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Historical Gems Tucked Around Every Corner

Explore an era past in this region that was originally known as Upper Canada. Detour off the main road and take a historical trip to one of the oldest surviving building in Ontario; Sir John Johnson House National Historic Site.

Then meet villagers in traditional period costume from the 1860’s with a trip to Upper Canada Village. This is more than a living museum; re-enactments and special events greet you, year round. These include the wildly popular Alight at Night Alight festival leading up to Christmas and Pumpkinferno, the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario’s “Best Event of the Year”.

A visit to this area wouldn’t be complete without stopping into Cornwall for great theatre, galleries, shops and dining.

  • 4.0hrs from
    Toronto
  • 1hrs from
    Ottawa
  • 1.5hrs from
    Montreal

Cornwall and The Counties at its Best

History Springs to Life
History Springs to Life
Extraordinary Events
Extraordinary Events
Cornwall Outdoors
Cornwall Outdoors
Cornwall Concert Series
Cornwall Concert Series
Haunted or Not?
Haunted or Not?

History Springs to Life

Visit Upper Canada Village and time travel back to 1866, to a pre-confederation Canadian village. Here, you will experience all the sights, sounds and smells that went along with village life on the St. Lawrence River, during this period.

Historical interpreters in period costume go about their daily business as they would have in 1866, sewing the latest London fashions, blacksmithing, making cheese, carving furniture, farming and churning out the latest Gazette from a period printing press. Just be sure to keep an eye on the road to avoid running into a horse-drawn carriage. This creates an environment so realistic, that even the most nitpicky Canadian history buffs come away having learned something new.

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Though you might be a visitor to Upper Canada Village, you’re hardly a spectator. Try your hand at everyday tasks like hand-milking a cow or spinning yarn. Depending on the time and the day, you may be able to participate in a local election and hear the two candidates duke it out. Or you might stumble upon a wedding ceremony in front of the church. Wrap up your trip into the past with a refreshing ginger beer or sarsaparilla at Cook’s Tavern and Livery.

Upper Canada Village is located in the village of Riverside, near Morrisburg, Ontario.

Looking to pair other things with your visit to Upper Canada, start planning your trip on our searchable trip planner – Explore Now.

Extraordinary Events

Glengarry Highland Games held on the Civic Holiday weekend, this highly anticipated event is the largest of its kind outside of Scotland and features North America’s largest performance of massed pipe bands. This yearly event attracts visitors from all over the globe to take in the piping and drumming competitions, the world famous highland dancing competitions and the heavyweight competitions like the caber toss. Take in the traditional Scottish fare and enjoy the dances held on each night.

The Pumpkinferno Festival lights up the night sky in Upper Canada Village every October. This hauntingly beautiful and spellbinding outdoor exhibit showcases close to 6,000 awe-inspiring, hand-carved artificial pumpkins. Once lit, the night-time backdrop makes for an incredible sight! You’ll marvel as you stroll through and see incredible renditions of historic ages, animals, mythical characters and so much more… all carved from pumpkins! Pumpkinferno has earned “Best New Event in Ontario” designation by Festival and Events Ontario, and “Tourism Event of the Year ” by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario. This mesmerizing display of artist-inspired, glowing pumpkins is a not-to-be-missed event for ALL ages!

Alight at Night held each year at Upper Canada Village is transformed into an awe-inspiring, magical holiday season setting. Close to one million lights adorn the heritage buildings, trees and fences, creating an enchanting winter wonderland! Bundle up and take a horse drawn wagon ride or go for an evening stroll through this picture-perfect setting and enjoy the amazing display of lights.

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Start planning your trip, see our Events to mark your calendar.

Cornwall Outdoors

As the weather turns cooler and snow blankets the ground, Cornwall comes alive with winter activities for the entire family.

Some fun things to do include:

Ice Skating 

Cornwall has a variety of outdoor rinks for family fun for all ages.

The outdoor rinks at Optimist and King George parks feature outdoor
lights that are on from 5 pm to 11 pm each night.

Outdoor Rinks

Alexander Park – Eighth and Adolphus Street

Broadview Park – Henry Street and Thirteenth Street

Broadview Park – Dover Road and Robertson Avenue

Gallinger Park – Lottie Avenue and Branch Drive

Grant Park – Kennedy Drive and Grant Avenue

King George Park – Seventh Street and York Street

Mattice Park – Edward Street

Memorial Park – Bedford and Third Street

Menard Park – Concorde Avenue

Optimist Park – Sunnyside Avenue and St. Michel Avenue

Reg Campbell Park – Leitch Drive and Fraser Avenue

Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary

A place for expert and rookie ornithologists alike. 9,000 hectares, 200 bird species and 8 kilometres of nature trails for hiking, skiing and snowshoeing.

Two Creeks Conservation Area

Located in Morrisburg, Two Creeks Conservation Area’s 457 acres offer a diverse selection of ecological points of interest and is accessible year round.

Make sure to take advantage of the breathtaking 4.5 km marked trail that is prime for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and winter hiking.  This particular conservation area boasts a lush biodiversity, with several animal and bird species to observe; so don’t forget your binoculars!

Two Creeks also allow on-leash dog walking, so it’s ok to bring your puppy along for a romp in the wilderness.

Skiing

Big Ben Ski Centre is a great place to fine-tune your skiing or snowboarding skills during the winter months. Keep warm in the heated chalet, enjoy the ease of the towline that will return you to the peak, and perfect your tricks in the snowboarding half pipe. Big Ben also offers inexpensive ski and snowboard lessons for all age groups. So bring your gear and carve up the hill under the lights of Big Ben, and get a great view of the city from the top!

Audiences Adore Aultsville

The Cornwall Concert Series brings high calibre musical entertainment to the Aultsville Theatre. The volunteer management board brings in an eclectic variety of performances to choose from all presented at an affordable cost. They continue to enrich the cultural life of Cornwall and thrill audiences, time and time again.

Haunted or Not?

INJAOne of the most fascinating sites in this region is the Historic Cornwall Jail, located 11 Water Street West Cornwall. Built in 1833, this jail was the reluctant home to many frightening criminals. Today it runs as a museum and you can view it in much the same way it operated. The cell blocks, common areas, exercise yard and visitation area are maintained just as they were, when populated by inmates. Step into a cell and imagine what life must have been like behind bars, in the 1800’s.

A visit to the museum is a trip back into a time when men, women, children, the mentally and physically handicapped, the insane, and basically anyone who didn’t fit into society were thrown in jail and often forgotten. Men could be hung for stealing a cow but only had to pay a fined for beating his wife. Hangings were a part of the jails history and continued up until 1954.

You’ll hear about all this, plus about great escapes, eerie ghost stories and tales of inmates who died.

Start planning your trip on our searchable trip planner – Explore Now.

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