CORNWALL – Another walk featuring one of Cornwall’s streets, steeped in history, will take place Saturday.
“Cornwall’s Little Historian”, Sara Lauzon, will host the walk of Sydney Street as a fundraiser for the House of Refuge Monument.
After three walks and other projects, Lauzon has amassed $926 – just shy of $1,000. She is hoping this walk will break the four digit mark toward the approximately $5,000 project.
The tour starts at the Cornwall Public Library and heads up Sydney to either Fifth or Sixth Street, depending on the mobility of the crowd.
“Sometimes we are met outside by the people that own the house and sometimes we get invited in,” an excited Lauzon told Cornwall Newswatch in an interview Friday.
The local historian said, in some cases, people come out and talk about changes they have made to their dwellings, something that may not be picked up in historic records.
“That’s amazing because it’s almost like a guest speaker on this tour, so I love that,” Lauzon said.
For people who have been on one or all of the previous three walking tours, she said there will be something new with this walk. “A lot of people do know I’m coming back on the 25th and some of them said we’re going to surprise people and open our house…or talk…so that’s amazing,” Lauzon added.
“For the people who did come before, there’s going to be different facts for some of the houses,” she said.
Lauzon said the tours have focused on Sydney Street because it’s one of the oldest streets in town. “A lot of times people who lived on Sydney Street had a business on Pitt Street so they’d cross right over. A lot of prominent figures in Cornwall that had these places were managers of Domtar and Courtaulds, people who were teachers. You walk up the street and there’s the history pretty much.”
Lauzon said the response to her fund raising walks has been amazing. “After the phone calls and messages and emails (about having another walk) I said ‘Mom, I feel like I should do this. Should I do it?’ and she said ‘Go ahead, people love it.’ so that’s why I decided to do one more,” Lauzon said.
While the fund raising is going well, Lauzon believes it won’t be until the fall before there could be a monument erected at St. Lawrence Seaway Valley Cemetery to recognize the 26-29 people in unmarked graves. They were moved from the burial site next to, what is now, the Heartwood long-term care home on Eleventh Street. Lauzon had hoped to do it on the anniversary in June.
Lauzon walks with CNW and learns about her own history
While touring the street with Cornwall Newswatch to take a picture for this story, Lauzon got to learn some of the history about a house at 219 Sydney Street that was once a boarding home.
It has a very personal connection for Sara. Her grandfather, Archie Latour, met her grandmother, Rolande Seguin, in the early 1950’s while Latour was boarding at the facility.
The house is currently owned by Margaret Lough and her husband, Gordon Chisholm.
Chisholm shared some of the history of the two-storey brick home that was built in 1891. He said the building went through extensive renovations since Lough and her brother bought it in 1989.
Those renos included removing one of the three layers of brick, restoring all the hardwood floors and improving the windows.
Chisholm said, at one point in its history, there was talk of leveling the house but the building was saved from an untimely end.
Sara also got to flip through a large picture book showing all the renovations that had been completed. After the personal tour, she said it was an incredible experience to meet the current owner of her grandfather’s old boarding house.
Recap: event details and ways to donate to the House of Refuge monument
The historical Sydney Street walk starts in front of the Cornwall Public Library on Saturday July 25 at 1 p.m.
Donations are being accepted for the House of Refuge Monument on site.
You can also visit Sara’s Cornwall History Website where you can donate online via PayPal or credit card (click the Donate button under the Ways To Donate).