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History of Cornwall

Early History

Cornwall, the easternmost city in Ontario, boasts a rich and diverse history. Thousands of years ago, this area was inhabited by aboriginal peoples. In 1784, the first Europeans settled in present-day Cornwall: a new settlement was established by loyalists and named New Johnstown. A large number of new residents were of German origin. In 1797, the new town got a new name — Cornwall, in honor of the Duke of Cornwall Prince George.

After the Cornwall Canal was constructed, Cornwall became an important economic and industrial center in Eastern Ontario. During the First World War, Cornwall served as a communication point and a garrison town, due to its strategic location. By the 1840s, Cornwall had approximately 1,600 residents. The town’s infrastructure of that time included a courthouse, a foundry, tanneries, taverns, and a school. In early 1900s, Cornwall saw further economic development, with various businesses coming to the city. At that time, several railways were built in the area; these railways connected Cornwall with other communities in the region.

In the 20th century, Cornwall continued to be a major industrial center of Eastern Ontario. The expansion of the railroad resulted in Cornwall turning into an entrepôt for services, commerce and business. Between 1921 and 1931, the population of Cornwall increased by fifty percent. At that time, one of the largest employers in Cornwall was Domtar’s paper mill that was built in 1881 and operated until 2006. Other industries that employ large numbers of Cornwall’s population are manufacturing, retail, and healthcare.

Cornwall Nowadays

As of 2020, Cornwall is a rapidly developing city with a population of about 46,000 people. The city’s industrial base is gradually changing towards a more diversified economy that includes manufacturing, logistics, food processing, and automotive industry.

Over the last decades, Cornwall has emerged as one the popular tourist destinations in Eastern Ontario. Located just 60 miles southeast of Ottawa, Cornwall has several hidden treasures that attract tourists from Canada and foreign countries. Among these treasures are St. Raphael’s Ruins, Cornwall Community Museum, The Art Gallery Cornwall, Cornwall Aquatic Center, but there is many more things to see. Come to Cornwall too and you will experience all this at first hand!