SOUTH STORMONT, Ontario – Five new plaques were unveiled at the Lost Villages Museum on Wednesday, Oct. 23 commemorating the history of the communities and landmarks that were swallowed up by the St. Lawrence Seaway upon it’s creation 60 years ago.
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The plaques were created and paid for by Cornwall’s Heart of the City, who offered them to the Lost Villages Historical Society. The images on the plaques were made by local artist Pierre Giroux. Heart of the City and Giroux had previously partnered to create 40 historical plaques that honour history and are placed throughout the City of Cornwall.
Each of the plaques were unveiled by Lost Villages Historical Society President Jim Brownell with the help of someone with a connection to the local history being displayed.
Art Buckland, who grew up on Sheek Island, said of the plaque commemorating the historical site that in it’s day, it was like a “Shangri la” for kids and beach goers in the summers.
“We have evidence of Mohawk settlement on Sheek Island going back 5,000 years,” Buckland stated.
Buckland not only lived on the island, but also went to school there.
“If we were to have a school reunion,” he said. “We would have to don scuba gear and dive down 60 ft.”
The plaques depicted the history of the Milles Roches Quarry, the Royal Prince ferry and Long Sault Rapides, Sheek Island, Maple Grove and the final plaque depicted Woodlands and Santa Cruz.
“It is important for us, as a historical society to show our history, and to tell our history,” Brownell said.
South Stormont Mayor Bryan McGillis was on hand to help celebrate the unveiling of the plaques.
“Jim, it was you who helped me appreciate this history,” Mayor McGillis said. “This is something that our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren should know because it is something that will never happen again.”
Heart of the City found the $20,000 worth of funding for the plaques through support from the Township of South Stormont, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and RT09.