Alexandria, Ont, urban area, population 3209 (2011c), 3287 (2006c). Alexandria is located midway on the CNR rail line between Montréal and Ottawa. It was incorporated as a town in 1903 but lost this status in 1998 as the result of municipal restructuring in Ontario. It is now part of the new township of North Glengarry. Father Alexander Macdonell, later bishop of Upper Canada, began the town (first known as Priest's Mills) as a mill site a few years after the War of 1812. In 1890 it became the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Alexandria (later relocated at Cornwall). Around that time it showed much promise in carriage manufacturing.
After economic setbacks in the Great Depression and earlier, Alexandria since WWII has regained a considerable degree of prosperity with a concentration on textiles, footwear, milk processing and trucking. It continues its early role as a merchandising and service centre for the surrounding farm community. About two-thirds of the population are French Canadian, but both English and French are spoken. St Finnan's Cathedral, the Bishop's Palace and the Monastery of the Precious Blood are of architectural interest.