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

Historic Cornwall – Montreal Road

Montreal Road as a subdivision was just a small section along both sides of Montreal Road as it passed through the Courtaulds property (St. Felix Street to Danis Avenue).


It included the mill operations as well as the staff houses along the St. Lawrence River, known as the Courtaulds’ Cottages.

Wolverine CAMERAThe sprawling Courtaulds property had previously been part of the 240 acre Branard Butler farm and apple orchard which ran the full three concessions deep. Butler migrated from Potsdam, NY.

TCF Courtaulds_1971_Cwl Map_str_webThis is the first three Concessions of Lot 4 (the former farm) from the 1971 City map.

Courtaulds_orig bldg_C.R. Tetley archtect_1925_web

This was the original 1925 mill prior to a series of expansions.

Courtaulds_32 CR_web

Following the British tradition, eleven cottages were built across from the mill for management in 1926.  Although not all built at the same time, altogether Courtaulds built 13 cottages (7 east-west along Montreal Rd and 6 north-south), they were put on the open market in 1996. One of the cottages was floated down the river and relocated when the area was re-developed, but all of the other cottages remain. The six existing cottages running north-south along with 38 new houses on and near the former Courtaulds parking lot now comprise a 44-home housing subdivision known as Kirkman Estates.  The other bank of Courtaulds cottages to the east are not part of the 10 acre development.



Courtaulds trolley busesAt onetime, with nearly 3,000 workers, Courtaulds was the largest employer in Cornwall/Cornwall Twp. Public transit dropped off and picked up employees in front of the plant.

TCF of Canada Ltd_1972-07 crIn addition to their original plant, Courtaulds operated other mills on that same parcel of land on Lot 4. TCF of Canada Limited (Transparent Cellulose Film) which began in 1971, became BCL Canada Inc. (British Cellophane Limited) in 1980, and was finally re-branded as Courtaulds Films, operated at 1309 First Street East to the northwest of Courtaulds. (TCF Plastics Limited operated from 1966 to 1975.) This is the view to the east in 1971.

gatehouse_web The photo above is the view to the west showing the Courtaulds Films gatehouse and entrance.

Courtaulds_ca 1970_2016-22.101_web

This was the greatly expanded complex ca. 1970. TCF is visible in the top right corner of the photo.

TCF Atom Champs 70-71_Barry TurnerBarry Turner shared this 1970-71 TCF Atom Champs photo.

CrewsThe company, then known as Courtaulds Films, ceased operations in 1989, but a crew was kept on until 1993 to dismantle the facility. Frank Wilson kindly provided us with photos of the demolition crew …

basement_web… as well as of the demolition process.

aerial_webThis aerial image affords a view of the former Courtaulds Films facility. BCL was amalgamated into International Paints (Canada) Limited, which in turn was amalgamated into Akzo Nobel Coatings Ltd. A strip mall now [2017] sits on the northern edge of the BCL site, fronting on Second Street East.

Wolverine CAMERACourtaulds manufactured two lines of carpeting, the better remembered brand being Caravelle Carpets.

Pellon Chemotextiles Ltd

Pellon Chemotextiles established its Cornwall office in 1970 and opened its 58,000 square foot plant on 6.68 acres at 1020 Montreal Road in March of 1972. 1980 saw a plant modernization and workforce reduction; by 1988 the number of employees was at 65, contrasted with a peak of 100. By 1990 the firm was known as Freudenberg Nonwovens Inc. In July of 1991, an announcement arrived that the plant would permanently close in March of 1992.

Mikeys Fun Factory_logoMikey’s Fun Factory, an indoor family amusement park, opened in the Freudenberg structure in 1996; January 27 was their Grand Opening. It included an 18-hole mini golf course, batting cages, arcade and party rooms.

Wolverine CAMERASeveral businesses rented space inside the Courtaulds plant. C-Tech was launched by a handful of employees who left Edo; their new venture grew and they relocated to Boundary Road.

1150 Montreal Rd_Nova Mach & Mfg_1989_CD adNova Machine & Mfg was one of Courtaulds’ tenants in 1989.

Courtaulds shut down the remainder of its Cornwall operation in November of 1992, leaving the final 360 employees looking for work. Only the former Courtaulds office building remains; it is home to a daily newspaper and other small business. To the west is a new luxury apartment building. A portion of the former Pellon plant now houses a fitness facility. 64 acres of the former Courtaulds and BCL site sat vacant and in 2011 became the proposed  site of a major housing development, starting with 15 acres for Phase 1. Here in 2018, the project is now finally off the ground. A model home is now on exhibit at the head of Walton Street and four other homes are under construction.


Originally the 5.5 acre St. Lawrence Park  was operated by Cornwall Street Railway Light and Power Co. Ltd. to encourage people to use the streetcars. The utility purchased what was then known as Gillespie Point from Captain Oliver Gillespie shortly after inauguration in 1896 and the Park was officially opened Dominion (Canada) Day, 1896.  Gillespie had earlier purchased the property from William Mattice.

St. Lawrence Park_Greater Cwl Friendly Seaway CityThe park featured swimming, boating, picnicking, dancing and more.

St Lawrence Pk_1913_postcardIn 1914, Cornwall Street Railway Company had purchased the adjacent property to the east (the French family farm) with the intention of extending the park and adding a hotel; the hotel did not come to fruition.


A boat club began in 1909 and was affiliated with the Cornwall Golf and Country Club. The two clubs leased land on the Colquhoun site to the west of the Park and arranged to have their club house and parking lot across the inlet on Park land. A four foot wide bridge, suspended by two cables, was erected across the 60 foot wide inlet for ease of access. The inlet had 15 foot high banks. The photo below is looking northeast.


The 2,100 yard par 32 course operated there until 1926 when it relocated. again.


The last remnants of the Cornwall Golf and Boat Club at this site were demolished by one of the ice  jams on January 23, 1929.


The young woman lifeguard saved a young boy from drowning in the river at St. Lawrence Park.  Note the Courtaulds Cottages in the  upper left hand corner.

CCVS_ads_Mirum Ad Modum_1937_StLawPk

This ad in 1937 CCVS yearbook promoted dancing in the pavilion, as did the 1943 ad below.

scrap0005It was proposed that the Park be transferred to the Town in 1944 with conditions that it be used as a park, that the utility would retain a right of way for its tracks entering the park and access to the river from the northern portion of the property, which was leased to Courtaulds. Council turned down the offer and so the park remained with the utility, and continued to be managed by Ernest and Lillian Hart until the end of the 1946 season at which point the Lions Club signed a five year lease to operate the park. The Club assumed responsibility for 7.5 acres of land rather than just 5.5 when Courtaulds announced that they needed less land to operate their own Athletic Club. The lease was renewed and in 1957 the Club performed an extensive modernization of the Park. A four room second floor apartment housed Mr and Mrs Bernard Seguin, the year-round Park Supervisor.

scan0080This 1957 photo depicts a boat docked at the park. Cornwall Boat Line Co. cruises departed from the park. The sign is in the Museum and Archives collection.

Each July the Richelieu Club sponsored “The Regatta” which drew boaters from across Canada and the United States.

The beach was closed as a result of safety issues resulting from the flooding for creation of the Seaway as well as swift current due to the opening of the North Channel in addition to contamination from City and industrial sewage. In 1965, the Classical College to the west LINK purchased the land in order to expand its operation. Later, St. Lawrence College’s Aultsville and Wales Halls would occupy that land. Today the parcel of land once occupied by Wales Hall is home to L’Heritage secondary school.

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


  1. I am wondering if there is any old photos of st-Lawrence/ La Citadelle high school?

    • Indeed. Please contact or visit the Archives at the Cornwall Community Museum.

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