Cornwall’s Historic Walking Tour continues to grow with the recent addition of two plaques and a bench commemorating Cornwall’s Classical College, which was open from 1949 to 1968. Many college alumni gathered on outside of St. Lawrence College off Montreal Road Saturday morning for a brief ceremony and the revealing of the new plaques.
“This is a ceremony that celebrates the first institution to offer French higher education in Cornwall,” said Robert Marleau, Class of 1969, “These two plaques that we are about to unveil are barely a page in the history of the city; but for us College alumni, these plaques are tomes of childhood memoirs, chapters of upbringing memories, and volumes of the classical training that shaped and guided us in our subsequent contributions to Canadian and international society.”
The plaques tell the story of how in 1949 the Clerics of Saint Viator, a religious order founded in France in 1831, were mandated to build a boys’ school in Cornwall that became the first French Catholic secondary school in the area. Due to the school’s success, in 1955 the Clerics built the Cornwall Classical College on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, at a spot then known as Windmill Point.
Boarders came to the school from many places near and far, including Apple Hill, Ottawa, Alexandria, Manitoba, New Brunswick, the United States and even Mexico, to name a few. Many of the college’s alumni are now leaders in their industries and can be found at all levels of senior civil service. They include the mayor of Cornwall, employees of the Library of Parliament, published Franco-Ontarian authors, and more.
Cornwall’s Classical College was more than just a school; the Clerics were builders of the Franco-Ontarian community. Now the Classical College’s legacy will continue to live on for new generations to learn about.