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) at 902 Second Street West. 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 (2019), although the original brick has been cladded over.

archie's golf_1959-07-25

As suggested by this ad from July of 1959, prior to picking up and relocating to the new Highway 2 West (Vincent Massey Drive), Archie’s Golf Range was located southwest of West Front School, near the former Roosevelt Bridge.

Aerial_1961-07_Archies Golf_LabelledThis 1961 Marcel Quenneville aerial image shows the golf course location.

scan0007This was Maple Crest Dairy in 1947, located at 909 Second Street West and operated by Roy C. Hartle. Pictured are Donald Legue, 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.

2nd W_909_Maple Crest Dairy_1961-04-10

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. Desjardin’s store once operated in the south part of the property.

Paragon Motel Rest

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

Paragon Motel


2nd W_917_Paragon_Stephen CameronStephen Cameron shared this photo taken in front of the Paragon.

2nd W_921_Cwl Auto Rep_2018-07-04_201116Cornwall Automotive Repair at 921 Second Street West closed in 2018.


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.


1200 2nd St W_Anderon MotorsAnderson Motors was located at 1200 Second Street West in 1955.

2nd W_1200_Healy Motors_Mirror 1974Healy Motors replaced Anderson. An upscale seniors’ residence more recently built on the former car dealership site. During the Seaway days, part of the property was land filled with debris from Cornwall’s neo-Gothic post office which was demolished to make way for the current Seaway headquarters.  Some of those post office stones were unearthed during the construction of the current seniors’ residence; in 2013 a decision was made to encase in plastic glass some of those stones at the foot of Pitt Street in Lamoureux Park.

1201 2nd st w_simon marleau's white rose_1959-10-10This October 1959 ad has a White Rose service Station operated by Simon Marleau at 1201 Second Street West.

2nd W_1309_Smith Transport_CA Hockey Pgm1309 Second Street West was home to Smith Transport Ltd.

2nd W_1400_Tropical Treat_1957-08-22_opening CRTropical Treat eatery was at 1400 Second Street West in 1957 (as depicted – clipped from a larger contractor ad); we also see them in the 1959 Directory. The Riverdale Handy Andy confectionery Store was just west of it.

Mighty Midget Drive-In RestaurantBy about 1963, The Mighty Midget Drive-in Restaurant had replaced the Tropical Treat.

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.

1504 2nd St W_Riverdale LodgeIt had also been known as the Riverdale Lodge.


In 1959 Mother’s Lunch operated next door at 1514 Second Street West; later a retail store, Tate’s, occupied the premises.

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


Cosy Corner Motel


2nd W_1613_Cosey Corner_1965_VITA

2nd W_1603_Cosey Corner_1990In 1990 Malyon Excavation had put a proposal before the Planning Advisory and Hearing Committee seeking approval of the Riverview Terrace residential Subdivision on the former Cosey Corner Motel cabins site, situated on on Lot 18 on Second Street West between Riverdale Avenue and Blackadder Creek.

2nd W_1603_Riverview Terrace_1990The plan called for eleven (11) single family lots, all but two fronting on a cul-de-sac roadway (Jenna Crescent) and for the restoration of Blackadder Creek (filled-in in late 1989) to its previously undisturbed state with the immediate area to be considered park land. That was in compliance with a request by the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Raisin Region Conservation Authority and a 1989 Waterfront Committee report which indicated that the creek should be preserved, and that any filling of the creek should be prevented.

2nd W_1603_Blackadder Creek_1990Around 1981, water quality samples taken from the creek outlet revealed the presence of fecal coliform, determined to be coming from nine dwellings on Queen Street which had their sanitary sewer laterals connected to the rear yard storm sewer which discharges to the creek. By the end of 1983 the illegal sewer lateral connections had been corrected.

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”. In 1959 the Sky-way Restaurant with its curb-side service was 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, the extreme west edge of Maple Grove.  The eatery is also listed in the 1959 City Directory.

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

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