Heart of the City launches Cornwall Historic Walking Tour book

Image of Shawna O'Neill
By Shawna O'Neill
Heart of the City launches Cornwall Historic Walking Tour book
From left, ,Dr. Michel Dubuc, Mayor Bernadette Clement, artist Pierre Giroux, Todd Lihou and Dennis Carr (Shawna O'Neill/Seaway News photo).

CORNWALL, Ontario – Members of the public can now own the historic artwork of 42 local monuments and events, spanning from Long Sault’s Lost Villages to Cornwall’s Nav Centre, through the Cornwall Historic Walking Tour book.

“This is our launch for the Cornwall Historic Walking Tour book,” said Todd Lihou, Centretown Coordinator with Heart of the City on Thursday, June 27 at Cline House Gallery. “We have two versions available, the hard cover (retailing for $60) and the soft cover (retailing for $50). It’s really a culmination of the work we’ve done over the last three or four years on the tour. The tour is officially done now, we’ve completed all the plaques that we set out to do.”

Artist of all 42 paintings/plaques Pierre Giroux was at the launch signing books and thanking supporters. Giroux said that each painting took a total of four or five days to complete. The Cornwall native attended école secondaire La Citadelle before the Ontario College of Art and Design where he studied art. During his last year of post-secondary education he studied abroad in Florence, Italy. For 15 years, Giroux has specialized in painting interior vintage scenes.

Lihou said that the idea originally included only a handful of plaques until the community expressed interest in growing the art instillations into a self-guided tour.

“It sort of took on a life of its own. We thought, if we are going to do this, we are going to do it right, and come out with these (historic) stories. Clearly, people have an appetite for it because it has been very successful,” said Lihou.

Lihou said that after attending a conference last year, discussions suggested that one of Ontario’s largest untapped resources is its local history.

“The people are hungry for (history), and you can certainly feel that in here. The history of Canada, people typically know a bit about that because you’re generally taught that in school, but your local history is something that kind of gets missed. So we are hoping something like this can kind of fill that gap,” said Lihou, as each painting depicts an event or place that shaped our area’s identity, like the creation of the Seaway International Bridge and Moses-Saunders Power Dam. “People were asking us all throughout the process ‘when does the book come out?’ and we were only too happy to do it. So far it has been a big success.”

Lihou explained that there are five plaques at the Lost Villages, some at OPG’s Visitors Centre, downtown, along our waterfront, in Le Village, and soon two installed at Nav Centre of the stone house and army plane.

“It’s interactive too. Typically ,where we set these plaques up, is at the location or adjacent to the location (in the plaque)…we are looking at other options too like geocaching, that sort of thing, to make it even more interactive for people,” said Lihou.

Lihou explained that if historic organizations within neighbouring municipalities are interested in developing plaques that are an extended part of the tour, he would be more than happy to collaborate.

“If we can create these partnerships, the sky is the limit,” he said.

The books can be purchased at the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Cline House Gallery and the Cornwall Community Museum. Interested parties can also email me Lihou for more information at todd@cornwallheartofthecity.com

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