patience – 1954 (March 8-9-10)
Patience was produced by Rose Stevens with Joseph Riel as musical director. Dorothy Sullivan played the role of Patience, a dairy maid. 32 voices rounded out the choruses, which included Dorothy and H.O. Hodder.

Ruddigore – 1955 (2nd weekend of March – 7th season)
Ruddigore (the witch’s curse) was produced by Rose Stephens with Joseph Riel as musical director.

Mikado – 1956 (April 16-17-18)
Rose Stephens was producer, stage director and played the role of Katisha; Michael Inskip was musical director and pianist. The Mikado of Japan was played by John Metcalf.

Rehearsals tended to take place in church halls.

The Yeoman of the Guard – 1957 (February 23, 25-27)
The team of Stephens and Inskip continued their roles from the prior year. Arthur Peachey was Jack Point, a strolling jester.

The Gondoliers – 1958

HMS Pinafore – 1961
Lillian Parkinson was Hebe, Margaret Peachey was Josephine, Rose Stephens was Buttercup, Ken Atkinson was the carpenter, Bob Burrell was Dick Deadeye, Russell Bailey was Admiral Sir Joseph Porter, John Mullineux was the boatswain and Arthur Peachey was Ralph Rackstraw.

The Desert Song – 1964 (April)

Dial M for Murder (April 13-17, year not stated but Nick Kaneb was mayor)
The program was directed and choreographed by Rose Stephens and conducted by Henry Rzepus.

In Clive and Frances Marin’s book, “Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry 1945-1978”, they add:  “Several of Glen Productions members came from the Cornwall Operatic Society whose last production, Kiss Me Kate, had been presented in 1966 … The orchestra was composed of musicians from the Counties and the Crane School of Music in Potsdam. Some of the Operatic Society’s members came from le Cercle Saint-Cecile, a French group of about fifty people who sang with Joseph Riel for about ten years from 1951.”

Do you have C.O.S. photos and/or programmes for years other than these? If so, we’d love to hear from you.

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | October 24, 2020

Changes to Pitt Street North – Pt 3

Continuing on from where we left off in Part 2 of this series …

At 1730 Pitt Street, this October, 1963 photo shows the Louis Emard service station at the intersection of what was St. Andrew’s Road/Pitt Street and Emma. The Pop Shoppe now occupies the former Emard service station. Next door was the former Ontario Hydro Electric Power Commission warehouse that had become Cornwall Sales, a Volkswagen dealership.

To the north of that complex, Surgeson Electric has moved to Tyotown and been replaced by a wine and beer kit store. Across Pitt Street at 1717, another tool rental company has taken over the Atlas site.

Follow this LINK to see some businesses which previously operated at the foot of this overpass.

Prior to 1958, there was no overpass at this location. While people tend to credit the St. Lawrence Seaway project with many of the mid to late 1950s changes in the region, the concurrent Power Project necessitated a great number of the relocations, including small communities, the No. 2 Highway and, in this case, the C.N.R. roadbed. As such, “Hydro” was assigned the authority and the funding to implement those changes. The St. Lawrence Power Project Construction Progress booklets (Power Authority of the State of NY & The Hydro-electric Commission of Ontario) as well as some the train Regulations provide some interesting glimpses into developments in that area.

Regulation 68.12 14/03/1958 St. Andrews Road 93877 authorized the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario to construct a diversion of St. Andrews Road for a period of one year.

A May 10, 1958 Standard-Freeholder newspaper article sheds some light: “The detour presently being constructed to clear the way for erection of the overpass spanning the CNR tracks on Pitt Street north is nearing completion and is expected to go into service during the week of May 20 … Railway gates and other warning devices are to be set up at the new crossing being erected a short distance west of the one presently in use. The detour begins near the entrance to Cornwall Drive-in Theatre and parallels Pitt Street a short distance west of Pitt. It joins up with Emma and Eva streets south of the CNR tracks.”

This cropped May 20, 1958 Hydro photo shows the view north from the temporary signaled level crossing at the end of Eva, looking towards what was then the Cornwall Drive-in Theatre, which had opened in the 1940s.

In this cropped Hydro photo taken on the same day, the view to the south is Eva. The houses on the left resemble those there today. The two large brick buildings at the south end of the street are the adjacent apartment buildings on Emma, just beyond Eva. The commercial building on the left behind the truck was then a Hydro warehouse and now houses a retail operation on Pitt alongside the overpass. On the right, from north to south, the bungalow appears to be the house at 5 Eva; even the shape of the eavestrough is the same. The third house matches perfectly with the house on the s.w. corner of Eva and Benny. The large home on the far right matches 29 Eva on the n.w. corner of Eva and Emma.

From the May, 1958 Progress booklet: “Work has been started on the overpass at St. Andrew’s Road in the Cornwall area over the Canadian National right-of-way. The diversion road has been completed and is in use. The excavation work is well advanced for the overpass.” [Facebook photo].

This Standard-Freeholder photo from late November of 1958 reveals that the overpass was nearing completion. The view is from the former drive-in/diversion road entrance looking towards the station. It appears that the new water tower is peeking over the overpass.

According to a June 28, 1958 Standard-Freeholder article, a water tower was installed at the new train station at Cornwall. In this photo, the view is also from the west side of the overpass (the diversion road area) towards the station, where we catch yet another glimpse of the tower.

Looking northwest from the station lobby, the water tower was plainly visible.

And  in 1956, this was the tower and the standpipe for trains using track #2 on the north side. The new station under construction is barely visible in the distance.

The July 22, 1957 edition of the Standard-Freeholder reported that for the first time on Sunday afternoon (July 21), passenger trains began operating on the new line. At that time, the new station was built, yet unfinished.

That water tower was demolished on January 31, 1961 after sitting empty for several years. This was the tail end of the steam locomotive age, in which a water tower was required for the benefit of steam locomotives running on the line.

Near the lower left edge of this photo is what remains of the Track #2 standpipe base, across from and a bit west of the end of the platform. The view is towards the station.

Someone or something seems to have been digging out a bit of the gravel.

Just a bit northeast of the standpipe base, beyond some downed telegraph poles is the base of the water tower.

Beyond each of the four corners of the base are the tower support blocks.

Here is another feature in the east yard just beyond the extension of the platform. It appears to have been for the standpipe and water spout for Track #1.

The Via Rail Station site contains evidence of other structures from a bygone era, such as this area in the west yard, close to the overpass. Our thanks to Chris Granger for confirming that there stood:  “a building that was used by the section and electrical crews as their offices and head quarters.”

West of there, close the the overpass, once stood a building that was used by Signals.

This satellite image from the City’s ARCGIS site has been labelled to indicate the locations of the former structures.

This satellite image reveals that the former diversion road is still there, but split in two by the double track railway.

The newest Habitat house at 3 Eva is being built near the end of that avenue.

The future occupants will have plenty of visual reminders of the former level crossing on that street.

An Ontario Hydro survey marker on the adjacent property to the north commemorates that connection.

Crisscrossing that area is the Boals Drain, an important component of the City’s flood control scheme.

Just beyond, where today we have the Heritage Plaza at the s.w. corner of Pitt and Tollgate with a residential neighbourhood behind it, from the 1940s until Labour Day of 1987 was the Cornwall Drive-in Theatre, in 1961 rebranded as the Seaway Drive-in Theatre. This ca. 1950 aerial shows the drive-in with the Gallinger farm to the south prior to the railway relocation. The Boals Drain is difficult to miss; culverts are in use in places, but much of it is still accessible, including at the nearby Boals Drain Linear Park.

In this August 2, 1976 cropped Marcel Quenneville aerial, the former diversion road west of Pitt Street can be seen crossing the entrance and exit roads for the drive-in.

 

Note the free baby bottle warming service promoted in the above 1952 newspaper ad.

Follow this LINK to see some businesses which previously operated at Eamer’s Corners.

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | September 26, 2020

Garry Mead Dairy saw many changes

In 1924, Garry Mead Dairy began operations at 412 Pitt Street. On January 3, 1929, Cornwall Dairy Products on Ninth Street East advertised in the Cornwall Standard that they were merging with Garry Mead Dairy. On March 30, 1929, John Bingham, Vice-President of Cornwall Dairy Products purchased the dairy business and equipment of Garry Mead Dairy at 412 Pitt Street from Charles E. Burt for $18,000.

In 1937, J.E. Marleau’s Black Squirrel Lunch was operating at 410 Pitt Street.

From the mid-1940s until the mid-1960s, we find Harmony Lunch in business at 412 Pitt.

During that same general timeframe, 410 Pitt was an annex of the Family Welfare Bureau where they operated a Clothing Work Shop. By 1963, Stormont Motor Sales new & used cars was operating behind 410 and the Perfection Beauty Parlor occupied part of the building. The early 1970s witnessed the Co-operators Insurance Assn / C I A G Insurance at 410.

This 1978 advertisement reveals that Saytam Business Machines & Systems Ltd conducted their business at this location. And in 1982, Imprimerie Cyan Printing had taken up residence. By 1984 Compact Distributors had moved in, followed by Globe T.V. sales & service by 1986 until relocating up the street briefly in 1991.

This 1991 file photo makes it clear that Francis Guindon used the main level as his campaign office when he tossed his hat into the ring as a mayoralty candidate.

The storefront remained vacant for a few years until Fabric by the Pound relocated from 11th St where they began the business in August of 1992.

The upper floor contained residential apartments and it seems that the main floor was also used for that purpose in the building’s twilight years.

The structure is long-gone and the property is now a parking lot.

If you have historic photos of this or other nearby businesses, please share them with us.

 

Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | September 20, 2020

Downtown Living History Corner

The property at the s.e. corner of Pitt and Second Street bears a long and interesting history; many of it’s historic businesses were near and dear to Cornwallites.

On Saturday September 19, 2020, Heritage Cornwall presented one of its two annual awards to Andre Pommier in appreciation of his efforts to preserve and celebrate the history of that corner as well as that of the neighbourhood. Pictured here are award recipient Andre Pommier (Pommier Jewellers), Debbie Ledoux (Heritage Cornwall chairperson), award recipient Bruce Russell (homeowner of 121 Adolphus Street.)

What follows is a summary of the land use at the corner property.

169-173 Pitt (Post-1819)
On June 12th of 1819 (the town of Cornwall was just 35 years young), all of Lot 15 between First Street and Second Street (the east side of Pitt Street) was granted to St. John’s Presbyterian Church in trust. At or near what is now 159 Pitt Street, construction of a frame church began in 1823 and was completed in 1826; their original small church one block south was subsequently sometimes used as school-house, sometimes a store-house, until it was pulled down in 1834-35. The congregation continued to worship at the second church until 1886 and has been at 28 Second Street East ever since.

The corner lot was designated as a cemetery for St. John’s Presbyterian Church, but not used for such purpose.

169-173 Pitt (Pre-1841 building)
According to Pringle’s 1890 history: “In the winter of 1841 a fire broke out in a small building on lot 15, south side of Second street, fronting on that street, which spread rapidly and destroyed three other buildings on the same lot, including a store and dwelling house on the corner.”

169-173 Pitt (1841-2010)
Pringle continues: “After the fire a new lease was granted by the trustees of St. John’s Church to Duncan McDonell, the lessee of the north-west corner of No. 15, south side of Second street, for fifty years, on condition of his putting up a brick or stone building with metallic or slate roof [fire resistance]. The building put up by him is the one now held by Samuel Cline.”

169 R.S. Cline’s Emporium 1887

169 The Sterling Bank 1905

169 George Washington Armstrong Grocer 1906

169 The Standard Bank of Canada 1909

169 Groceteria (Wm H. Gardiner & Co.) 1915

169 Dover’s Men’s & Boy’s Wear Until 1967
Archie Dover began with a Pitt Street woolen store in 1919 and gradually transitioned into one of Cornwall’s leading clothiers, settling in at this location.

169 Lord’s Discount Drugs 1967-1968

169 Pitt_Half Price House_E271723_01 CR_4 x 6169 The Half Price House 1969


169 Colossus Restaurant 1969-1992. The arrival of this Greek restaurant marked a shift from an era of banks and grocers to a series of eateries at this location.

The owners were Mike Gerogiania, Minas Diakonis, John Alachouzos and Mike Mastrominas; Dino Roussakis operated the restaurant.

Plastic remnants of the sign for the iconic Colossus Restaurant were brought into the museum by someone who saw them in a dumpster and thought that they should be preserved. We don’t usually take items found in dumpsters, but this sign was such a defining feature of Pitt Street’s landscape during that period that we gladly took it.
169 The Town Hall Restaurant 1992-1997. One of the Henstock family eateries; they are known for their English-style fish & chips.

Publican Ray Henstock is shown here in this 1992 “Standard-Freeholder” photograph saluting his patrons with a mug of Guinness. Ray and his wife Clara renovated the old Colossus in 1992 to give the consuming public a taste of an authentic English pub.

Menu 1992

They closed in 1997, but the fish and chips lived on at Ye Old English Fish ‘n’ Chip Shop at 9 1st St. E. until 2019; the building owner allowed this sign to be rescued. And now the family operates from a food truck in a Lancaster flea market (still great fish rolls.)

169 Amarillo’s Cookhouse Saloon 1999-2004

169 Gryffindor’s Steakhouse 2004. This steakhouse was planned, but the dream did not come to fruition.

169 Athens Greek Grill 2006

169 Sherry’s Breakfast Club 2008-2009

169 Truffle’s Burger Bar until a December 2010 devastating fire. Truffles re-located to its present location on Pitt Street and the old building was demolished in 2011.

Since 2013, the property has been home to Pommier’s Courtyard, which serves as a photographic tribute to the history of the neighbourhood, a community public venue as well as customer parking for the adjacent Pommier Jewellers.

This above series of images are historic views of the 100 block of Pitt Street, looking south.

This final image is an historic view of that block, looking north.

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