Posted by: Media Manager | March 15, 2017

Labour Day Parades – 1950s

In the peak years of organized labour at the cotton mills, Howard Smith paper mill and Courtaulds/TCF, Labour Day Parades were an annual happening on the streets of Cornwall.

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This photo from the 1953 Parade sports three happy fellas in a Valley Auto Wreckers vintage truck.

Labour Day_1955 ca CR WM

In 1955 Howard Smith’s float theme was 2,000 years of paper making history. While popularized in 105 AD, paper making as we know it can be traced back to ca. 100 BC. Papyrus, on the other hand, dates to 3,000 BC.

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This photo from the 1958 Parade was the Courtaulds TCF entry, with a theme of Pioneers in Packaging.

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That same year Howard Smith was celebrating its 75th anniversary. Milestones are listed on the float for the years 1883, 1888, 1919, 1927, 1945 and 1958 .

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Also in 1958 Courtaulds was showcasing its tire fibre.

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Kingcot was a Canada Cottons brand; they were sporting an Hawaiian theme in 1958.

These and many more historic photos can be accessed in the SD&G Historical Society Archives at your Cornwall Community Museum during regular hours.



Posted by: Media Manager | March 14, 2017

Celebrating Pi/Pie Day

Happy Pi Day! There is only so much that can be said about 3.14159265359… so we’ll talk about the kind of pie that can be eaten.

Cornwall’s longest-serving mayor, Aaron Horovitz, seemed to know a thing or two about pies; pie-eating contests were one item on the agenda for his annual Mayor’s Childrens’ Picnics.


Posing with Mayor Horovitz, this young lady was the pie-eating champ at the 1952 Picnic at Central Park.


At the 1953 Picnic these boys were busy stuffing their faces … it might have been with pie.

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From the 1955 Picnic, this pie-eating boy looks as though he’s about to burst.

These are among the several thousand photos and artifacts accessible at your Cornwall Community Museum during regular Archives hours.







Posted by: Media Manager | March 12, 2017

Cornwall celebrated Canada’s 100th Birthday

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With the Canada 150 celebrations taking place throughout this year, it seems like a good opportunity to look back on some of the ways we celebrated the milestone 50 years ago.

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Canada’s First Bank, the Bank of Montreal, was also celebrating a milestone then, just as it is this year. Another flashback – the Texaco station behind the float.

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My how some things have changed. The paper mill, although then owned by Domtar, was still under the Howard Smith brand locally at the time.

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Cornwall had many more trees lining its streets in years past. Who recognizes the parade route?

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Lacrosse – part of our local and national heritage.

What great old photos are in your albums and shoe boxes? Send them to us and perhaps they’ll appear online: .

Posted by: Media Manager | March 12, 2017

Elephants on Cumberland St – Shriners’ Parade

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This flashback is from August 4th, 1986. As the Shriners’ Parade passed through the 600 block of Cumberland Street, resident Julia Filion couldn’t pass up the opportunity to snap a few photos.

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It seems that the elephants were too much to resist. Having taken over Hussey Electric, Westburne occupied that building prior to Tackaberry.

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Send us your old photos; we may share some of them online: .



Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | March 3, 2017

Peddler’s License oath, Cornwall Township, 1854.


Province of Canada                                S(idney) W. Bisber of the
the United Counties                              Township of Cornwall
of Stormont Dundas                               in the united Counties
and Glengarry                                         of Stormont Dundas
and Glengarry in the
to wit                                                 Province of Canada

Merchant maketh oath and satith (?) that he intends to hawk and peddle and offer for sale in the said united Counties goods service(?) and merchandise the Produce of the united Counties and for that purpose this deponent is applying to the treasurer for a permit under the Provisions of the By Law of the Municipal Council to enable this deponent to sell such goods services and merchandise within the said united Counties and that under such permit this deponent will not sell any goods services and merchandise except the produce and manufacture of such Counties.

Sworn before me at the town
of Cornwall in                                                        Sidney W. Brisber
the said United Counties
this 3d day of July 1854
having first read and explained.

James Pringle

County, L.B.  (Pringle served as treasurer)

One of the privileges of working at a museum that dates to 1954 is uncovering documents that have been long filed away and forgotten.  This is just one of those treasures acquired more than 40 years ago by former Curator Alda MacKinnon.




Paper was scarce in Upper Canada (Canada West), so to make the most of resources at hand lumber agent Sam Hart of Cornwall sent his letter on this piece of paper and then folded and sealed it to turn it into an envelope.  The black rubber circle under “1856” would have shown the cost of mailing the letter. Thrifty as always, the postmark dated 1856 shows Cornwall, Upper Canada, when the province was now officially known as Canada West.


Dear Sir                              Cornwall 30th January 1856

In answer to your letter of 28 instant I can only say that in respect to timber transfers I am only acting under the directions of C. E. Belle Esq. of Montreal who has charge of all timber concerns in these and the neighbouring Counties and ti him I advised you to write in my letter of 19th instant.  It will also be necessary before anything can be done that we should be furnished with an affidavit of someone who knows the circumstances stating that the timber has been cut on No. 1 or the W 1/2 No. 2 (the Clergy lot) and describing where the timber _is.  Without this affidavit no action can be taken.

I remain sir

Yours truly

Sam Hart.

Angus Cattanach (1796 – 1873) had dealings in the Glengarry timber trade.)

This document was donated to the Archives of the SD & G Historical Society in 1982.

Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | March 2, 2017

Photographs of Water Street, Cornwall.


Water and York Street looking west, 1972.

The following photographs were taken in 1972 before the Canal was filled in.  They were donated to the Archives at the Cornwall Community Museum in 2008.

scan0012Water Street looking east from York towards Gordon Refrigeration, housed in the former St. Lawrence Brewery.


Water Street just before Pitt St.Piscan0014

Water Street looking east to Pitt with the Fiesta Room in the background.


Water and Augustus Streets, 1972, looking east.


Halliwells at the corner of Water and Sydney Streets, Cornwall, 1972.scan0017

Amelia and Water Streets looking west toward Horovitz Park, 1972.  The old swimming pool is in the far left.


Water at Amelia Street looking east, 1972.  The Cornwall Community Arena is in the background.


An early 1970s photograph of the Cornwall Canal and Water Street taken from the Seaway International Bridge.


Water and Sydney Streets, sometime in the 1930s showing a streetcar operated by Cornwall Street Railway.  This photograph was donated to the Archives of the Cornwall Community Museum by Cornwall Electric.  It is just one of hundreds from this collection available for viewing at the museum.




A painted tin, IDEAL POSTAL SCALE, said to have been used at a local Post Office, patented by the Triner Scale Manufacturing Co.  (U.S.) Feb. 28, 1904.  The firm has been the official scale maker for United States Post since the 19th century and is still in business.

The scale is decorated with flower stencils.

Donated by Lois Pearson in 2008.


A stampless envelope from the Raisin River Post Office, Canada West, 1868.  Even though it was now known as Ontario, it took a long time for people to change the name.

The letter to Sheriff D.E. McIntyre reads:

Please seize the wood the wood belonging to Alan D. McDonald in Lancaster… valued at $1,200.  Signed John McIntyre and Archy McDonald.


Mail box rent, $1.50 for the year 1893.


Dead letter notice, 1915.

scan0006 A postcard published by R.M. Pitts, Cornwall, circa 1900.


Part of the original plans for the Cornwall Post Office by Dominion architect John James Browne.


A detail from the drawings for the Cornwall Post Office, dated September 1884.

The archives at the museum has a collection of original drawings for the interior of the Post Office given to us in 1993.


Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | February 27, 2017

Iroquois and Ontario Hydro Fair treatment!


The construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Ontario Hydro Project meant that 280 homes and 1,100 people had to be relocated in Iroquois.  Not all homeowners liked Hydro’s “generous terms” as witnessed by this sign put up by Clifford Martin of Iroquois.

In Iroquois, 30 to 40 landowners were expropriated.  These people farmed at Iroquois Point.  One farmer contested the offer he received from Hydro because he owned a valuable orchard with trees in varying stages of development.  His demands for the trees were so high the case had to go to the Exchequer Court, where a separate valuation was made for each tree – before all parties were satisfied.

More information and numerous photographs of the St. Lawrence Project are to be found in Quarry Press’ new publication THE LIVING RIVER -secrets of the St. Lawrence, from Montreal to Cornwall to Prescott.  Written by Lor Pelton and Ian Bowering.

The book is available at the Cornwall Community Museum for $30, or for information email:



A coloured turn of the 19th century plate showing a popular image of Pitt St. looking north from First St.

The transfer mark on the back says:  Victoria (crown) Austria.  (Made in Austria).

Round:  dia.  15.5 cm; matte finish.  On display in the archive room at the museum.

This is part of a souvenir set that includes a larger dish and shaving mug and probably more.  Acquired by the museum in 2005 at a local flea market.

scan0044The image on the plate could have been taken and modified from any number of postcards, such as the above example that depict a similar scene.

This postcard was published by R.M. Pitts & Co., Cornwall, ca. 1900.


This postcard shows the scene looking south down Pitt from 2nd St., ca. 1900.


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Historic Cornwall Jail

Cornwall Justice (In the Clink)

Cornwall Industry

A Cornwall Community Museum Blog

Streets of Cornwall

Pitt St. and Beyond

Cornwall Canal and Shipping History

A Cornwall Community Museum Publication

Cornwall Community Museum

In The Wood House at the waterfront, Cornwall, Ontario, Canada