More on a Beach in Cornwall Ontario – Letter to the Editor by Harry Valentine – August 14, 2012

The participants who have been discussing the Cornwall beach proposal have brought forward many relevant points. Cornwall has 4 to 5-times the population of Smith’s Falls (9,500) that has 3-beaches and 10-times that of Alexandria that also has a beach. If an inlet beach at Cornwall becomes popular, there may be a need for 2-beaches. Cornwall also wishes to increase tourism, including tourism by boat from Montreal.
The RCAF would like more boaters to visit their building. There is a walkway to the west of the RCAF boat ramp, where river current is minimal and where it may be possible to install floating docks to allow boats to tie up. Visitors who travel to Cornwall by boat may also like to visit a swimming location and beaches at the inlet near the RCAF building and near Bergeron Avenue may both be suitable locations for future beaches. The eastern beach will be within sight of the Cornwall Marina.
With regard to relocating turtles from the inlets, there are several ponds along the waterfront, to the west of the international bridge. One of the ponds connects to the St Lawrence River. Perhaps there may be scope for volunteers to dig little channels to connect the ponds, to make more attractive habitat for turtles and other species. To the east of the international bridge, the human species in Cornwall may like to access to a natural outdoor swim location on hot summer days.
I would like to encourage beach supporters to consider keeping the beaches as close to natural as possible. The inlet near the Woodhouse Museum is 6′ to 8′ deep, measured with a depth gauge. Adding sand to the inlet could reduce water depth to about 1-metre, for the benefit of kindergarten aged children. A floating dock could serve as a walkway across the entrance to each inlet, with rocks below to add aesthetic value and to provide a spawning area for fish.
It may take a few years before a beach or natural swim area appears on the Cornwall waterfront.


  1. With all due respect to you Harry & while I certainly believe in Corn having a proper beach I have to disagree with the location that you are suggesting . I guess you & I are going to agree to disagree on that one . My opinion as I suggested to you was & still is east of Bergeron Dr. & north of Legions Ball Diamonds .That spot runs right to our mighty St. Lawrence river & should be the first choice & the best location for a much needed Beach .

  2. With due respect once again gentlemen we can at least agree on a beach. Simply though a 3 foot wadding pool is not a beach and the splash pad virtually covers that need. What I see is a cross section of uses from juniors to seniors. Don’t forget, many at either end of this spectrum do not have access to a vehicle and would rather not pay for a taxi or bus.
    This brings us to a more central facility, somewhere not hidden out of the way but indeed central to the city, to Lamereaux Park and flexible for multi-functional uses (Balloonfest for one)…..volley ball at the high end or even some Frisbee tossing and kite flying in-between. Sun-brellas and beach blankets in-between with castle building contests near the water.
    With so many condos and apartments in the downtown location this becomes an important area for them. The rest of us can certainly find ourselves in the mix too.
    For that reason I too see a sanded bottom but groomed to remain tiered. Most needed parking spaces, despite some concerns are far cheaper to avail ourselves of them without remodelling new ones at great expense to bring to code. A short hike and we’d be there.

    With tiered sanded access to the water then gradual slopping under the water we can mimic natural flow lines and enhance the beauty of the whole area with flowerbeds and boxes as time and costs become available. No doubt about it we can neat the park site at Inlet Beach far easier than any other site.

    Waterfront Committee meeting Thursday evening will be simply a get acquainted few minutes with a presentation of ideas. Follow up meetings will be needed for factual updating of them for comparisons. Bare in mind that this does not mean that cheap is best, but for the long term return to the community in recreational health and happiness of as well as as well as the likelihood that it can add to the invitiveness (my own word) of outsiders to Cornwall to come, live, study/work/retire and play.

  3. At this point in time, many citizens support the idea of a beach. Even though I presently the case for a beach at the inlet near the RCAF building, I can see merit in other locations. The location near Bergeron Drive will attract people from across the city, many of will walk, ride a bike or travel on city transit. There is enough energy in the river current near the Cornwall Marina, for a pipe to carry water into the far end of the swim area,

    If a waterfront beach proves popular amongst the people, it will likely become overcrowded on hot summer days, perhaps to the point of requiring the space of a 2nd beach.

    Perhaps there will need to be a discussion in front of the Waterfront Committee in regard to the relative merits of both inlets, where a beach may be possible. Lets hope that people come out and support the idea of a beach and also choose as to which location would need to go ahead first.


  4. A wise man that Mr. Harry Valentine. I took a drive back to the canal at Second and Queen Streets where the recent successful Waterfest dragon boat races were held last weekend. Frankly, personally I never really noticed it as so accommodating before. It’s expanse is larger than I thought. This land area too could be sanded down and the waters edge as well, out into the canal somewhat for deeper water swimming. Safety and lifeguarding as well as parking are other concerns to say the least, however if water flow and quality are acceptable and the weeds can be kept down this can certainly be used and no doubt is on occasion of a hot summer day.
    When I drove down to Bergeron St. at Legion Park I was hard pressed to see any opportunity spots for a beach, however as others have indicated, it may well serve use as yet ANOTHER beach are. So far then we have three, if not four within the city limits) 4 being the inlet closer to Saunders Damn down below the higher bike path. Somewhat out of the way however there is limited to no fast water and may again serve us well…except for parking back by the soccer fields.
    Two or three beaches then are possible and would certainly fulfill the needs of all characters wanting varying challenges. But will they fulfill our bylaws, lifeguarding parking etc. Secluded rendezvous or hideaway perhaps, but open public, visual etc. may be at issue.

    These ideas do initially warrant a review yet I continue to comeback with what a park beach is all about…central, safety, open visual and accessible. The Inlet Beach opportunity offers all of that and more….freedom to play for all ages.

  5. How about we give the idea of a sand beach a rest?

    It makes about as much sense as an ice rink in Saudi.

    Sure you can do it, if you have the money, but it’s a bit out of place. And we don’t have the money.

    Cornwall is a riverfront community, so sure if there’s a natural inlet available to groom, then go ahead. But in our case the canal makes more sense… and it just needs a cleanup and of course, we’ll have to acquire it first.

    And that brings me to land acquisition… that should be number one on our waterfront list.

    Asking for a beach will just be used as a diversion then dropped by the Waterfront Committee, so let’s focus on getting the waterfront land back.

    And we must insist that there be a covenant attached to the deed when the lands are transferred to us from federal government departments and agencies — and that is, that it cannot be sold, transferred, or otherwise conveyed ever again to private interests, it must remain public land for the use and access of all residents of Cornwall and Canadians at large.

  6. Author

    Actually Simon speaking of Ice, wouldn’t it be awesome to have part of the water frozen over for the winter and used as an ice rink? With Domtar not sucking up as much water I be OPG could help make some magic with this concept …..

    Beach in the summer; ice in the winter. I know it’s not 2,000 condos but we poor taxpayers would have an awful lot more fun…

  7. Does the canal have ashallow end? Do they have a beach at any section of the ‘Ottawa’ segment of the Rideau canal. Is are a ‘neighborhood watch’ factor nearby at all times looking out for the saftey of our younger set because that’s what we need.
    Are there redidential properties nearby that would have a say and therefore like the last Walmart expansion 50 houses were used as a reason to say no.
    Inlet Beach can be cleared for skating in the winter while the small hill nearby can be set up for tonbogganing and cross-country skiing can be organized with trails throughout Lamoreaux Part if we want to do a lot of other things. First, let us establish one beach area at a time.

    Money is always a factor. HOw much money has been spent and with or without public knowledge to beautify the entire area around the Marina 200. I diagress. It is a fabulous job by the way, yet who or how many of our kcitizens get to use it? Thousands? No of course not. If the will is there then the money woll find its way for a beach as well. I’m not saying grandious, just get started.

  8. The old Cornwall Canal is presently about 14-feet (4.2m) deep . . . before 1890, it was 9-ft deep. OPG has reduced water flow rate into the Canal so as to maintain the Eco Park. There is scope to reduce water depth along a section of the Canal.

    In Ottawa, Mooney’s Bay beach is located along a wide section of the Rideau River/Canal, immediately upstream of Hog’s Back Falls where teenagers go diving. Most of the swim-related injuries in the Mooney’s Bay area involve divers at the falls. There is a very gentle current in the Rideau River at Mooney’s Bay . . . similiar to Cornwall Canal.

    There are beaches on the Ottawa River, in the Britannia Bay area. If swimmers go to far into the river, they encounter the powerful river current. Mooney’s Bay is a much safer and often cleaner location to go swimming.

    With regard to the inlet near the RCAF building, the water is 6-ft to 8-ft deep, measured with a depth gauge attached to a boat. So there is scope to reduce water depth for the convenience of swimmers . . . . some input is needed as to desired water depth for swimmers.

    At the present time, the inlet near the RCAF building may be the only viable, central location. The inlet near the west end of the Canal, just north of Polly’s Gut is very close to the power dam . . . OPG would object to a beach at that location. Residents who live near the inlets at Riverdale and also at St Lawrence College may object to having hordes of teenagers swimming at those locations.

    At present, the low-cost options are the RCAF inlet at Lamoureux Park and the Cornwall Canal.


  9. Thank you for your summation/synopsis Mr. Harry Valentine. I concur and will present as so to our Waterfront committee Thursday evening on your behalf or if you are able to attend, then you alone or we jointly can forward a brochure of all of these sketches and everyone’s thoughts since initiation. After all such a
    presentation should ultimately be that of the community. I may also have another engineer friend who shows no bias, yet should the project win favour is also willing to ad his thoughts and ideas for your combined professional presentation.

    Kind regards to you sir.


    Dave Windsor

  10. I was able to examine an earlier beach proposal for Cornwall’s waterfront, to the west of the boat ramp near the RCAF building. It would have required a breakwater and would also have exposed swimmers to the powerful current located just outside of the beach area (same drawback as Britannia Bay beach in Ottawa . . . gentle water near the shore with powerful current further away from the shore).

    The inlet at Lamoureux Park offers a safe alternative . . . possible to pipe in a flow of water from the river current, to exchange the relatively still water in the inlet.

    The main obstacle would be cost.


  11. Dave Windsor no the Rideau Canal is separate to Mooney’s Bay and the canal stretches from the back of the Parliament Bldgs. all the way down to Smiths Falls and maybe further. The Rideau Canal is so beautiful indeed and many Americans love that place to come and visit. People can walk along the very long stretch on the sidewalk. Mooney’s Bay is connected to both the canal and the Rideau River and this is the time that my husband and I see the boats starting to go back home for the school season.

    At the NCC Park where we go we love to see the beautiful scenery and in the fall the trees turn color and so beautiful to look at.

    On the question of homes around the homes are not on the beach but across the street and some much further down away from the park on the water that belong to the very rich.

  12. Yes we have Britannia Beach in the west end and I never go there. Mooney’s Bay is the better beach and much safer and better. Britannia is a tough area of town. It is bad enough where we live than to go out in that area.

  13. We go to Hog’s Back Park and we continue walking and go under the bridge onto the other park and then back. There are signs not to go in the water where the Falls is located and there are fines for those who dive there or go over the fence. There are those who do the rafting there as well. This year the water is low because of the drought and I haven’t seen anybody at the falls area.

    At the other park there are BBQ’s and people book a spot in the park and do BBQing and picnicing. I keep forgetting the name of the other park and I asked my husband for the name and he forgot. Oh I just had a brainstorm in my old age it is called Vincent Massey Park. Gee I am getting old I forget the simplest things unless I write things down. If any of you make the trip to Ottawa go visit Hog’s Back Park and Vincent Massey Park. At Vincent Massey Park you pay $7. to get in to park your vehicle but at Hog’s Back there is no fee so far to park. There are washrooms in both parks but Vincent Massey is the place for BBQ’s and picnics whereas the other park is more scenic. We walk through both parks.

  14. I read today somewhere in CFN that Cornwall is in a deficit and I warned everyone time and time again about that “tax mahal” the new Love Canal that is so mighty polluted and this will be a huge strain on people’s taxes. People ignored me and most likely laughed it off. Another thing was with stollen funds. The wealthy people who live outside of Cornwall wanted it and they don’t pay taxes at all to help keep that heap of bricks afloat. This isn’t fair to the taxpayers of the town. I wish that people would wake up before it is too late.

  15. This issue is now in the hands of our Waterfront Committee and a report will be forwarded to our City Council. To this point, we have raise our concern for a need as they have provided some input. Since more review is to follow it would not be appropriate to comment more at this time.
    We will allow that Council will have the final say in the course of the time they feel they require.


  16. Mr. Valentine at Mooney’s Bay the fire department does a lot of exercises on rescue work where the falls is located as well as the river bed itself. I see this done many times a year. The police train in that park as well as the military.

    Yes Cornwall is a lot bigger than Smiths Falls and Cornwall has to make the right choices instead of going into an enormous debt that they will not be able to crawl out of. I am all for the beach but it has to be done in the right way and safety is a top concern. I think that it is a very good idea indeed. I also think that the old canal should be used for boat races – NOT the motor boat but the ones with the oars – dragon boat races. I think that this is great too and they do that here in Ottawa as well. Competitions can be held between cities and this would also help Cornwall develop.

  17. Put Beach/Pool in Trust Account

    Regarding a new, Cornwall Beach that is in discussion stages this summer, I wish to add a few thoughts. Our Waterfront Committee, whom I regard highly for their resources, history on this issue, and expertise in all our recreation planning and implementation needs do have all our city wide swimming issues well in hand.
    The grey area for accommodation as you realize, for many, has been the attraction of a sandy, free and open beach atmosphere, most fitting, in central downtown, though some have suggested otherwise.
    If in the end our Waterfront committee after visiting this issue each of 3 decades completing formal assessments their conclusion is that a beach is not possible for whatever their reasons, I would like to request a long term savings program be set in place so that before the next decade we just may be able to have a larger than normal
    pool est. 100’ by 50’ feet or more be planned for the location between the RCAFA Wing and our Historical Museum. This is a large expanse that can be layered with sand all around the pool and can conceivably accommodate a thousand sun worshippers and hundreds of swimmers.
    This whole area can easily be dressed up with flower boxes, light standards, a nice sign on Water St., picnic tables and benches on the south side of th bike path overlooking the pool and river. Some rocks or canal stones such as what dress up the Marina 200 area can also give age and period looks for the pool. This can become a major draw for tourists, convention goers at the complex, clients for the brew and dinners at the RCAFA Wing and other venues in the whole area.
    Whatever the decision, surely after 30 years or more, we will not have to wait for another 30 years.
    With much respect for each and every member of the Waterfront Com. and Council, we truly remain in your trust. Again put the expense in a futures trust account.
    Kind regards to all. Thank you.

    Dave Windsor

  18. A special note to ‘Highlander’, in reviewing these engineer studies and comments I came across one I earlier missed. That was one you wrote on Aug. 02/12.

    Would you please consider forwarding the same or similar note to our Mayor and City Council and even copy to the Standard Freeholder as well as the Seaway News at and .

    Reach our Mayor and Council at address is ‘
    Thank you very much.


  19. Back in the 50’s era at the old St. Lawrence Park where those Courthauds Cottages are located Mr. Flanigan was in charge of that park. In that park was a child’s wading pool and I used to swim in that. It is a great idea for young children besides having a beach for the big people and children under parents supervision. I think that the beach is an excellent idea.

    Cornwall is a very pretty town. I have seen small cities in videos and pictures as well but Cornwall happens to be one of the prettiest of all.

    If people overbuild it becomes ugly. All over Ottawa they are building condos. Down the ways from me but on Walkley Road near Bank Street they are building loft apartments and 65% of them are already sold before they are even finished being built. These are in high demand because of young people who have no time to tend to a single home, seniors getting too old to look after a house, and the most affordable as well. Even downtown, the west end, etc. these condos are being built. Ottawa is a big city and you can’t compare it to Cornwall or any other small town. Having spaces between neighbors is very important. I am lucky because in general my neighbors are very good but we had our problems with a couple of families that are gone thank God. It took other people to complain to get rid of them. Living in condos is not for everybody and that I guarantee. If people have never lived in these bird cages before then they could be in for a shock. LOL LOL.

    People keep Cornwall beautiful and I just don’t say that but I say it because Cornwall is very pretty.

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