CORNWALL, Ontario – It has been ten years since the smoke stacks on Second Street marked the Cornwall skyline with their signature clouds. That is an entire decade since the last employee left Domtar, and left behind decades of paper manufacturing in Cornwall. A lot has changed in this community since then, but for some Cornwall residents, now is a great time to reflect on those bygone days.
“This got started when these folks had a reunion, and there wasn’t a negative thing said the entire time,” said Don Smith, curator for the Cornwall community museum, who worked at Domtar for nearly two decades. “From that reunion, there was some fundraising, and now we have a cheque to present.”
The mill was a second home and proud workplace to many Cornwall residents. That is why Don Smith and Micheline Faubert-Irving, both former employees of Domtar, were pleased to present the SDG United Way with a cheque for nearly $3, 000, just as they would have in the days when Domtar was operational.
The cheque presentation also marks the beginning of a paper mill exhibit, which is now on at the Cornwall community museum. The exhibit displays the historical development of the paper mill industry in Cornwall from its inception in the 1920s as the Howard Smith company, all the way to the final days of Domtar.
“We are here today present, to give the United Way a cheque for $3, 000,” said Micheline Faubert-Irving, a former employee of Domtar for 17 years, and organizer behind the reunion and fundraising. “We are glad to give a helping hand to those organizations that need it, and all I have to say is fun was had by all at the fundraising.”
“Domtar was a big, big player, so when they closed it left a big hole,” said Bill Makinson, the United Way campaign chair for 2016, and former employee. “Not just for the United Way, there was a big hole to fill everywhere.”
In addition to the paper mill exhibit, there was a brief presentation from the family of the owner of a former purse making factory, in addition to the museum’s new Viking exhibit, with artifacts collected from Scandinavian expeditions to North America, from now until December 15.
It’s a great time to check out the Cornwall community museum and learn a bit about our history.