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

Historic Cornwall – West Front

West Front was not one of the early suburbs in the former Cornwall Township that became a Cornwall neighbourhood on January 1, 1957 when the City annexed much of the Township. Rather, it was an area along both sides of Provincial Hwy 2 (Second Street West) starting immediately west of Smithville and the former Roosevelt Bridge. West Front overlapped several Riverdale suburbs. The name West Front no longer appears on Cornwall maps.

Wesfront Public School_71_290-234 Cr_Web

West Front School (SSNo. 2)

At the eastern end of the former West Front was West Front Public School (SSNo. 2). The 1923 building received an addition after tenders were called for in 1947. The building later became offices for the Public School Board and later yet, was sold to private interests. The structure still stands today (2015), although the original brick has been cladded over.

scan0007This was Maple Crest Dairy in 1947, located at 909 Second Street West and operated by Fred Hartle. Pictured are DonaldLegue, Fred Meyer, Riel Cardinal, Bud Hart, Pat McCann, Leo Cardinal, Lucienne St. AMour, Jack Kyle, Clifford Shaver. Standing on the truck back are Clarence Moke, Dick Bowman and Paul Bowman. Maple Crest was one of the dairies purchased by Camerons in 1968. Please follow this LINK to read about it. The property later became the new home of Atkinson’s bulk feed and is the site of a hair salon today (2015). To view our feature article on Maple Crest Dairy, please follow this LINK.

Located at 917 Second Street west, the Paragon Motel would become the Seaway Motor Inn and finally Murphy’s Inn. An indoor pool was added.

Paragon Motel Rest

Paragon ads from different eras – before and after the pool installation.

Paragon Motel


1127 Second Street West was home to the Sunset Motel. Built by Zenard Brunet in 1952 at a cost of about $50,000, apparently it boasted being the only motel on (Old) Highway #2 between Brockville and Montreal. Like many other motels from the 1950s and 1960s, it featured a U-shaped design with a neon sign that was difficult to miss. After the Seaway boom, the re-location of #2 HIghway and the opening of Highway 401, the motel had to rely on transient workers and locals for its survival.

Sunset Motel_1127 2nd St W_1994_webWhen this photo was taken in 1994, the property was already showing signs of decline. In June of 2014, new owner J.C. Godard, a nephew of Brunet, told the Standard-Freeholder that demolition of the structure was imminent and that it no longer fit the neighbourhood, including Godard’s upscale Riverdale Terrace retirement home across the street. Plans for the site’s redevelopment were to be announced in the autumn of 2014. All that remains today [2017] is the sign; the property seems to be used as a car park.


Mighty Midget Drive-In RestaurantThe Mighty Midget Drive-in Restaurant was located at 1400 Second Street West ca. 1963.

2nd W_1424_Conwall Motel_postcard_2000-12.45_webCwl Motor Motel RestCornwall Motor Motel and Restaurant operated at 1424 Second Street West.

Cwl Motor Hotel_ad_ca 1954This 1954 ad boasts that the motel (sometimes advertised as a hotel) offered “Cornwall’s most modern year-round accommodation.”.

Cwl Motor Motel_Riverdale Motel_ca 1965_2009-1.57_cr_webPictured above is a winter streetscape showing the Cornwall Motor Motel and the Riverdale Motel ca. 1965.

riverdale motel
The Riverdale Motel, originally operated by the Lawns, was located at 1504 Second Street West. The building was demolished long ago.


Another of the many Seaway era tourist accommodations was the Cosey Corner Cabins at 1613 Second Street West.


Cosy Corner Motel


Canteen_0001 Fx Cr WM

In this photo from the Filion family collection we see Mac’s Snack Bar in the bottom right corner, operated by John and Hazel Dent. The street numbering once ended at 1734 (site of today’s trailer court, east of the soccer field.) This business was further west and without a street number ca. 1959. Lock 19 is directly behind.

Smithville Fina Fx Web WM
This Fina station was located near the hydro dam, west of Mac’s Snack Bar. It’s difficult to say with 100% certainty, but the lettering on the building appears to read: “Meals” and “Spaghetti House”. The Sky-way Restaurant with its curb-side service was once a spaghetti house and it was located on the land which is now (2015) the parking lot for the soccer field. This photo was taken during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and is from the same album in Filion family collection.


1951 advertisement for Sky-way Restaurant in old West Front.

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

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