Hunting for Heartwood history

A postcard image of Cornwall's House of Refuge. (Lily Worrall)

CORNWALL – Cornwall’s avid historian, Sara Lauzon, has been delving into the history of Cornwall’s House of Refuge (known today as Heartwood nursing home). It’s been a two year project for Lauzon, who is seeking public help to further her research. Below is an article written by Lauzon. She is requesting anyone with historical information to get in touch with her at the email and web address below.

For the past two years, I have been researching Cornwall’s House of Refuge facility located on Eleventh Street. What many citizens do not realize, is the entire property is a cemetery. The main purpose of my research is to discover who is buried in these pauper’s graves, and my goal is to have a monument placed on the current property in their memory. Up to date, I have researched 211 of the 906 inmates that, at one time or another, called Cornwall’s House of Refuge home.

Now that I have graduated from the University of Ottawa where I received my BA in History, I have more time to focus on my research. For the next step, I would like to interview people with a connection to the Heartwood Nursing home. This includes: people who had family living in the facility when it was Cornwall’s House of Refuge (no matter how distant the relative may be to you), people who lived in the vicinity, anyone who attended the building while it was St. Michael’s Academy, any teachers, staff, or caretakers that have a connection to the facility when it was Cornwall’s House of Refuge, St. Michael’s Academy or when the building was first transformed into a nursing home.

I would love to hear your stories, and I can be contacted by email at:
For further information you can visit my website:

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