Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | December 21, 2015

Historic Cornwall – East Front

East Front included the properties on both sides of Provincial Hwy 2 East (Montreal Road), from a bit east of Dunbar to the Township limit (Boundary Road).

Part of Lot 2
Captain Samuel Anderson, UEL (1736-1836) was one of the first to settle in East Front on an extensive granted property. In 1785 he served as Justice of the Peace and later became first judge of the Eastern District. The Historical Society of Ontario erected a plaque on his farm in honour of the Captain.


Later on some of his descendants operated a ferry service across the St. Lawrence River in the absence of a local bridge. Pringle makes reference to Richard McBean being granted permission to operate a ferry from his house to St. Regis beginning in January of 1806. McBean’s house stood on the west half of Lot 2 (Capt. John Anderson’s estate) in the 2nd Concession until 1860 per Pringle. The ferry service, pictured in the above 1930s photo, was located opposite East Front Public School and ran between East Front and Akwesasne. The scow was towed across the river by motor boat. In the photo Harry Webster is standing on the ferry, Mrs. Brownridge is standing, while Mrs. W.S. Relyea is sitting.


East Front Public School is on this lot today at 1810 Montreal Road. East Front started out as a one room schoolhouse in 1934. The front core was added in 1945. A new gymnasium and two additional classrooms came about in 1991.


East Front and Gladstone Public Schools closed in June of of 2016 to be replaced by a new combined school, Bridgewood, at 850 Nick Kaneb Drive. Bridgewoood is on Lot 3. As of early 2017, both former schools sit empty, but East Front has been purchased by a family that has converted former schools in Cornwall and Green Valley into seniors’ residences.

Part of Lot 1
Also part of Captain Samuel Anderson’s grant, it now houses the Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge. The Lodge started out in 1912 at the former House of Refuge and Industry property on 11th St E. The 11th Street facility had become antiquated and no longer large enough to house SD&G’s aging seniors, so a new modern $1.2 million Lodge was constructed in East Front. The Beachview Farm was purchased on October 20, 1949 at a cost of $115,000. The design  was by H.H. Roberts of Westport and the R.E. Stewart Construction Company of Sherbrooke was the General Contractor. The community was invited to an Open House on February 22-23 of 1952. Beginning the week of February 25 the process of transferring residents to the new facility began. September 21 of the same year saw the Official Opening and Dedication ceremony.


The exterior was brick to the level of the windows, then B.C. cedar shingles. The complex was state of the art, deemed to be the most modern institution of its type in Canada. It opened with 192 beds and was designed for expansion. The kitchen and heating system were capable of serving 300 beds.


When the Lodge opened at this site, the Beach house was still in front of the complex that was built on the former Beachview Farm. Two other houses are pictured behind the complex, closer to the former cattle barn. More details are available through the Museum & Archives.


In 1994 the City of Cornwall assumed full ownership and operation of the Lodge, no longer a cooperative with the United Counties, which had opened its own facility in Williamsburg. The current 132 bed Lodge complex is a modern 1994 replacement on the same 1952 site at 1900 Montreal Road.

Part of Lot A, and B (West half)
Originally granted to Lt. J.F. Holland, the property was later owned by Captain Martin McMartin.

mcmartin-house-2016The NAV Centre property at 1950 Montreal Road (formerly known as Transport Canada Training Institute or TCTI) is the site of the 1850 Capt. Martin McMartin stone farm house which now functions as a pub for the Centre. McMartin owned 600 acres on the tract of land which ran from the River to Toll Gate Road. The McMartin property was immediately east of the Anderson property. Construction of the $30 Million TCTI began in late 1977 on 65 acres of what was then known as the McNairn farm.


In 1976 12 acres of the GlenStorDun Lodge property was purchased from the United Counties for a buffer zone around TCTI. At that time, the City of Cornwall also purchased 6 acres along Second Street to use as a residential park. The full property is now described as Part of Lots A and the west half of Lot B, Concession 1 – Parts 1-6 on Plan 52R-274 and Part 3 on Plan 52R-663, City of Cornwall. In 2007 an application was made to re-zone the property from Institutional 10, Residential 10 and Residential 20 to Institutional 20 to clarify the the continuation of the Training facility, Meeting and Conference Centre indicating what is meant by by such a facility and that it may, from time to time, be used by the general public. Area hotel owners were concerned over possible undue competition due to the re-classification of the site. After an MOU was signed, the re-zoning was approved on September 17, 2007.

Part of Lots B (East half), C, D
This was all part of Major James Gray’s grant. Gray’s Creek is named after him. The photo below is from 1970.

Aerial_Edo and west_1970-09_East front_web

Lot B houses Cornwall’s Waste Water Treatment Plant at 2800 Montreal Road. Originally constructed in 1968, the plant saw several expansions, including major upgrades in the mid-2000s. Prior to December 24, 1958, Cornwall sewage was untreated.


Inverarden Regency Cottage is on Lot C.

Chemcell Ltd_Carl Malcolm_webIn 1968 Chemcell (Cornwall) Limited opened at 3300 Montreal Road behind Inverarden as a manufacturer of chemical and textile products (fibres, fabrics, carpets). On December 31, 1971 the corporate name changed to Celanese Canada Ltd. By the end of 1979 the company relocated the 26 employee head office for its chemicals division from Montreal to Mississauga to better service the 70% of its customers in Ontario. At that time the division employed 650 people in Cornwall and Edmonton combined. Ca. 1982 the Cornwall facility closed.

In 1970 Chemcell agreed to donate the house as an historical site. The donated land included property fronting Montreal Road, running north beyond the house, about two acres in total.

It was originally constructed for Nor’Wester John McDonald of Garth in 1816 upon his retirement.  He subsequently sold the house to his partner and son-in-law John Duncan Campbell.  The Campbell family lived here until 1965, where they operated kennels. The Campbells added the verandah ca. 1920. Parks Canada now owns the mothballed site.

Inverarden_then now

Inverarden PlaqueAnd here is the heritage plaque.

Please follow this LINK to view an article on this historic property.

On Lot D at 3400 Montreal Road since 1982 we find Marimac. They bought out Itea and EuroCurtain, both of which were already operating at that site. In early 1990, to save their jobs, Marimac employees arranged to purchase the company, forming Multi-Weave Canada Inc. as the holding company.

The plant itself was created in 1963 for Compo Records (Ontario) Ltd, which was a subsidiary of Compo Company Ltd, which in turn was wholly-owned by Decca Records, a division of MCA (Music Corp. of America) on the former Nathan Copeland property.


MCA Records


In 1969, the 57,000 sq ft plant employed 300 people on a three-shift, five-day per week basis. At the time, all Decca records sold in Canada were manufactured in Cornwall.

The second volume of a new book, The Beatles in Canada, will feature an entire chapter on the Compo Cornwall plant, using photos from the Marcel Quenneville collection which is housed at your Cornwall Community Museum and Archives.

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


  1. Was the ferry in the area of Howard Smith Pulp Mill ? My grandfather Arthur Dumond lived on Water Street by the mill.

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