“Where Ontario Began”, is more than a slogan and on the May Long Weekend in Cornwall’s Lamoureux Park the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Historical Society through the Cornwall Community Museum will be hosting a historic celebration of friendship that has been more than 230 years in the making. History will be shared in the three languages of the Mohawks, English and French. Many partners are helping to make this a rich and diverse event.
History will be making history from May 20th to the 22nd as this will be the first time since the landing of the United Empire Loyalists (UEL) on June 6, 1784, that the Mohawks of Akwesasne, the United Empire Loyalists, and French Canadians all come together to remember this watershed moment. Each group will be recounting this historic event and respective cultures from their own perspective, providing a glimpse back to what life was like for their peoples at the time. This is a free event and open to everyone.
Akwesasne, Cornwall and the Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry Counties are incredibly rich with history that is still important and relevant today. Long before Europeans arrived in the area it had been inhabited by Indigenous people. A 3500-year-old village of the Point Peninsula Culture on Sheek Island, a 700-year-old St-Lawrence Iroquoian Village in now St-Anicet, and the establishment of the St-Regis Village since 1755 are only the few that we are aware of at this time in our region. When the Loyalists arrived in 1784 to what would become Cornwall, they were welcomed by the Mohawks of St-Regis. Come out to witness a traditional Welcoming Ceremony presented by the Mohawks. Learn from the Mohawks as they explain the “Two Row Wampum” which is an enduring treaty between two peoples based on friendship and peace meant to last an eternity. On Saturday, the Mohawks will also have 6 displays to demonstrate traditional fur cleaning, how to clean and prepare a sturgeon, basket making, beadwork and clothing making, rattlers and drums making and paddle carving, as well as a show-and-tell booth on numerous items.
On Friday evening, historical French-Canadian life and culture will be showcased with a replica of the “French Canadian Batteau” that was used by the French Canadians to bring the UEL to Cornwall, the “Filles du Roi” or “King’s Daughters”, Voltigeurs reenactors, period clothing, a cabane à sucre (sugar shack), and une soirée canadienne d’antan (traditional French-Canadian party) will be front and center with singing and dancing.
The UEL which were made up of British, Scottish, and Palatine refugees will have their cultures on full display. With over 140 reenactors, an encampment, demonstrations of military formations and drill, the sounds of canons and muskets will be heard in the park. On Saturday evening a taste of the Highland Games with a mini tattoo, singing and dancing will be at the forefront. History will come to life in an immersive environment where spectators can participate.
There is much more to come and experience with a Historical Fair set up consisting of 40 separate booths staffed by 26 different organizations. The Cornwall Community Museum will be opening its doors for guided tours after having gone through significant renovations over the past two years. Multiple genealogy societies will be present to assist you in researching your roots on the spot for Iroquois, UELs, and French-Canadians ancestry.
Come out and participate in this “Celebration of Friendship” as history makes history starting at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, May 20th running over the weekend and ending on Sunday the 22nd at 5pm.
For up-to-date information check out the Event page on Facebook at the link: https://fb.me/e/1MpEfsX6M and follow the hashtag #Cornwall1784
This event is made possible through sponsorships from: Cornwall Tourism Development Fund, Choose Cornwall, Desjardins, Club Richelieu de Cornwall, Rotary Club of Cornwall, Ontario Power Generations, and SD&G Counties.
The following partners are helping to bring history to life: SD&G Historical Society, North Native American Traveling College, Association Canadienne-française de l ’Ontario SDG, Centre Charles- Émile Claude, UELAC Dominion Branch, Glengarry Highland Games, and Heritage-Patrimoine Cornwall.