Discover Hidden Treasures During Doors Open

August 14, 2023
By Kevin Lajoie

Cornwall Ontario – Discover Cornwall and SDG Counties’ hidden treasures this Saturday, August 19th and Sunday, August 20th during Doors Open.

During the two-day event, local sites in Cornwall and SDG Counties will open their doors free of charge, giving members of the public a unique chance to see familiar landmarks in a whole new way.

“Doors Open is a great opportunity to celebrate our rich heritage and culture,” said Karina Belanger, Tourism Coordinator with the United Counties of SDG.

Most participating locations are open both days however some sites will only be open for one day, or for specific hours.

“Cornwall and SDG Counties is one of Ontario’s oldest region’s and we have a great history to share,” added Kevin Lajoie, Tourism Officer with the City of Cornwall.

Participating sites

Aultsville Train Station

13740 County Rd 2 Morrisburg
The original train, station and rails that you will find at this site are a general representation of the Grand Trunk Railway when it ran through this area and along the St. Lawrence River, showcasing the steam locomotive era that ran into the middle of the 20th century. Together, they make up a valuable display of regional and Canadian history. Hours of operation: Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Carman House Museum

5895 County Rd 1 Iroquois
The Carman House Museum — a Georgian-era limestone cottage — was built c. 1815. The family was part of the Loyalist migration after the American Revolutionary War, receiving a land grant for their service to the Crown. Hours of operation: Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cline House Gallery

204 Second Street East Cornwall
The opulent and historical Cline House provides an ideal backdrop for rotating visual arts exhibitions, featuring the work of both local and visiting artists. Constructed in 1854, the house remained in the family until 1955 when it was purchased by the Cornwall Library Board. Over the years, it changed from being a library to the art studio it is today. Hours of operation: Saturday only: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cornwall Community Museum

160 Water Street West Cornwall
The Cornwall Community Museum is a community museum and archives located in a heritage building known as The Wood House (built c. 1840). Their collections include artifacts and documents pertaining to the history of Cornwall and the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry counties from 1784 to present. Enjoy several themed display halls and an optional guided tour during your visit. Hours of operation: Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cornwall Historical Walking Tour

Pick up a map at the Cornwall tourism info center 100 Water st Cornwall
This 6-kilometre (3.7-mile) self-guided walking tour is a voyage into Cornwall’s heritage, depicting events and points of interest from the city’s past. Hours of operation: Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cornwall Public Library

45 Second St E Cornwall
This library, a designated heritage property, sits on a former orphanage site that was then acquired by the federal government to house the new post office in 1953. In 1997, after the post office had moved to another location, the library moved into the building following renovations, making it Cornwall’s downtown jewel. Guided tours only. Registration required (morning, afternoon). Hours of operation: Saturday only: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; guided tours only; must be booked online

Glengarry County Archives

28 Kenyon St E Alexandria
The Glengarry County Archives, housed in this 1822 building, is the largest repository of historical records in Eastern Ontario. It contains the foremost collection of history about Glengarry County found anywhere. Hours of operation: Saturday and Sunday: Noon to 4 p.m

Glengarry Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum

19651 County Rd 17 Williamstown
This Georgian-style building dates back to 1862. In 1967, it became a museum dedicated to depicting the story of Sir John Johnson and other Loyalists who settled in the area during the American Revolution. Hours of operation: Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to  5 p.m.

Glengarry Pioneer Museum

1645 County Rd 30 Dunvegan
Opened in 1962, the Glengarry Pioneer Museum has grown to include eight heritage buildings, including the Star Inn, a stagecoach stop in the 1860s. Its barroom is thought to be one of the oldest in Eastern Ontario. Other pioneer buildings on this site are the blacksmith shop, town hall, Orange Lodge, log barns, drive shed and cheese factory. Hours of operation: Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Historic SDG Jail

11 Water St W Cornwall
This jail has a rich history. It served as a maximum-security facility for nearly a century, housing some notorious criminals. It was notorious for its harsh conditions and alleged human rights violations. Today, the jail stands as a museum and popular tourist attraction, offering visitors a glimpse into the prison’s past and the harsh realities of life behind bars. Hours of operation: Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lost Villages Museum

16361 Fran Laflamme Drive (Ault Park)Long Sault
This site comprises 10 heritage buildings that were moved here by members of The Lost Villages Historical Society when the St. Lawrence Seaway was developed in 1958. Casualties of progress, the villages and hamlets disappeared under water but are remembered by former residents. The interiors and exteriors have been restored, and the buildings have been assembled in a village-like setting. Hours of operation: Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Martintown Grist Mill

18544 County Road 18 Martintown
The Martintown Grist Mill is a three-storey structure where one can see the water-powered turbine that used to turn the grinding wheel. The outer walls were made from stone supplied from a nearby quarry. Built in 1846 and closed in 1950, the mill began to collapse until a group of determined villagers saved it by raising funds for its restoration. Hours of operation: Sunday only: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Saunders Hydro Dam Visitor Centre

2500B Second Street West Cornwall
Located on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, Ontario Power Generation’s Saunders Hydro Dam Visitor Centre showcases the history of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project as well as the communities and people affected. Come explore the exciting and informative interactive displays that make this visitor centre a key tourist destination in the Cornwall area. Hours of operation: Saturday and Sunday: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sir John Johnson Manor House

19692 William St Williamstown
Long the Raisin River lies one of the oldest homes in Ontario. This Georgian-style house was built for Sir John Johnson (a soldier, Loyalist and public servant) between 1784-92. This site was chosen because it is a natural location for water-powered mills. The house is now a National Historic Site, dedicated to preserving local history through archives and tours. Hours of operation: Sunday only: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

St. Columban’s Church

36 Fourth St W Cornwall
This Catholic church was built in 1829. The spire is 54 metres high (176 feet) and is visible from downtown Cornwall. The grounds to the east of the church were the first burial grounds of the parish. Today, it is known as the old cemetery, marked by the Calvary scene sculpture composed of the headstones collected from the early cemetery. Hours of operation: Saturday only: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church

20788 South Service Road, Lancaster
A small, cruciform, arts and crafts-style building complete with belfry and three bells, this church is an architectural gem. It was built on the McLennan Estate in 1898. Located on the South Service Road and surrounded by Glengarry Provincial Park and Lancaster Park, it is commonly known as “The Church in the Wildwood.” Hours of operation: Sunday only: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

St. Raphael’s Ruins

19998 County Road 18 South Glengarry
In 1970, a fire consumed the church of St. Raphael’s, one of the earliest Roman Catholic churches in English-speaking Canada. Fortunately, the outer walls were spared and today its impressive scale and fine masonry work continue to attract tourists to the site. The ruins were declared a National Historic Site in 1999. Hours of operation: Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary

5591 Morrisons Road, Ingleside
Home to over 200 various bird species, this bird sanctuary is perfect for the experienced birder, environmental enthusiast or anyone who enjoys a relaxing and leisurely walk in the great outdoors. With over 8 kilometres (5 miles) of self-guided trails that take you through mature forested areas, wetlands and boardwalks, this is truly the best way to spend an afternoon. Hours of operation: Saturday: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

YourTV Cornwall

517 Pitt Street, Cornwall
Community is at the heart of what YourTV does. Community television in Cornwall recently celebrated 50 years. Since late 1971, the local channel has brought events, politics, sports and much more to Cornwall living rooms. See where many favourite shows are produced, get a glimpse behind the scenes of television production and learn about their volunteer program. Hours of operation: Saturday only: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

About Doors Open

The local event is affiliated with Doors Open Ontario, a province-wide initiative to draw attention to heritage sites in communities across Ontario. Through Doors Open, residents and visitors are invited to discover first-hand Ontario’s hidden heritage treasures, some of which have never been open to the public. Since the program was launched in 2002, over 7.3 million visits have been made to heritage sites participating in this exciting initiative.

For additional information on Doors Open, please visit

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