Discover Cornwall, Ontario: A Blend of History and Modernity
Cornwall, Ontario, is a city that beautifully blends history and modernity. Located in Eastern Ontario, Canada, it is the easternmost city in Ontario and the seat of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry. Cornwall is named after the English Duchy of Cornwall, and its coat of arms is based on that of the duchy, with its colours reversed and the addition of a "royal tressure", a Scottish symbol of royalty.
Cornwall, Ontario: A Strategic Location
Cornwall straddles the St. Lawrence River and is home to the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, which oversees navigation and shipping activities for the St. Lawrence Seaway. The city is centrally located between Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, and Montreal, Canada's second-most populous city. It lies within the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor along Ontario Highway 401, is a major port of entry from the United States into Canada, and is positioned to support some of Cornwall's largest industries, which include logistics, distribution, and call centres.
The Rich History of Cornwall, Ontario
Indigenous peoples have lived in and around the area of present-day Cornwall for millennia. The first documented European settlement was established in 1784 by United Empire Loyalists, primarily from the former British colony of New York. In 1787, this settlement became the first in present-day Ontario to be visited by a member of the royal family, Prince William Henry (later William IV).
The Loyalist Legacy in Cornwall, Ontario
After the war for US independence, former colonial soldiers loyal to the Crown and other disbanded soldiers and their families began to settle at the site of Cornwall, which was then called New Johnstown. Many of the new arrivals were of German origin. The main group was led by Lieutenant-Colonel Sir John Johnson and had soldiers from the First Battalion King's Royal Regiment of New York and a contingent of the 84th Royal Highland Emigrants.
Cornwall, Ontario: A City of Many Names
The settlement was initially named "Royal Town #2" then "Johnson" or "New Johnstown." It was later renamed to Cornwall for the Duke of Cornwall by proclamation of Prince George, and in 1834, the town became one of the first incorporated municipalities in the British colony of Upper Canada.
Cornwall, Ontario and the War of 1812
During the War of 1812, the Battle of Hoople's Creek and the Battle of Crysler's Farm were fought nearby, and Cornwall was occupied by the American Army from November 11-13, 1813.
Industrial Development in Cornwall, Ontario
The construction of the Cornwall Canal between 1834 and 1842 accelerated the community's development into a regional and industrial economic "capital" for a growing hinterland of towns and villages. Canal and lock construction in the late 1800s and the early 1900s brought work and international business. The Grand Trunk Railway (CN Rail) built an east–west line through Cornwall in 1856. The New York and Ottawa Railway (NY&O) followed with a north–south line crossing the St. Lawrence, with a station in Cornwall dating to 1898.
The Ethnic History of Cornwall, Ontario
The post-contact regional population was a mixture of French Canadian, Ojibwe and Mohawk residents. Then came an influx of American Loyalists and refugees from the Thirteen Colonies, along with other French Canadian and Acadian migrants. Then poor Scottish and Irish immigrants and refugees who arrived from overseas and other parts of Canada. The different groups mixed and integrated over time, with family names and histories reflecting a blending of different backgrounds that became typical of Eastern Ontario.
Integration in Cornwall, Ontario
The Cornwall region was unusually integrated for rural counties in Ontario. For hundreds of years, the local population has been characterized by a mix of economic migrants, refugees, and opportunists. The mixing of different social classes and ethnic backgrounds was common even early in its history because of the interdependence demanded by isolation and the lack of support from or interference by official authorities.
Demographics of Cornwall, Ontario
In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Cornwall had a population of 47,845 living in 21,386 of its 22,214 total private dwellings, a change of 2.7% from its 2016 population of 46,589. With a land area of 61.5 km2 (23.7 sq mi), it had a population density of 778.0/km2 (2,014.9/sq mi) in 2021.
The Culture of Cornwall, Ontario
The City of Cornwall hosts festivals and special community events, including Canada Day festivities. In 2018, it purchased a building in the downtown core to house its arts and culture centre. The Focus Arts Association organizes multiple exhibitions and coordinates events where artists can connect with and support other artists.
Theatre in Cornwall, Ontario
The Aultsville Theatre, named after one of the Lost Villages, is a 680-seat performing arts centre on the St. Lawrence College campus and funded in part by the City of Cornwall. The Port Theatre, built in 1941, hosts movies and live music on its stage. Founded in 2006, the Seaway Valley Theatre Company offers plays, musicals, and comedy shows with cabaret-style seating.
Museum in Cornwall, Ontario
Cornwall is home to the Cornwall Community Museum, which is operated by the SD&G Historical Society. In 2022, the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada, relocated its Dominion Office, library, and archives from Toronto to the museum.
Library in Cornwall, Ontario
The Cornwall Public Library, located in the downtown core, is housed in the former 1953 Cornwall Post Office building, which was renovated and designated a heritage site by the Cornwall Municipal Heritage Committee in 1997.
Kinsmen Cornwall Lift Off
Lift Off was an annual music and hot air balloon festival that took place in July in Lamoureux Park. It was run by a board of volunteers and was a non-profit organization. The event was the only hot air balloon festival in Ontario.
Ribfest in Cornwall, Ontario
Cornwall Ribfest is an annual festival held by the Optimist Club of Cornwall. It was originally sponsored by the Cornwall Seaway Lions Club. Taking place over four days in late July, Ribfest attracts many for barbecue, free live music and carnival rides.
The Environment in Cornwall, Ontario
Cornwall does not enjoy a positive environmental reputation as a result of decades of industrial pollution in the city, the legacy of which is a riverfront contaminated by mercury, zinc, lead, and copper, soil contaminated by coal tar and byproducts, and most evidently, "Big Ben", an 18-hectare (44-acre), 80-metre-tall (260 ft) dumpsite within the city filled with wood bark, paper mill sludge, demolition waste and asbestos.
Climate in Cornwall, Ontario
Similar to most of Southern Ontario, Cornwall has a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfa/Dfb) with cold, snowy winters and warm, humid summers. Precipitation is significant year-round, although the winter months are generally drier than the summer months.
Transportation in Cornwall, Ontario
Rail in Cornwall, Ontario
The Grand Trunk Railway (CN Rail) built an east–west line through Cornwall in 1856 and its original station dated to that year. The New York and Ottawa Railway (NY&O) followed with a north–south line crossing the St. Lawrence, with a station in Cornwall dating to 1898.
Public Transit in Cornwall, Ontario
With a fleet of 24 buses, Cornwall Transit operates six days a week (excluding Sundays and holidays) on fixed routes and supplementary rush-hour routes. In addition, there is an on-demand "Handi-Transit" service for the disabled.
Air Travel in Cornwall, Ontario
Cornwall is served by the Cornwall Regional Airport, which is located 10 km (6.2 mi) east of the city near Summerstown. It is open year-round and licensed for day and night VFR IFR operations.
Sea Travel in Cornwall, Ontario
The City of Cornwall is on the St. Lawrence Seaway just east of the Eisenhower and Snell Locks. The Cornwall Harbour and Government wharf are located on the north bank of the St. Lawrence River in the city's east end.
Twin Towns – Sister Cities of Cornwall, Ontario
Cornwall is twinned with Coventry, United Kingdom.