Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | September 24, 2017

Pitt Street fire, August 7, 1933.

These two photocards (postcards) were donated today, making them the 45 donation of the year to the Cornwall Community Museum.

Card 4 – View showing section of Pitt St. during great fire August 7, 1933.  The Palace Theatre (now Assaly Lane, is in the centre on the right hand side.

West side of Pitt Street looking north from 2nd, the Royal Bank is on the left.

Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | September 24, 2017

Cornwall’s Social Service and Welfare Leaders, 1950.

Left to right:  Miss MacIntosh, Old Age Pension, Earny Laplante, Truant Officer, Helen Welsh, Family Welfare, Jerry Grow, Board of Health, Glenda French, Board of Health, Miss Dancause, Board of Health, Margaret Conliffe, Family Welfare, Miss Sybil Everett, Victorian Order of Nurses, one year old boy, last name Shantz, ___, Miss Cavanagh Board of Health, Gay Chamois (?), Children’s Aid, Photo taken Feb. 15, 1950.

Missing from this photograph is Miss Mary Mack, who was instrumental in starting numerous Cornwall social agencies.

To learn more about Miss Mack’s contributions to Cornwall, you can read UNFORGOTTEN – MARY MACK, CORNWALL’S FIRST LADY, written by Ginette Guy and published by the SD & G Historical Society.

Copies of the book are $15 and may be obtained at the Cornwall Community Museum open Wed. to Sun., 11 am to 4 pm or the Lost Villages Historical Society.

For information email:

Donated in 1992 by the “Standard-Freeholder.”


Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | September 24, 2017

Long Sault Rapids on the St. Lawrence.

The Long Sault Rapids on the St. Lawrence west of Cornwall before they were stilled in 1957.

The name Long Sault has done double duty as the name of rapids on the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers.  The name was first used to describe the location of a battle in 1660, between the French and the Iroquois at the junction of the Ottawa River.  The second use of the name described a powerful current on the St. Lawrence River west of Cornwall.

Drying out the Long Sault Rapids, winter 1956 to 1957.

For years some people in Cornwall mixed the two sets of rapids up and believed that the battle between the Iroquois and the French took place on  the St. Lawrence Rapids, and even named a Dollard Park, in East Cornwall after the French hero of the battle.

Work on a rock dam, shown on the middle right, to still the Rapids started in October 1956.  The current was so strong that it took several attempts to close the gap in the river.

The spelling also varies, with some references calling them the “Longue Sault,” while others say “Long Sault.”

Writers have been very cavalier in locating the Rapids.  The experts at Fort Wellington in Prescott, state in their labels that the Long Sault Rapids were in Cornwall, this is not surprising as a review of the contemporay literature and maps of the river were not precise.  Even into the mid 20th century you can find postcards saying “The Long(ue) Sault Rapids, Cornwall.  Not long ago a plaque was placed in Cornwall suggesting that the Rapids were near here.

The numerous smaller and sometimes more dangerous Rapids in the River were not identified until later, and that the whole series of Rapids along the St. Lawrence were given the generic names Long Sault and Rapids Plat.

The stone dam stilling the Rapids.  The Rapids were stilled and drained from April 4, 1957 to December 11th of the same year.

People starting to explore the bottom of the Rapids, April 1957.

Don Finch climbing through pot-holes in the now drained Rapids, 1957.

The Rapids drained.

River Captain James Stephenson said when he saw the river bed that “If I’d known it’d been like that…I don’t think I’d have sailed over here.”

All of the above photographs were taken in 1957 by CCVS teacher N.L. Finch, and donated by his son Don in 2017.

“A view of Passage of the Army (British) under the Command of his excellency Major-General Amherst runt the Rapids  of the St. Lawrence River for the Reduction (conquering) of Canada in the Year 1760. ” (Courtesy, Library and Archives Canada, 577)

Why does the name matter?  Well an avid reader of the recent publication THE LIVING RIVER – SECRETS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE, noted that the book claims that 84 of Amherst’s men drowned in the Long Sault Rapids.  If you take the Long Sault to mean all of the Rapids, this would be the case, but fortunately, it is now possible to be more precise and it appears that four men drowned in the Long Sault and 84 perished in the 14 mile long Soulanges system of Rapids (Cedars, Cascades etc.)

If you want to take an illustrated arm-chair ride down the St. Lawrence Rapids between Lachine and Prescott you can by obtaining a copy of THE LIVING RIVER – SECRETS OF THE ST. LAWRENCE, available at the Cornwall Community Museum and the Lost Villages Museum for $30.  Information:

The Cornwall Community Museum is open throughout the fall and until Dec. 15 Wed. to Sun., 11 am to 4 pm.  Information:  613 936-0280.

NB:         There are only 10 copies of the book left, the publisher is out of business!

PS:          If you find any other inconsistencies please email us at the above address and the matter will be explored.

Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | September 22, 2017

Cornwall Boat Line sign.

A chalk sign advertising Cornwall Boat Line, St. Lawrence Park, acquired by the Museum in 2005.

Photograph circa 1957, taken by N.L. Finch, donated in 2017.

St. Lawrence Park was located in the historic Cornwall Township neighbourhood of Montreal Road. Follow this LINK to see some great images of the park.

Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | September 22, 2017

St. Lawrence Seaway – house moving, and the RH Saunders Dam.

To make way for Lake St. Lawrence it was necessary to relocate some 6,500 people and their homes, I was told that this house fell off the house mover on its way to its new location.

This photograph and the ones that follow were donated in 2017 by Don Finch of Phoenix (formerly) of Cornwall.  Don’s father Norman L. Finch, took these photographs – he also taught Motor Mechanics at CCVS for 19 years, in which time he organized a night school driving class;  he was a Captain  with the SD & G Highlanders.  Mr. Finch died suddenly in 1958.

RH Saunders Sam construction, 1957.

To complete the Seaway Project on time, construction took place 24 hours a day.  RH Saunders Dam at night.

Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | September 22, 2017

Sir James P. Whitney and John Sandfield Macdonald, two premiers from Eastern Ontario.

The cover to a menu honouring Ontario premier, J.P. Whitney, 1843- 1915; M.P.P. for Dundas County, 1887 – 1914, Premier of Ontario, 1905 – 1914.

Whitney was born in  Williamsburg Township, Dundas Co; he was knighted in 1908.The banquet menu.  Note that they are still imbibing alcohol at this banquet in pre prohibition Ontario.

A congratulation letter signed by Whitney, Feb. 10, 1913.

The two items above were acquired by the museum in 1993.

Two carte-de-visite photographs of John Sandfield Macdonald.  The one on the left was done by the Notman Studio in Montreal.

Ontario’s first premier, 1867 – 1871.  Born in St. Raphael’s 1812 – 1872.  Both photographs were acquired in 1993.



Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | September 21, 2017

Constitutional Act of 1791.

A copy of the CONSTITUTIONAL ACT of 1791, acquired by the Cornwall Community Museum in 2006, with donations by local historians.

This act replaced the Quebec Act of 1774 and divided the old Province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada.

It was designed to give the United Empire Loyalists their own province (Upper Canada), with English laws and institutions, while Lower Canada (Quebec) retained old French civil laws and institutions.


Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | September 20, 2017

Letter Brig. Allan Maclean of the 84th Regiment to Sir Henry Clinton, Quebec, July 1782.

Sir                                                                  Quebec 8 July 1782

I am honoured with your letter of the 24 last November from New York inclosing (original spelling and grammar kept) several extracts of letters from Messrs Cox Mair and Cox complaining of the disagreeable predicament in which they then stood respecting the accounts of the 84 Regt.  For this favour I return with thanks for the trouble you took, since the extracts of those letters from them, and which I received on my return from England, those extracts was I ever had of knowing, that they ever wrote a word upon the subject, and I cannot help saying that it has been a small misfortune to Lt. Col. Small and myself that those gentlemen have had too much other business to do, to pay any great degree of attention to our business and in order that you as Colonel of the Regt. may be made acquainted with those matters, since


its from you only we can expect any redress and from you we do hope and expect relief.  The state of acts which I take the liberty of inclosing with this letter, I must request you will do so good as promise, them you will be able to judge, if we have had justice doneus, by our agents.

I have the honour to be the most

Respectfully      Sir
Yours most obedient and
most humble sevt
Allan Maclean

Sir Henry Clinton

This document was acquired by the Museum in 2005.

Posted by: Media Manager | September 20, 2017

Mary Mack Book Launch

On Saturday, September 16, some two dozen members of the community gathered at the Museum and Archives to hear a short presentation on how the author was inspired to put to paper the Mary Mack story and what she learned in the process.

Author Ginette Guy was introduced by her friend Carole Libbey and the Museum’s City Representative, Councilor Claude McIntosh, extended greetings on behalf of Mayor O’Shaughnessy and Council. Councilors Justin Towndale and Bernadette Clement were also in the house.

Guy had the following to say about Mack’s contribution to Cornwall life:
Mary Mack had no different reverence for Canada’s Governor General versus the car mechanic in Cornwall.

High fashion was part of who she was; she got that from her mother. If we were speaking of Lionel Chevrier or John Sandfield Macdonald, would we have a display of their shirts and ties! For most men fashion would not come into the picture, but for Mary Mack it did. For perspective, these are things that she wore now and then for certain functions. But, what she did and who she was was something that she wore every day.

She lived our city’s slogan: “Choose Cornwall.” She could have done anything. She had connections in Europe, Montreal and Ottawa. Some of her letters landed on the desk of Mackenzie King. She wasn’t stuck here; she chose to be here and she chose to help her community.

Reading the book you’ll realize that her life is as current now as it was then. She cared about the waterfront, and the park. She had something to say about the size of City Council and representation by ward. She worked for the cause of refugees with her friend Carine Wilson, Canada’s first female senator. Mary was not a person who would criticize for the sake of criticizing. She served ten years on City Council. She worked for other associations at all levels. She didn’t just say that things were not right; she did something to make it better. Today there is a tendency to criticize on Facebook when something negative happens. People are prone to say: “well, what do you expect, that’s Cornwall!” Had someone said that to Mary Mack, her reply would have been: “I expect the greatest things!” Her family began with nothing and worked to better themselves. For us today, many good things have already been put in place for us; the question is: “what are we doing to carry it forward?”

TV Cogeco interviewed Ginette after the book signing, while guests conversed over tea.

‘Unforgotten: Mary Mack, Cornwall’s First Lady’ is available for $15 at the Cornwall Community Museum and at the Lost Villages Museum.

Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | September 17, 2017

Three Cornwall Politicians, December 2, 1958.

Left to right:  Mayor L.G. “Archie” Lavigne, (mayor 1957 – 60), councillor Gerry Parisien (elected mayor in 1975), and councillor Lary Keen.

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