By MAGGIE M, Wedgee-in-Chief, Editor, theWedge.LIVE 💚 TO SHARE click icons at story’s end
“I wonder about that place,” a friend said on my mention of Cornwall. I get this often–from people who live under a few hours away.
Why this city is not more familiar is a mystery. It is the third largest city in the wedge i.e. East Ontario with a population of 46,589–following Kingston and Ottawa. Among Cornwall’s claims-to-fame : it accesses more waterfront to the public than any other town or city on the St. Lawrence. It runs its entire breadth, 18 kilometres all-in. That’s impressive.
I declare, this writer has finally crossed the longest stretch in our delineated ‘wedge,’ from Pembroke to Cornwall–a 4.5 hours drive. We have now circumnavigated the region we celebrate each day–on our second anniversary date. This is a milestone for the wedge.
I had zipped through the city in the past missing its delightful heart, historic downtown Cornwall. Last week, I had a chance to snap a glimpse of its jewels before meeting with the “powers-that-be” for a delicious lunch at trendy, ‘Esca.’
Our discussion immediately swiveled to the war of 1812–a war that defines much of our great waterway and its early settlements. It seems Cornwall may have earned quite an accolade at pushing back its southern enemies who incidentally raped and pillage the town while its men were at battlefronts elsewhere. They reportedly retreated in the winter cold to whence they came lacking motivation to conquer. The accounts of those days are captivating. It makes one grateful that we can sit and luxuriate among its stone walls sipping craft beer and gourmet pizza.
Cornwall, formerly named ‘New Johnston,’ is one of the oldest places on record in Ontario, pre-dating the great battle years. 1784 saw its first settlers. On my soon return, I aim to cross its oldest thresholds.
Earlier, I spent under an hour in the heart of town and was moved by its colours, textures and style. Cornwall can be defined as offering the best of two lifestyles, not too small to be urban and not too big to be rural. I discovered its leading craft beer company is named, “Rurban.” It seems we agree.
Pitt Street runs one way through downtown from Ninth to Water Street toward the glorious portal of Lamoureux Park–the largest waterfront park in East Ontario. This street shows off some of its best shops and eateries. It is the very opposite of a ‘pit’ as is Gore Street in Perth; the beauty of these streets are anathema to their names.
I also lingered behind the RCAF museum, the west end of Lamoureux Park on water’s edge, a popular public area with plenty of parking, paths, a few docks, a boat launch, a gazebo and not a few ducks. An otter paddled by where I stood on the dock unconcerned by my presence and my ominous camera on tripod. It was all too charming.
The wedge offers you a mere glimpse of this outstanding city. We have not covered many of its highly rated attractions–yet. We return swiftly to flesh them out for you. If you opt to visit the city and its surroundings this long weekend, you will not regret it.
Keep posted for our in-depth 7-visits marathon of Cornwall and a few editorials you do not expect. Subscribe at top right column–its free and 100% confidential.