The 1798 census revealed eleven families living on Lot 321, only a few of which actually lived in what would later become Cornwall. In 2006 Statistics Canada recorded 4,677 people living in Cornwall.2 During the majority of that two hundred and eight year period, Cornwall consisted of a small population comprised mostly of farmers. It was not until the late 1960’s that Cornwall really began to grow. Many changes occurred in Cornwall and its surrounding districts in the years that followed.
According to the Town of Cornwall website, “The first municipal incorporation in the area occurred when Cornwall became a Village in 1966. The balance of the original school district was primarily rural and remained unincorporated until the formation of the Eliot River C.I.C. in 1975.”3 Other major changes that would alter the boundaries of the village of Cornwall would soon follow.
Perhaps the most significant and influential change came in the mid 1970’s with the Community Improvement Committee (C.I.C.) which essentially amalgamated the communities of East Wiltshire, York Point and North River. This new community was called North River. “In 1974 the former school districts of York Point, East Wiltshire and Warren Grove joined to form a Community Improvement Committee which was later re-named the North River C.I.C. in 1981. In 1983 a change in provincial legislation changed the designation of the three jurisdictions to "Communities" and in 1984 the Warren Grove area was given permission to form a separate community.”4 Warren Grove had therefore become a separate entity while North River now took in the former communities of York Point and East Wiltshire.
It was during the period of the late 1960’s and early ‘70s in Cornwall that the residents describe as the “population boom”. By that time there were several small businesses already in operation in Cornwall such as Alice’s Diner and bakery, Howards Transfer, Shell Service Station, Paradise Park Motel (built by the Beers but burnt down a few years later), the general stores in Cornwall (operated by the Howards then the Gass’s) and North River (operated by the Ramsays), Gregor’s coffee shop and restaurant, ESSO, a hair dressing shop, the North River Motel, and David Brown Lawn and Tractors in North River. Slowly, Cornwall was transforming from a small country farming village into an active and quickly-growing suburb of Charlottetown. A few of the major businesses in Cornwall that sprang up in the late 60s and early 70s can be read about in the following pages.
Sub-divisions began springing up, as more and more people were moving into the area. With the growing population, there was an increasing need for community services. More homes, schools and businesses were created to keep up with the increasing population. A new town of Cornwall also known as Charlottetown West was created in 1995. The process began with the Commission on Municipal Reform, in 1993. In short the Reform called for one large municipality in the Charlottetown area. With a history of community cooperation among the adjoining districts west of Charlottetown, the idea of becoming one large community was not a huge stretch of the imagination for its residents. On April 1, 1995, the Commission’s recommendations were accepted by the Provincial Government, and Charlottetown West was created. Neither the government nor the Commission was responsible for the naming of the new town that was “Charlottetown West.” The name Cornwall was chosen by a plebiscite of the residents of the new Town.5 The first mayor and councilors of the newly formed Town of Cornwall were sworn in in April of 1995. Williard MacPhail was voted as mayor while the six new councilors consisted of Art Howard, Richard Carson, Irene Dawson, Charles Easter, Gordon Hermann and Barry Nicholson.6 The new town consisted of the former communities of North River, Eliot River and Cornwall.
To learn more about the amalgamation in Cornwall, please click here
The history of several of the early businesses in Cornwall, which are still in operation can be found on the following pages.