Cornwall City Council Votes in Favor of Newspaper Digitization Project

Krystine Therriault - Seaway News
Cornwall City Council Votes in Favor of Newspaper Digitization Project
(Photo : Krystine Therriault/Seaway News)

MP Eric Duncan was present at the February 13th meeting of Cornwall City Council to propose including Cornwall in the SD&G Online Archives project. During his presentation, Duncan asked city council to approve $75,000 to digitize the last 35 years of the Seaway News with future plans to digitize the Standard Freeholder and Le Journal.

To date, this project has digitized and made searchable over 210,000 newspaper pages dating back to the nineteenth century, as well as over 2,000 photos of the Lost Villages. Funding from the City of Cornwall will be used to add Cornwall newspaper pages to the existing website.

“This has been exciting. It’s been a personal passion of mine as a bit of a history buff and history nerd,” said Duncan, “We were one fire away from the Winchester Press or Chesterville Record that would lose a massive amount of our community documented history. I think if we are able to proceed with this it would be a project that would benefit the City of Cornwall, many users, staff, and councils for generations to come.”

The project thus far has been funded with the support of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry. Contributions have also been made by Dundas County Archives, Glengarry County Archives, and the Lost Villages Historical Society.

Newspapers included in the collection so far are Glengarry News (post 1961), Chesterville Record, Morrisburg Leader, Winchester Press, Iroquois Chieftain, Dundas County Herald, St. Lawrence Reporter, Iroquois Post, St. Lawrence News, Mountain Herald, Matilda Advocate, Morrisburg Courier, Dundas County Advisor, Williamsburgh Times, and Morrisburgh Banner.

Image Advantage, the company tasked with digitizing these newspapers in 2019, is willing to offer the same rate to the City of Cornwall as they did to the United Counties of SDG four years ago to continue the project.

During deliberations, several city council members voiced concerns over the project’s price tag, but ultimately the request was approved with a vote of seven to three. Councilors Syd Gardiner, Dean Hollingsworth, and Maurice Dupelle voted against.

“I’m definitely behind this,” shared councilor Carilyne Hébert, “I just found the article from when the Alexandria council voted for my grandfather (who is 94 today and still with us) to be part of the volunteer fire brigade in 1964. That’s super special because he is a big part of my life and I feel like these are moments I would have never had the opportunity to see without this amazing project.”

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