Canada 150

In 2017, Cornwall, like the rest of this great nation, is celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday. We have prepared a 150 year time line of local, national and international events.

Regularly we will be updating the links on this page, leading to images and text pertaining to milestones throughout these 150 years. Check back regularly and enjoy!

  • Here is an external LINK to a progressive roll-out decade by decade by the Standard-Freeholder.

Decade 1
1867 – The Stormont Agricultural Society holds its first fair in Newington.
1867 – The region’s first cheese “factory” opens at Gray’s Creek (Inverarden House a.k.a. the Campbell estate). Cheese making is a way of preserving perishable, seasonal milk in the 19th Century. Cheese factory cooperatives became S.D. & G.’s largest industry until World War II when exports to the U.K. were cut.
1867 – The building on the n.e. corner of Pitt & 2nd Streets is constructed as the home of Cornwall’s Dr. Noah Dickinson, but was never occupied as a house. Between 1826 and 1833 a top floor room served as an interim courthouse. From 1838-1843 the majority of the house was used as a barracks. In 1867 it became the Dominion Hall, and later the American House, then the Balmoral Hotel and eventually the King George Hotel.
July 16, 1867 – John Sandfield Macdonald is first premier of the new province of Ontario as well as the province’s first Attorney-General. Prior to that, Macdonald served as the Premier of the Province of Canada from 1862 to 1864. Born in St Raphaels, Macdonald hailed from a family of Roman Catholic Highland Scots. The artifact collection at the Cornwall Community Museum includes a student’s desk that was used by Macdonald.
November 1, 1867 – Bishop J. Strachan, founder and first educator of the original Cornwall Grammar School, precursor of C.C.V.S., dies.

July 3, 1868 – The 59th Stormont and Glengarry Battalion of Infantry was organized under the command of Major Darby Bergin, with Headquarters in Cornwall.
September, 1868 – Town Council investigated the idea of “buying land for a hospital,” the plan was not realised until 1897.
October, 1868 – Samuel Pollock becomes Cornwall’s first uniformed police officer, (aka High Constable); pay is $220 a year.
1868 – The Cornwall Manufacturing Co. (textile mill) was incorporated. The Canadian Cotton Manufacturing Co. was formed in 1872. In 1882, a new weave shed was constructed and electrified by Thomas Edison in April 1883. The cotton mills had all closed by 1959. The same firm constructed a woollen mill that became the Dundas Mill in 1902.

1869 – The Cornwall Jail was renovated to make provide space for 17 inmates in three wards, two for men and one for women.
June 24, 1869 – The cornerstone was laid for the present Trinity Bishop Strachan Memorial Church.

1870 – The Stormont Mill was opened by the Gault Bros. The first Mill was destroyed by fire in 1875 but rebuilt five years later.
May 24, 1870 – During the Fenian “scare”, the Battalion was under arms at Cornwall, they patrolled the St. Lawrence Canal from Dickinson’s Landing to Summerstown. 27 officers and 216 other ranks. The Fenians planned to use Canada as a pawn to force the British out of Ireland. Captain Wm D. Wood pictured. The Wood House Museum is named after this family.

1871 – Town Council pledged to aid woolen and cotton factories. Subsequent to an 1873 southeast-end annexation, in 1874 ratepayers ratified a bylaw granting $400.00 a year for ten years to each of the Cornwall Woolen factory, the Canada Cotton Manufacturing Company, and the Stormont Manufacturing Company. The property of these companies was also exempted from taxation for twenty-one years from the first of January, 1873.
1871 – 40 pupils attended the Cornwall Grammar School, a forerunner of today’s CCVS. This second grammar school building was in the neighbourhood of the present school, replacing the first school which was located on the east side of Augustus St, south of 2nd St.

1872 – The “Red House” (today RCAF Assoc. Wing 424) was built between 1872 and 1882 for the Canal Superintendent.
1872 – In 1872 the first Catholic school was opened by Fr. Charles Murray in a house that would later be moved some yards and known as Corbet Hall, on the site of St. Columban Parish’s first cemetery, immediately east of the church. The building was owned by Jan Ban MacLennan. The first teacher was Helen MacDonald, daughter of Alex. E. Macdonald. The school was behind MacDonald’s residence.
1872 – West Ward Separate School for girls opened. It would later be known as St. Columban’s Girls’ School, then St. Columban’s West School and after the East school was closed, this one simply became St. Columban’s School.
1872 – Canada Cotton Manufacturing Co. organized.
June 1 , 1872 – John Sandfield Macdonald dies. A Reformer and advocate of responsible government, Macdonald served in all eight Assemblies of the United Province of Canada prior to Confederation.

Autumn, 1873 – Thomas Murphy started Cornwall’s first cab service (horse drawn). The last cab disappeared around 1918.
1873 – The town annexes a portion of Lot No. 7, 1st Concession of Cornwall Twp – the south part of the Gladstone subdivision (later called East Cornwall) laying between Montreal Road and the river, “…to enable the Town Council to exempt the factories built in that quarter from taxation.”
Lorneville is a neighbouring east-end suburb and Beaconsfield is an older suburb west of the Square Mile Town. Eventually the Town would annex some 44 neighbourhoods.

1874 – A by-law is passed to raise a loan of $10,000 for public improvements.
1874 – The following terms are granted to three factories – The Cornwall Woolen Factory, the Canada Cotton Manufacturing Co., and the Stormont Manufacturing Co., each for $4,000 a year for 10 years. Their properties were also tax exempt for 10 years from Jan. 1, 1873.
1874 – The Canada Mill opened. By 1878 it had 20,000 spindles, 500 looms and 400 employees.
1874 – Wm. C. Allen is appointed as Cornwall’s first police magistrate.
September, 1874 – Fire destroyed Martin and Crilly’s on the south side of the Cornwall Canal, along with the Stormont Mill and a sawmill. “It may be safely said that progress of the town was set back by 2 or 3 years.”
1874 – The Carleton Hotel, originally built ca. 1828 for Guy Carleton Wood, opened under the management of Mr. Ross. In 1928 it expanded and was taken over by Zina Runions. Although shuttered, this 1st St. E. structure is still standing east of Kastner’s and has seen service as a private residence, post office, store, hotel and various bars, the most famous being the Lafayette.

1875 – The Oddfellows open a Lodge here in Cornwall.
1875 – The Stormont Mill is destroyed by fire, it would be rebuilt in 1880.
1875 – The Presbyterian Church in Canada is formed. St. John’s and formerly Knox belonged to this body. The United Church of Canada claimed the right to the name from 1925 to 1939.

July 26, 1876 – A fire starts on the south side of 1st St., and spreads northward threatening to engulf the whole of the downtown. Without a fire engine of sufficient power to douse the flames, the fire was contained by a steam fire engine that happened to be for sale on the wharf. After the fire the Town happily purchased the engine.
1876 – The Young Men’s Christian Association came to Cornwall and later closed shop. In 1945 a new YMCA would be organized and make use of various public facilities. It opened its very own centre at 15 First Street West in 1946.
The YWCA would be organized in 1937 with Miss Verda Ullman as directress and for 21 years made use of a variety of rented quarters.
In 1960 a citizens’ group raised funds for a new joint YM-YWCA facility. Cornwall’s most recent YM-YWCA was constructed at 412 Fifth Street East. When the “Y” found it difficult to make ends meet, the Kinsmen Club got involved and turned it over to the City. The building was eventually gutted and converted to condos with a privately owned commercial gym at the rear.
September 2, 1876 – Church of England opens Maple Grove Cemetery and will re-open it in a new location in 1957 (pictured) after the Seaway Inundation.

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