Posted by: Media Manager | 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.

The 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.

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.  Altogether Courtaulds built 12 cottages, 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. They along with several new houses on the former Courtaulds parking lot are now a housing subdivision.


Courtaulds_trolley busses_1950s_200 workers CR

At one time, 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.

gatehouse_webIn addition to their original plant, Courtaulds operated other mills on that same parcel on land on Lot 4. TCF of Canada Limited, later known as BCL Canada Inc, operated at 1309 First Street East to the northwest of Courtaulds. The photo above is the view to the west showing the gatehouse and entrance.

Courtaulds_ca 1970_2016-22.101_web

This was the greatly expanded complex ca. 1970. BCL 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 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 BCL facility. A strip mall now [2017] sits on the northern edge of the site, fronting on Second Street East.

Pellon Chemotextiles Ltd

Later Celanese/Pellon operated at 1020 Montreal Road, immediately west of Courtaulds.

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. The former Celanese plant now houses a fitness facility. The BCL site is vacant, proposed as the future site of a housing development.


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 shortly after inauguration in 1896 and the Park was officially opened Dominion (Canada) Day, 1896. The park featured swimming, boating, picnicking, dancing and more.

In 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.

It 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 purchased the land in order to expand its operation by constructing Aultsville and Wales Halls. Today that parcel of land 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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