It Was Called The ‘Smell Of Money’

Claude McIntosh - Mac's Musings
It Was Called The ‘Smell Of Money’

At an Oct. 15, 1962 council meeting, an alderman asked what would it cost to eradicated pollution in the city?

The answer given by the chair of the anti-pollution committee – the quintessential paper tiger – at the 1962 council meeting was “hundreds of millions (of dollars).”

Several aldermen said they were receiving complaints from residents east of Courtaulds that clothes left on the line were being discoloured by pollution. West-end residents complained paint on homes was being discoloured. Complaints of irritating odour came from all over the city.

In the summer, the stench from a rendering plant on Cumberland Street was unbearable.

Residents on Brookdale Avenue across from C-I-L were warned against planting gardens.

A Lancaster commercial fisherman successfully sued the paper company for polluting the St. Lawrence River and harming his business. Courtaulds routinely paid fines for polluting the river, until a judge threatened to jail the head of the company.

The Catholic school board moved St. Francis de Sales school to the top of schools-to-close list because of the poor air quality in the school yard. A study was done that showed the rate of asthma in children in the vicinity of Courtaulds and Domtar plants was higher than the provincial average.

It was no coincidence that paint peeled off the Seaway International Bridge.

When the Royals brought their No. 1 draft pick and his family to Cornwall for a weekend, Gord Wood, director of player personnel, would say, “Don’t let them get a whiff of the mill.”

It all gave the city an unsavoury image.

In the 1970s the Standard-Freeholder ran an excellent series on the city’s pollution plague. The front-page carried a photo of smoke hanging over the paper mill. The headline screamed “The Smell of Money”. The push back from city hall and certain sectors of the business community was intense. The people who ran the mill weren’t happy either.

The Standard-Freeholder printed the plant’s Paper Mill Log, a monthly newsletter for employees. Somebody decided to pull the contract. What he didn’t know was that Thomson Newspapers, which owned the S-F, bought the newsprint for its 60 some newspapers from Domtar. It was Domtar’s biggest single newsprint contract. One call from from Thomson HQ to Domtar HQ and the Log was back being printed at the S-F without missing an issue.

ALSO CIRCA 1962 – A report from the city welfare department showed that the number of recipients had declined by 493 to 1175 from the start of the year. … Six people were killed in city traffic accidents during the first 10 months of the year. In all, city police investigated 711 traffic accidents. … City police were prepared for the start of mandatory breath tests set to begin in the province on Dec. 1. … A construction boom that started in early spring saw 24 new housing units built in October. … CFML radio celebrated its 10th anniversary. The French-language station was founded by city resident, Madeleine Laframboise. … Linda Duvall was valedictorian at the Osnabruck District High School graduation ceremony. Highest academic honours went to Anne Schultz and Philip Wells. The school was later re-named Rothwell-Osnabruck District High School. … The Simpson-Sears outlet at 333 Pitt St. announced it would be open on Wednesday afternoons. .. The city was looking for a new landfill site to replace one east of the city. … The local office of the Children’s Aid Society (office on York Street) had 13 social workers working with 295 children.

1962 PART TWO The district Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) representative offered an unflattering opinion of Cornwall after a six-day strike was settled. He called Cornwall a “horse and buggy town.” He said he wasn’t pleased with the settlement but it was the best the union could get without prolonging the strike. Base hourly wage went to $2.66 an hour in the two-year contract. … The city launched an ambitious tree-planting program aimed at planting 4,000 seedlings in city parks and on vacant property. … City native Grant Wereley graduated from the RCMP training depot in Regina. He was posted to British Columbia. … Cornwall native William Upper was named Alexandria parks/arena manager. He later became manager of the Cornwall Civic Complex. … St. Lawrence High School Saints defeated South Grenville Giants 12-10 but it wasn’t enough to win the two-game, total-points EOSSA football final. The Saints lost the first game 19-13. Paul Kilger scored both SLHS touchdowns in the win. … Cornwall Royals held on to first place in the Quebec Junior Hockey League west division with a 4-2 win over Verdun Maple Leafs. Barry Brooks, two, Pierre Duguay and Garry Herrington scored for the Royals.

HERE AND THERE: Montreal Canadiens drafted Patrick Roy in the third round of the 1984 draft. They took Vladislav Tretiak in the seventh round. Both are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Troy Crosby, the third goalie drafted by the Canadiens (12th round), will never be in the hall of fame, but his son Sidney will be after he retires. … Mayoral candidate suggested that Cornwall Police Service should get rid of the Calea accreditation program and replace it something less expensive. Great idea. Except for one thing. The service got rid of the program two years ago. Guess he didn’t get the memo. … Kudos to defeated South Glengarry mayor Lyle Warden for his classy post-election Facebook post. Warden lost to former South Glengarry treasurer Lachlan McDonald. … Faced with potential stagflation combined with a debt crisis in the new year, governments at all levels faced some tough choices. … Hard to find a bigger political train wreck than former New York City mayor/Trump stooge Rudy Giuliani.

TRIVIA ANSWER In 1873 Cornwall resident Thomas Murphy established Cornwall’s first taxi service, using a horse and buggy.

TRIVIA Ontario’s first premier, John Sandfield Macdonald, was born in: 1) Cornwall, 2) St. Andrew’s, 3) Alexandria, 4) Martintown, 5) St. Raphael’s.

QUOTED “My grandfather was a horse thief, my grandmother a bootlegger, my father a bookmaker, my brother a scalper; so there is nothing left for me but politics.” – Former veteran Toronto councillor Howard Moscoe, author of Call Me Pisher: A mad romp through city hall’.

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