Don Smith

History of the Cornwall Cotton Mills from 1868 to present

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Cornwall Ontario – Recently I received a few requests concerning the history of the Cotton Mills in Cornwall, particularly which mill was in operation during what time frame. Collectively, those mills were once the major source of industrial employment in the Cornwall area, much as were the Courtaulds companies and the paper mills in their time. What follows are the key dates for each of the companies, including when the mills changed ownership. The Dundas and Canada Mills were located in East Cornwall (the south part of Gladstone was annexed in 1873), while the Stormont Mill was in the Square Mile Town. The Glengarry Mill was immediately west of Town in Fairview.

A Timeline of Cornwall’s Cotton Mill Industry:

Cornwall Manufacturing Company

  • 1868   Started by George Stephen & Hugh Allan
  • 1870   Suffers a fire
  • 1871   Is rebuilt
  • 1902  Closes its doors
  • 1903  Becomes the Dundas Mill as part of Canadian Coloured Cottons Limited

Stormont Cotton Manufacturing Company

  • 1870   Started by the Gault Bros.
  • 1874   Suffer a fire
  • 1880  Becomes Canadian Cotton Limited, Stormont Mill

Canadian Cotton Manufacturing Company

  • 1874   Started by Smith, MacKay, Rosemount, Harvey, MacInnes
  • 1882  Becomes Canadian Cottons Limited, Canada Mill

Photo:  The Dundas and Canada Mills in the 1940s

Canadian Cottons Limited

  • 1880  Acquired the Stormont Cotton Manufacturing Company, Stormont Mill
  • 1881  Stormont Mill – acquired more land & built new plant
  • 1882  Acquired the Canadian Cotton Manufacturing Company, Canada Mill
  • 1882  Canada Mill – Weave Shed added
  • 1884  Weave Shed is electrified
  • 1892  Canada Mill is now part of Canadian Coloured Cotton Mills Company
  • 1903  Stormont Mill is now part of Canadian Coloured Cotton Mills Company

Photo:  The Stormont Mill

Canadian Coloured Cottons Limited

  • 1892  Purchases the Canadian Cotton Manufacturing Company, Canada Mill
  • 1903  Brings together the Dundas, Canada and Stormont Mills on December 30
  • 1936  Rayon Workers Industrial Union is formed at Canadian Coloured Cottons Limited
  • 1937  Officially recognizes the United Textile Workers of America
  • 1937 Arthur Laverty organises the Cornwall Textile Workers Union at Canadian Coloured Cottons Limited and Powdrell and Alexander Curtain Factory
  • 1948  Purchases Powdrell and Alexander, renaming it Glengarry Textiles
  • 1959  Three factories closed; two became the property of CIDL.
  • 1961  Stormont Mill is raised by fire on Hallowe’en night (October 31)
  • 1978  Dundas Mill is partly demolished
  • 1992  Canada Mill is occupied by various smaller companies

Photo:  The Glengarry Mill

A New Era

  • 2000  The Wood House moves to Lamoureux Park where the Stormont Mill once stood and becomes the Cornwall Community Museum & Archives
  • 2010  Fire destroys an abandoned four-story Canada Mill building
  • 2016  Having housed many small businesses over the years, the former Glengarry Mill gets a fresh face
  • 2017  Gradually some of the remaining buildings have been converted into condos and office space, while new structures go up “commemorating” the old East Cornwall neighbourhood


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