Cornwall, Ontario is a beautiful little city of 44,000 souls, situated on the Saint Lawrence river roughly halfway between Montreal and Kingston. Known as the “Seaway City”, Cornwall has about 3 kilometers of river front property that is designated for public use, and little for development, making it a very people-friendly city.
Cornwall has an international bridge, which leads to and from the United States of America at Massena, New York State. The “International Bridge”, which is aging to the tune of over 50 years of age, is still handling the massive traffic that the international border demands. A new, low-level bridge is in the makings, with all government agencies on board, the talking heads agreeing, and construction slated for the not-too distant future.
Cornwall is a hub for major commercial distribution centers, mainly the Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy and the Loblaw’s grocery store chains. But more distribution centers are on the development agenda, and Cornwall is on the job market map again, after suffering thousands of high paying jobs within a couple of years.
However, the population of Cornwall has changed little over the past 20 plus years, stagnating at 44,000 souls. There seems to be little to keep the younger generation at home in Cornwall, with little to no newer jobs opening, but the new call centers, distribution centers and outlet stores may offer a change to the problem of losing the younger generation to other cities.
Cornwall recently lost it’s biggest and highest paying employer, the Domtar Pulp and Paper Mill, but the loss has transcended the city from being known as one of the smelliest cities in Canada to one of the more beautiful and people-friendly cities.
Situated on the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy #2), as well as beside the infamous Highway 401 that connects Montreal with Toronto, Hamilton and Niagra Falls, Cornwall has a wealth of outdoors activities, farmers markets with locally grown produce, and artisan markets. There is a paved bicycle path that leads to Kingston to the West and Montreal to the East, as well as ATV and snowmobile paths that are kept well trimmed and groomed during the usage seasons.
But the wealth of the city of Cornwall is the river, and the Moses H. Saunders Generating Station and Power Dam, which provides power to most of the South-Western Quebec residents. The waters that flow out of the dam make for dangerous boating and swimming activities, with cross-currents snaking around islands and causing very dangerous water conditions. However, these conditions are very conducive to a great fishing environment.
Cornwall has been making the news lately for many of the wrong reasons, and one of those reasons is the cigarette smuggling business that is thriving. During any given night, small motor boats, canoes and even scuba divers are seen arriving on the Cornwall side of the Saint Lawrence River, unloading their ill-gotten smokes to the runners who deliver them to cities all over Canada. Gunshots can be heard on almost every night, either a landowner warning the smugglers, or the smugglers warning others. From British Columbia to Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan, there is barely a city that does not have a presence of Cornwall’s cigarette smuggling enterprises.
With lower taxes on cigarettes levied by the Federal Government of Canada, the smuggling business would be out of business, and the city of Cornwall would be once again a hub for young families looking for a great place to play, swim, fish and camp along the shores of the Saint Lawrence River.