Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | October 19, 2016

Paper Mill Exhibit Officially Launched

This afternoon representatives of various local media outlets were on hand for the launch of our new Toronto Paper Mfg Co / Howard Smith / Domtar exhibit at your Cornwall Community Museum.

A key factor in the timing of this exhibit is the success of the September 30th Domtar Cornwall employee reunion. It has been 10.5 years since Domtar Cornwall closed its doors for the last time and several former employees felt the need to re-connect.

A former Cornwall Mill employee, the late Mike Heenan, created a Facebook Group for fellow Mill alumni [LINK]. Mitch Fobert-Irving now serves as current administrator of the group. When Don Smith happened upon the Group one day, seeing that there were just a few members, he began inviting people to the group; others have done likewise and the Group has grown to almost 400 members and is still climbing. The Facebook Group brought together many people who asked the question: “when are we having a reunion?” Debbie Fraser, Deric Latour and Mitch Fobert-Irving led a team that stepped forward and made it happen. Mitch was appointed chair person of the gathering which raised $2,828 for the United Way. Mill employees have a long history of supporting the United Way and felt it right to do so on this occasion.

chq-presPictured above in the Museum exhibit room receiving the donation are Stephanie Lalonde (United Way Campaign Communications Coordinator), Lori Greer (United Way Executive Director), Mitch Fobert-Irving (Domtar Reunion Chair) and Bill Makinson (United Way Campaign Chair). Bill is also a former Domtar employee.


Reunion Chair Mitch Fobert-Irving presented Museum Curator Ian Bowering with a donation of large panoramic photographic print of the former Domtar Mill. The panorama was created from a series of overlapping photos taken by Laurence G. Smith, from a vantage point on the North Channel Bridge in January of 1983. His son, Charles L.E. Smith stitched those photos together to create the panoramic photo.


September 30, 2016 – 10 Year Domtar Employee Reunion

September 30, 2016 - 10 Year Domtar Employee Reunion

September 30, 2016 – 10 Year Domtar Employee Reunion

Now that at least some people have re-connected, many of these “Domtarians” (I made up a word) wish to stay connected. There is talk of regular breakfast gatherings and such (others have continued to gather at local coffee establishments). Your Community Museum wants to do its part, so we’ve created this special exhibit for former paper mill workers and for anyone interested in its rich history, which dates all the way back to 1881 when the sod for the first mill was turned.


At the Museum and Archives you’ll find everything from the 1881 cornerstone to the top section of the totem pole to the steam whistle, hundreds of photographs, employees newsletters and even some fine examples of local folk art, including this gem. It’s an example of how co-workers often re-created a retiree’s work station in miniature for presentation upon his or her retirement. Garth’s daughter Judy brought this in just this morning. The miniature was created by co-worker John Wood.

We’d welcome either the loan or donation of similar items, paper mill memorabilia, etc to add to this “living” exhibit. What have you stored away?

Other simultaneous Museum exhibits include a military exhibit as well as 8th-10th century Viking artifacts. Three great reasons to visit us soon.

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