10 Things To See and Do in Cornwall, ON

Located in Eastern Ontario about 62 miles (100 km) southeast of Ottawa, Cornwall is Ontario’s easternmost city. The city is one of Canada’s hidden treasures with many wonderful things to see and do there. The Cornwall Aquatic Centre, Cornwall Square, Gray’s Creek Conservation Area, Historic Cornwall Jail, McMaze, Archie’s Family Golf Centre, TAG Cornwall, Cornwall Community Museum, Rack-Em-Up Billiards and St. Raphael’s Ruins all offer a great place to take the entire family making this city a very family-friendly place to visit.

10. St. Raphael’s Ruins

Located about 25 minutes east of Cornwall in South Glengarry, St. Raphael’s Ruins are what is left of the church of St. Raphael’s. In 1970, the church was consumed by fire with the exception of the outer walls and has become an incredibly beautiful tourist attraction. It was originally one of the earliest Roman Catholic churches in English-speaking Canada. In 1999, the Ruins were declared a National Historic Site. There are concerts hosted on the site and other events you might want to check out while visiting. It is free-of-charge to go to the Ruins, but donations are accepted for maintenance costs. Because of the beauty of the site, many people have requested to hold weddings there, but the Diocese believes wedding should be held in a church and refused. However, photography sessions can be held there after the ceremony offering a wonderful backdrop for the photos.

St. Raphael's Ruins

9. Rack-Em-Up Billiards

If you enjoy the occasional game of billiards but don’t know a good place to go that offers great pool tables and a family friendly atmosphere, then Rack-Em-Up Billiards is a must-stopover for you. This pool hall is family run and typically quiet so you don’t have to worry about rowdy people and shady characters. Because it is family run, the owners keep a close watch on what’s going on in their establishment making sure that all their patrons can enjoy a game of pool with their family. It is a hidden gem in Cornwall, so you won’t have any trouble getting a table to play on. The staff is friendly, it’s a convenient location, and a great place to go and enjoy a family gaming outing.

Pool

8. Cornwall Community Museum

Located on Water West, Cornwall Community Museum in the Wood House focusses on the history of Cornwall and the surrounding area. The set-up of the museum is divided into different rooms reflecting different time periods from the 1800s to the 1950s. The kitchen area reflects the 1900s featuring kitchen gadgets used in that era. The dining room demonstrates the prosperous 1950s during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The 1930s are represented in the Industry Room with the textile and paper manufacturing being showcased. The basement area of the museum from 2000, is a new addition allowing for storage and preservation of the archival collections consisting of over 100,000 documents and photographs as well as genealogical records. It’s a great source of information and fascinating journey through Cornwall’s history.

Photo by: Cornwall Tourism
Photo by: Cornwall Tourism

7. The Art Gallery (TAG) Cornwall

The Art Gallery Cornwall also known as TAG, is a public art gallery and designed for everyone of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy. Their focus is to provide programs aimed at promoting public awareness and appreciation of the visual arts while providing accessibility within its community. It is a small art gallery located on Pitt Street in Cornwall and is the hub of cultural activity in the city. The exhibits are constantly changing and many different forms of art are featured as well. You don’t want to miss out on stopping here to see what is new and exciting or may inspire you and exhilarate your senses.

Photo by: Cornwall Tourism
Photo by: Cornwall Tourism

6. Archie’s Family Golf Centre

Located on Vincent Massey Drive in Cornwall, Archie’s Family Golf Centre is quite aptly named. It not only features a mini-putt course, but it also has a driving range and 9-hole golf course. The mini-putt course features unique obstacles of which some even move, to offer more of a challenge. The 9-hole golf course is a 3-par course and offers a great challenge for novice golfers. The driving range has the unique feature of a lake in which you hit your balls and in the lake are some small islands with a flag offering something challenging for you to shoot for. They also have a great shop there where you can buy new equipment or accessories and are said to have the best ice cream in town. All in all, it’s a fun time for everyone and a great place to spend a beautiful summer day.

Golfing

5. McMaze

McMaze, located at Cedar Fox Farm, is chock full of activities for the entire family. It features a Fun Farm, Corn Maze and will host birthday parties for the kids to have a blast while learning and exploring farm life. The Fun Farm activities include a rubber duck race, pan for gemstones, Daisy Maze – a cow that the kids can milk, an indoor picnic area, pig races, Old MacDonald’s Play Barn, a playground, mini mazes, calf roping and more. Mazes like the 4-acre corn maze, Ice Storm Post maze made from cedars damaged in an ice storm, The Haze Maze an indoor maze made of walls and fog, The Door Maze featuring 52 doors (not all of them open) and Tall Grass Maze – a permanent maze consisting of 3.5 acres of switchgrass, are challenging fun for the entire family.

Photo by: Cornwall Tourism
Photo by: Cornwall Tourism

4. Historic Cornwall Jail

Built in 1833, the Historic Cornwall Jail was used right up until 2002 when it was closed in favor of newer and larger facilities available in major cities. The entire jail including the cell blocks, common areas, exercise yard and visitation area have all been maintained as they were while they were still being used. You can even enter one of the cells to feel, for a brief moment, what is was like to be locked up here. You will hear stories of prison life from the viewpoint of prison guards and inmates, learn about escapes and they even have many ghost stories to share. The 1800s were no time to be incarcerated. Often people who were locked up here, were long forgotten and not all of them were even criminals. Basically anyone who was shunned by the community was locked up. It’s an interesting historical trip through Cornwall’s past.

Photo by: Historic Cornwall Jail / Don Smith
Photo by: Historic Cornwall Jail / Don Smith

3. Gray’s Creek Conservation Area & Marina Complex

Gray’s Creek Conservation Area & Marina Complex is located just east of Cornwall and consists of over 43 hectares of breathtaking natural landscape with five kilometres of walking trails snaking throughout the area. You will have the opportunity to spot some of the native wildlife and listen to the songbirds while meandering through nature and stimulating your senses with the smells and sounds, warmth of the sun, and incredible scenery. Along the paths, are signs to educate you on the area and its inhabitants. There is also a beautiful family park and picnic area, a shelter and barbecues provided for your use. Washroom facilities and running water are available onsite as well so you can easily spend an entire day exploring this natural eutopia. At the marina, you can rent a slip, use the launching ramps or visit the store.

Photo by: The Great Waterway
Photo by: The Great Waterway

2. Cornwall Square

Located next to Lamoureux Park and the beautiful waterfront, Cornwall Square is a 250,000 square foot two storey shopping mall. It is home to more than 55 stores and services and includes a food court. If you love to shop or just want to have some leisure time and pick up some souvenirs or a new outfit, this mall offers it all. With retailers like Bluenotes, Charm Diamond Centre, Coles, Dollar Depot, Game Stop, La Senza, Master Cuts, Northern Reflections, Sears and many more, you will definitely find the store you’re looking for. Then if you get hungry you can stop at the food court for some sustenance with Subway, A & W,  New York Fries, Cedars, Wok Express or Tim Hortons. It is the premier shopping center in Cornwall and promises to offer great value and a fun shopping experience.

Window shopping

1. Cornwall Aquatic Centre

Opened in September 2005, the Cornwall Aquatic Centre is home to a 25-meter, six-lane swimming pool, two storey water slide, a toddler leisure pool and a large whirlpool. It is designed to accommodate family adventure and fun. Not only do they have open swimming sessions, but also offer Aquafitness which includes; water sports like basketball, volleyball, underwater hockey and water polo. They also offer lifesaving and lifeguard courses if you’re in the area for a while. It is a community-minded centre and offers all kinds of special opportunities in a safe, clean environment for all ages and physical requirements. You can even rent the pool if you have a large group with you and they have a party room that comes with it if you want to celebrate a birthday. It’s great fun and worth scheduling into your vacation time.

Photo by: Cornwall Aquatic Centre
Photo by: Cornwall Aquatic Centre

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