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A Francophone Presence Nativity Co-Cathedral

The first official record of a francophone population dates to 1829, showing that 74 out of 812 Cornwallites were of French origin. Twenty years later, the census recorded that the number had jumped to 967.

The first important influx of francophones into Cornwall and the surrounding area took place between 1870 and 1890, due to the opening of textile and paper mills, and the overall industrialization of the City, with the subsequent availability of employment opportunities.

Since then, the francophone community has contributed towards giving the City of Cornwall its unique bilingual character.

The early nucleus of the francophone community was Nativity Roman Catholic Church (pictured), which was built during 1887-92 from plans drawn by parish priest, Father P. DeSaunhac. The first mass was celebrated in the Church on Christmas Day, 1891.

It was the church of the first French parish in Cornwall to serve the many French Canadians attracted to the city by its booming textile industry. It continues to serve today. The imposing south facade, with its high stone tower and spire, is set back from Montreal Road, creating a large forecourt. 

Cornwall elected its first francophone mayor, Angus Lalonde, in 1904.

Today, Cornwall's francophone community enjoys a strong presence in the City, and it is supported by various groups and organizations such as the Centre culturel de Cornwall. The Centre culturel de Cornwall serves to unite the Francophone community in Cornwall and S, D and G and celebrate the area's Francophone heritage through a variety of special events and programs. The Centre is located at 124 Anthony Street in Cornwall.
Visit the Centre culturel de Cornwall website


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