Cornwall (Ontario) | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Cornwall (Ontario)

Cornwall, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1945, population 46,589 (2016 census), 46,340 (2011 census). The city of Cornwall, seat of the counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, is located on the St Lawrence River, 110 km southwest of Montreal.

Settlement and Development

Cornwall was founded in 1784 as a Loyalist settlement by veterans of Sir John Johnson's regiment. It was originally called New Johnstown and renamed Cornwall for the Prince of Wales (also duke of Cornwall) by the 1790s. A regional administrative centre, Cornwall was also an important transshipment point until completion of the upper St Lawrence canals in the 1840s and the Grand Trunk Railway in 1856. In the 1870s and 1880s several textile and paper mills located here, revitalizing the community and drawing a large French-speaking work force from Quebec. Cornwall continues to be home to a large Francophone community.


Domtar, a pulp and paper company, was a major employer in Cornwall for many years. The Cornwall pulp and paper mill closed in 2006, after 123 years of production. Cornwall has also traditionally been a manufacturing centre, and manufacturing industries continue to employ a large percentage of the population. Retail, health care and social assistance, and accommodation services are other industries employing large numbers of residents.

Cultural Life

Cornwall has a campus of St. Lawrence College and a satellite campus of the University of Ottawa. It has one of the oldest courthouses in the province (1833). Inverarden House (1816) is a National Historic Site and an example of regency architecture. Local history is detailed at the Cornwall Community Museum.

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