Located at the borders of Ontario, Quebec, and New York State, Cornwall is the easternmost city of Ontario. It also has one of the earliest British colonial settlements in Canada and draws its name from the Duchy of Cornwall.
Moreover, Cornwall sits between Ottawa, Ontario’s capital city, and Montreal. It is also one of the main entry and exit ports to and from New York State. Therefore, it’s a major tourist city.
A Little Background of Cornwall
Cornwall City lies within the historical territory of the Haudenosaunee, Mohawk, and Huron-Wendat First Nation peoples. Ideally, the Europeans began streaming into Ontario in the early 17th century, beginning with French settlers from France.
When the British conquered Canada from the French during the Seven Years’ War, the inhabitants comprised a mix of French and Indigenous peoples. Consequently, they divided the Province of Canada into an Upper Canadian region for English settlers and Lower Canada for the French.
Early British Settlements
The first documented British settlement in Cornwall dates back to 1784, making it one of the oldest settlements in Canada. United Empire Loyalists from Johnstown, New York, established this settlement and named it New Johnstown.
However, it was renamed Cornwall in 1797 after the English Duchy of Cornwall.
Over time, Scottish, Irish, Jews, Eastern European, and African refugees, migrants, and slaves poured in from other parts of Canada and the world. Generally, they blended in with the rest to create a vibrant mix of cultures.
The War of 1812 marks a significant point in Canadian history as it was the scene of the battle between the United States and Britain. At the time, Cornwall was a large settlement in Upper Canada. Thus, it became a critical communication and supply post during the war.
The construction of the Cornwall Canal between 1834–1842 helped make Cornwall a regional economic hub. Also, the city is a major port of entry into Canada and an attractive tourist site.
Best Tourist Attractions in Cornwall
Cornwall is a transit city situated on the borders of New York State and Quebec Province. Although it has decent tourist traffic, the city also has several tourist attractions that bring in people from surrounding areas.
Upper Canada Village
The Lost Villages were communities in Cornwall and South Stormont, submerged during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1958. Thus, the Upper Canada Village is a heritage park and living museum depicting the Lost Villages for posterity.
Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort
Located in New York State, about 10.2 miles (16.42 km) from Cornwall, the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort is a fantastic weekend getaway resort. It features multiple restaurants and a 24-hour casino with slots and table games. Additionally, the plush rooms come with free Wi-Fi and Keurig coffee makers.
The Cascades Lounge offers the best dance show in the casino. Live entertainment at the lounge goes down on select Fridays and Saturdays. Alternatively, you can catch live music at Maple Steak & Ale restaurant.
Things To Do Around Cornwall
Apart from museums, galleries, theatres, and restaurants, Cornwall has multiple facilities for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and picnics. These include the following.
This recreational park offers an expansive green space and trail for walking, jogging, and cycling. Also located within the park is the Rotary Eco Gardens, a lovely section that is great for picnics. Plus, it has a fantastic view of the St. Lawrence River too.
The Waterfront Trail
This is a dedicated multi-use trail for hikers and cyclists along the Cornwall waterfront. Thus, it offers excellent views of the St. Lawrence River and the Cornwall Canal. Additionally, the trail connects tourist attractions like the Saunders Hydro Dam and Lamoreaux Park.
Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village
This nighttime art exhibition features over 7000 hand-carved, lit pumpkins set along a kilometer-long trail in the village. The outdoor show typically runs from September to October and is one of the most popular exhibits in Cornwall.