Cornwall Memories From The Seventies
At one point or another, we have all sat around a table during a family gathering and listened to our family reminisce about the “good old days.” My Grandmother started “family Sunday lunches” when she was still living, and it is a tradition my Uncle Jake proudly keeps alive since her death in 1994. During these Sunday barbecues, I have lived vicariously through my Aunts, Uncles and my Dad as they relay stories about growing up in Cornwall in the seventies, and experiencing the “wonders” that were in town and around Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. POPULAR HANGOUTS
At the corner of First and Alice Streets (900 First Street East) sits a large run down white apartment complex. Back in the seventies, this was “Fred’s Place”, a popular hangout for teens in the area. This store later became A&G Confectionary, owned and operated by my Grandmother, Rolande Séguin. If you grew up in the East end, I guarantee you remember her telling you to get off the pinball machines and get back to St. Lawrence High School!
Did you ever play pool at Snakes Pool Hall? This establishment was located on Pitt Street, close to the Palace Theatre. Many children flocked to the pool hall after their school day was done.
King George Park on Seventh Street is still around for the current generation to enjoy, but back in the seventies if you went to play hockey, you had to watch out! Hockey games at King George were some of the roughest games played in a Cornwall park. The children that played there didn’t enjoy “newcomers”, which often resulted in scraps. It wasn’t uncommon to see the Lapine kids fighting the Lalondes.
Something unknown to children today, is jumping off the Silver Bridge ( at the foot of Augustus Street) into Cornwall’s canal. Another hot spot for swimmers was around Lock 17. Braver kids would swim at the “Boardy Bottom” of Cornwall’s Bywash.
Although it is located in Glen Walter, many children from Cornwall made their way to Precious Blood Church to swim and fish. It was a popular place for young high schoolers to hangout!
Children often wandered the yard of Chalet Artistic Glass ( which opened in 1962 and claimed bankruptcy in June 1975) to find coloured pieces of glass that most children considered to be “treasures!” Around the same area, teenagers would often make their way to Lover’s Lane. It wasn’t uncommon to see a line up of cars during the evening hours!
Doyle’s Marina near East Front Public School was also a fun place for children to poke around. Although it was outside of Cornwall, the Bonville Quarry was another popular place for teenagers to spend their day. RESTAURANTS
A place I have heard about countless times, is “Jack’s Fries” at the corner of Pitt and Third Streets. Were you one of the children that raced there on your lunch break to grab a 25 cent bag of fries?
A&W used to have two restaurants in the seventies. There was one on Pitt Street (where Lolas Pub is currently located) and one located on Vincent Massey. In the seventies, girls on roller blades would skate over to the car window, take your order, and bring the meal to your car.
Although it burned down in 1972 along with Ford’s Jewelers, the New York Restaurant (later renamed the New York Cafe) was one of Cornwall’s biggest hot spots. It operated for 59 years, having been founded in July, 1913 by Peter Wong. People hitching rides to Massena assembled at the Cafe on Friday nights.
Another favourite was Shirley’s Restaurant ( owned by the Mcdonald family), where Panda Restaurant is currently located on Second Street. It was a common sight to see students from CCVS and St. Lawrence munching away on fries and gravy after school was out for the day.
Other popular restaurants and food joints included: Dairy Queen (on Montreal Road, in the area where Taz gas station currently is), Hum’s Restaurant and Go- Go Pizza on Montreal Road, Jack Lee’s and Vera’s Lunch (both located on Pitt Street), Whimpey’s Diner, Mike’s Sub Shop and Herbie’s Sub Shop (both located on Pitt Street), and Séguin Chip Trucks and Ice Cream Trucks were both very popular. STORES AND BUSINESSES
There were so many popular stores in Cornwall. A&P, People’s and Zellers, all located on Pitt Street, Vogue Shoppe a popular women’s wear store on Montreal Road (which opened in 1948 and ceased operation in 1995), Levesque Children’s Wear ( do you remember the live monkey in the back of the store that lived in a cage?), Woolworth’s on Second Street ( which had a fantastic lunch counter!), Snetsinger’s Hardware on Pitt Street, Beamish Clothing Store and St. Lawrence Meat Market both located on Montreal Road, Consumer’s Distributors, Clark’s Shoe Store ( on Pitt Street), I R Bell Scrapyard ( on Amelia Street), Texaco Gas Stations which had multiple locations around town, Dominion Tape ( located near the Cotton Mills, children would often sneak toward their garbage bins to find tape to use for their hockey sticks. Security would end up chasing them away.)
École élémentaire catholique Notre-dame of Cornwall hosted a program called “Les petits entrepreneurs du CSDCEO” on Wednesday June 20th. The entrepreneurs that were involved were all grade 2 to grade 4 students of the school. They were asked to create their own business by fabricating a product or offering their service and selling it to the 800+ friends and family attending the annual family picnic. The students prepared a booth with posters to promote their homemade product. All the students sold their products which boosted their entrepreneur skills, and most importantly their self-esteem. During the day, the school community was also able to enjoy inflatable structures, a petting zoo, face painting and a magician.