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Is Cornwall Ontario a good place to live?

Is Cornwall, Ontario, a good place to live? Absolutely! Born and raised in this beautiful small town, I’m the perfect person to tell you why I love Cornwall and why you should love it too.

Living in Cornwall is ideal for commuters. The average house sale price is much lower than the outlining major cities like Ottawa and Montreal, but we are smack dab in the middle of both with only an hour drive each way. We enjoy the many benefits of a small town like less traffic, larger building lots, friendly neighbourhoods, walking distances to most shopping, transit, and recreation, allowing less stress and rushing. If you don’t feel like driving into Ottawa, you can quickly jump on the commuter buses offered by the 417 Bus line and Evans bus line. A monthly pass should cost around $300 (+/-), which is very affordable. Riding the commuter bus into Ottawa also saves wear and tear on your vehicle, saves you money on parking, and you don’t have to deal with the morning and afternoon Ottawa 417 traffic. There are also many commuters pick-up and drop-off locations in S.D&G like St. Andrews, Avonmore, Alexandria, and Morrisburg, to name a few.

VIA rail also stops in Cornwall with quick access to Montreal, Kingston, Brockville and Toronto. When I’m on a budget, I’ll often take the train into Montreal to watch a concert or NHL game at the Bell centre or Parc Jean Drapeau and then take the Mega Bus back to Cornwall. The last bus usually leaves Downtown Montreal at midnight, and return tickets can be as cheap as $15, depending on the day and time of year.

We border onto Upstate New York and have quick access to the Seaway international border crossing if you feel adventurous. Our newly constructed low-level bridge gives you access to larger cities like Plattsburgh, Albany, Syracuse and New York City and is all within reasonable driving distances. Or, a quick 20 minutes to Massena New York or Akwesasne Mohawk Casino for an afternoon of shopping and fun. If you are interested in visiting Manhattan from Cornwall, I recommend driving to Albany, NY and hopping onto the Amtrak train from Albany-Rensselaer, to Penn Station. The train is a less stressful way of visiting the Big Apple and avoiding the ridiculous yellow cab drivers.

Cornwall is known to have the best pizza around. Just ask anyone who has tasted a Riverside, Louis, North End, Cornwall BBQ, Olympic or King George Pizzeria why they keep coming back for more. I have heard of these famous little restaurants sending their pizzas to various locations worldwide so everyone can have a taste of Cornwall’s best-known secret, our pizza. Our pizza is so famous we sell world-famous Cornwall pizza t-shirts.

Having been one of the first settler towns in Upper Canada and previously known as New Johnstown, we have some of the most lavish pre-confederation brick and stone buildings and homes. Enjoy breathtaking walks or drives downtown and on streets like Sydney, York, Second (downtown), Adolphus and Montreal Roads. The original owners and people who subsequently lived in these homes were often prominent citizens like; John McDonald of Garth, Samuel Cline, George S. Jarvis, William Wood, The Chesley family and Simon Fraser. An afternoon is well worth discovering these beautiful properties. Maybe, if you ask nice enough, the owners may invite you in for a tour. But, please don’t tell them I sent you.

The industrial boom in the early 1900s brought an opportunity to build the many canals and locks you see along our waterfront. One of my favourite spots to take a bike ride or a jog is from Lameroux park West; along the bike trail (and a little off the beaten path), you may be able to see some of the remaining large mooring cleats and barriers from the old lock or gears and technical parts. Often I will sit and watch the water falling at the old locks near the Howard smith smoke stack. A historical walking tour may also be of interest to you if you’re ending up with some additional time on your hands.

The 1930-the 1960s brought another boom to our city by introducing the Domtar paper and pulp mill. It provided an opportunity to employ many locals, which set the demand for "baby-boom" housing. Our famous local builders like Menard Bros & Associates, J.F. Markell Homes, Bourgon Construction and Grant Marion Construction focused on craftsman-style homes, with the majority being three-bedroom bungalows. These quality homes were constructed quickly and used newly introduced building materials like; no corrode lateral sewer, a.k.a; coal tar impregnated wood fibre, vermiculite insulation, and aluminum wiring. These are now the top three construction materials that cause many red flags and homeowner repairs due to the home buyer's home inspection reports. A professional Cornwall Realtor is the best person to navigate how to spot and address these issues if you are interested in purchasing a home here. Even today, these cozy brick bungalows are very sought after by the retiree or a first home buyer and are found in family-friendly areas of our city like Riverdale, Dover Heights, and Glenview Heights.

What I love most about Cornwall is its Downtown featuring local vendors, artists and stores. I know this is where I will have a great evening with friends or family, or where I will find the perfect outfit for my next night out, the right gift for my client or family member. Cornwall Tourism and the Downtown Business Improvement area have done and continue to do a fantastic job keeping the Downtown Cornwall restaurants, stores, events and attractions unique and relevant.

If you like to fish and are a boater, Cornwall is the perfect place to launch and explore the St. Lawrence River and Lake St. Francis. There are many islands and beaches for you to visit and enjoy. Cornwall is very well known to the fishing community, with many local, national and international fishing tournaments held on our waterways. In 2019 named Cornwall as one of the best places to fish in Canada. Are you planning a visit? You can launch your boat for free at the City of Cornwall’s boat launch or dock all year Downtown at Marina 200.

Cornwall is a relatively safe place to live; however, if you are new to the area or thinking of buying and don’t know where to look, you may want to know which areas to avoid. I usually refer my clients to the Cornwall Police crime map to know where higher crime areas are in the city.

Last but not least, we are a hockey town. Home to former Cornwall Royals and now the Ontario Hockey Academy, we have seen numerous hockey stars rise their careers from our little Eastern Ontario townships. National Hockey League (NHL) players like; Jesse Winchester, Chad Kilger, Orval Tessier, Scott Pearson, Lori Dupuis (Women’s Team Canada Olympic Gold Medalist), Alain Chevrier and Doug Carpenter (former NHL coach) all call Cornwall, Ontario home. Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO) leagues are where your little tyke can start their Intermediate Program (IP), or The Cornwall Colts is where our Elite U18 AAA can begin their careers in the Hockey big leagues. Cornwall is a proud hockey community.

The city is growing. Even though the Canadian Census indicates that our population isn’t rapidly increasing, we have unique townships expanding, growing and evolving. Cornwall villages and towns network helps make the city a local hotspot for business, commerce, media, and services. Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry are all rich in culture and have many reasons you would want to live or play in them. For more information on these townships, refer back to my blog posts on

If you are searching for your next home and would like to get automatic updates of properties for sale in Cornwall, Ontario, click this link to register.


-Penny Rudderham wrote this article, a Realtor with eXp Realty Brokerage servicing Cornwall, Ontario and surrounding counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry


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