Cruise the Great Lakes
Rich history, diverse cultures and spectacular vistas.
These are the Great Lakes ports of call.
In the southeastern nook of the province, you’ll find the mid-size city of Cornwall, the Mohawk territory of Akwesasne, and the six municipalities that make up SDG Counties: North and South Glengarry, North and South Stormont and North and South Dundas.
For outsiders, what binds this region together may be difficult to pinpoint. But those of us who live here are in on the secret: In English, you’d call it ‘goodness’, in Mohawk, you’d say ioiá:nere’, and in French, bonté. No matter what language you use, you’re bound to understand because we’re always happy to share what we have. That goes for everything from our warm-hearted people to our fascinating history, from our wild spaces to our bountiful fields, and from our creative output to our captivating culture.
Throughout the year, you can join us as we ride our bikes through town or out on the open road, savour local flavours at our eateries, take in the vivid sights and sounds of the pow-wow, grab goodies at our shops or pick berries from our fields. Maybe you’d rather come along as we taste test seasonal freshness at our farmers’ markets, sun ourselves at the beach, take in a show, camp by the riverside, raise a pint in our breweries or clink glasses in our vineyards. The invitation to partake in this goodness is always open.
WHERE ARE CORNWALL, AKWESASNE AND SDG COUNTIES?
Our region is beautifully protected from the hustle and bustle of the big cities—but not so far that we don’t enjoy their vibrant influence. Our communities are all within a short one-hour drive from Ottawa and Montréal, and a quick jaunt from northern New York. Each place is easily accessible via Highways 401 and 417 and NY Route 37 via the Three Nations Bridge Crossing.
For millennia, Indigenous people have gathered here. We honour and appreciate this meeting place as well as those who were here before us—the Haudenosaunee, Mohawk and Huron-Wendat people. We continue to celebrate and learn about Mohawk culture with our brothers and sisters in Akwesasne.
THINGS TO DO
FOR THE LIFELONG LEARNERS The stories of our region’s history and heritage can be found at every turn. Discover information on the people and events that shaped the city and surrounding areas at the Cornwall Community Museum (Cornwall), the Saunders Hydro Dam Visitor Centre (Cornwall) and the Lost Villages Museum (Long Sault). Immerse yourself in Mohawk stories, art, and culture at the Native North American Travelling College (Kawehno:ke/Cornwall Island ON) and the Akwesasne Cultural Center (Akwesasne NY). If you’re fortunate to visit the territory by water, catch a glimpse of the St. Regis Catholic Church Mission, a major landmark for travellers of the St. Lawrence since 1795. SDG Counties has a treasure trove of historical assets, too. Experience living history at Upper Canada Village (Morrisburg) and the Glengarry Pioneer Museum (Dunvegan) and learn about the history of the Loyalist settlers at the Glengarry Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum (Williamstown) and Carman House (Iroquois).
FOR THE FOODIES Our agricultural heritage runs deep, so it’s no surprise that we value good food. Downtown Cornwall has a dense concentration of cafés and restaurants, but you’ll find all types of eateries spread around the city—from quick-service restaurants to fine dining to ethnic offerings. In Akwesasne, you can get your fill of traditional foods and contemporary fare at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort, Happyeeats and the half-century-old Bear’s Den Restaurant. When it comes to SDG Counties, you’ll discover so many options to treat your tastebuds from delicious tapas-style bites to wood-fired pizza, and from beautiful brunches to famous perch rolls served on a waterfront patio. Getting thirsty? Our wineries and breweries will help quench that thirst.
FOR THE FUN LOVERS If you’re looking for entertainment, point yourself towards Aultsville Theatre (Cornwall), Seaway Valley Theatre Company (Cornwall), Port Theatre (Cornwall), St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage (Morrisburg) and Concerts at the Winery (Morrisburg). Francophones and francophiles will also enjoy programming at the Centre culturel Les trois p’tits points (Alexandria).
FOR THE INTREPID There’s no shortage of recreation here. Rent a bike or bring your own to explore the city and its amazing Waterfront Trail, take a few spins on the BMX track (Cornwall), ride the new skatepark (Kawehno:ke/Cornwall Island, ON), stroll our trails systems in and around Cornwall and SDG Counties and get your swing on at our many golf courses.
NEIGHBOURHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Cornwall has been undergoing a transformation as more people discover the city’s diversity. Downtown Cornwall, also known as the Square Mile, features historic homes, an imposing and impressive public library, a retail-and-restaurant strip and Lamoureux Park, the 43 acres of green space along the waterfront. Le Village, the city’s secondary commercial district, encompasses the Cotton Mill District an ongoing urban renewal project with residential and commercial projects that capitalize on the history and long-lasting beauty of the former manufacturing facility. Visitors who come into the city on a cruise ship will disembark at The Port Lands. This 16-acre parcel is now jointly co-owned by the Akwesasne First Nation and the City of Cornwall, a historically significant agreement that represents the spirit of partnership and a shared vision to redevelop this valuable land for the benefit of both communities.
Akwesasne translates to “Land where the partridge drums”. This Mohawk community is truly exceptional. Pre-dating the founding of the United States and Canada, Akwesasne sits along the picturesque banks of the St. Lawrence River where present-day Ontario, Quebec and New York State meet. Portions of the territory are on the Canadian side, while the mainland extends south into the U.S. side. It is one of the few First Nation communities in Canada that shares these unique geographic features.
SDG Counties are made up of six municipalities that pre-date the founding of the country. Each community celebrates its history and uses this solid foundation to catapult its progressive ideas.
THINGS TO KNOW
TOUR THIS Discover the region on your own terms. Self-guided tours include the leisurely Cornwall Historic Walking Tour and self-driving circuits using the SDG Historic Tour and/or the Glengarry Routes Heritage Tour map. If you’d prefer a guide, sign up for one of Akwesasne Travel’s immersive Mohawk Cultural Tours, yummy Cornwall Food Tours, and spooky guided tours of the Historic SDG Jail.
GET HOOKED The St. Lawrence River is the best! Don’t take our word for it though. Angling retailer Abu Garcia ranked it one of the best fisheries in the world.
APPRECIATE THE ART The creative juices are flowing in this region. Visit Cline House Gallery to admire the exquisitely curated works of local, regional and national artists. If the timing is right, hit up the annual Cornwall Art Walk, the Apples and Arts Studio Tour and the Akwesasne Art Market & Juried Show.
STAY COZY Your home away from home should be just the way you like it. Bed down in a gorgeously restored inn, a riverside lodge, an eco-cultural camp, any one of our amazing campgrounds or go with what you know and pick out a cozy motel or hotel in Cornwall, Akwesasne, or SDG Counties.
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