Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | July 20, 2017

Hotel Cornwallis. Artifact of the Week.

A silverplate vase given to Edith Firth for 25 years service at the Cornwallis Hotel.  Acquired by the museum in 2011.

The museum is always looking for Cornwallis related memorabilia, contact us if you have anything.

Hotel  brochure, ca. 1940.

The letter sent to Mrs. Mary Synder inviting her to the official opening of the hotel as the person who named it the CORNWALLIS.

Advertising card, pre 1934.

The theatre featuring “talkies” across the street was the Capitol.

This photograph was taken in the Club Dining Room in the Hotel, on the regular meeting night of the Cornwall Kinsmen Club, Feb. 9, 1944.

In this photograph Kinsmen are seen parting with their clothing to give to the “Clothing to Russia” campaign, as part of the War effort.

In the foreground, left to right:  Ernie Sleeman, pres; Robert Revie and George Hunter, campaign organizers.

In the background, left to right:  Clint Birchard, Harry Devitt, Ray Hartle, Joe Elson, Ed Goss, Graham Dennison, Lloyd Gallinger, Arnold (Standard-Freeholder, photographer)

The hotel was constructed in 1928 by the Cornwall Community Hotel Co. Ltd., and headed by MP Arnold Smith, insurance agent Harry W. Snetsinger, wholesale grocer Arthur Chevrier, coal merchant J.E. Chevrier and Road Master J.C. Broderick.

In the late 1930s the Hotel advertised that it was “…the most comfortable hotel in Cornwall, yet rates are no higher.  Large airy rooms and fresh crisp cleanliness add to the many comforts at this beautifully quiet hotel.  Hotel operated on European Plan.  Rooms $2.25 up.”

With 90 rooms and 40 baths, the brochure continues: “Every convenience of the hotel is available at the Cornwallis, which is Cornwall’s newest, fireproof hotel.”

The place to be seen in Cornwall, the dining room stated the 1945 banquet celebrating the incorporation of Cornwall as a City.  Former U.S. President Truman was one of its more illustrious guests.

The dining room’s most famous guest, however, Queen Elizabeth II, never made it for lunch, the royal yacht being held up by fog during her 1959 Canadian tour.

Ironically, a fire in 1977 led to the hotel being demolished.



  1. For several years, my Mother worked at the front desk of the Cornwallis Hotel and she met several VIPs while ‘on duty.’ The one who made the biggest ‘impression’ was Jimmy Hoffa. She said he acted as if he were absolutely the most important VIP in the whole world, so while he definitely made an impression, it was not in his favour!
    She was there when Elizabeth II and Prince Philip almost came to lunch. The Royals did stop at the hotel to freshen up in their appointed suite but did not have time to stay for the luncheon. Therefore, the staff was given the opportunity to ‘dine like kings’ and the meal was much enjoyed by them. Mum kept a copy of the menu served (it’s beautifully done up in a bound cover) and she passed it on to me. I have kept it safe in my bookshelf cabinet these many years and would gladly donate it to the museum if you are interested in aquiring it as an artifact.
    Barbara Petepiece

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