Is it time for Cornwall to Buy the Port Theatre and Cut Funding to Aultsville Theatre? January 25, 2013

Beatles PortCFN – Is it time for the City of Cornwall to step up and show some fiscal Conservatism and preserve one of the few gems this city has left to preserve?

Unlike nearby Brockville Ontario, Cornwall doesn’t have many of it’s older buildings left in commission.  Even the Port Theatre, an original Roxy, is only 70 years old, but being inside the old dame makes one wistful of a time long gone; yet something that a city craving an arts centre surely can appreciate.

Right now the City of Cornwall is subsidizing Aultsville theatre, essentially the auditorium for the St. Lawrence College campus to the tune of nearly $100,000 per year.  While a lovely room, it’s under used and due to union contracts and a very silly board; priced out of  existence for most promoters.

Recently using government grants they hired a marketing director who essentially is now booking bands on behalf of Aultsville.    As of print time Mr. Graham Greer has refused to provide any numbers showing profit of these events.   As a matter of fact when his own former band, the Bar Stool Prophets reunited for charity they did it at a nearby watering hole.

How did the city end up giving Aultsville $100K per year?  Maybe St. Lawrence College board member and former Cornwall CAO Paul Fitzpatrick could answer that question better than this scribbler.

What I do know is that the Port theatre is available – asking price is $140K.   That’s lot, stock and barrel.

The mortgage if purchased would be about $8,000 per year.

If a $500,000 loan were taken out to hyper upgrade the facility that would cost  about $ 28,000 per year.

While Aultsville is nicer and has  a few more seats; we’re only renting essentially.  For about $40K per year Cornwall could own its own 500 seat space.  After the renovations and mortgage are paid the cost would be near naught.

With some vision and leadership the City of Cornwall could lead in boosting Le Village, saving one of the few heritage buildings left in the city, and save much needed tax payer money.

Now that Mr. Fitzpatrick has been run out of his job retired surely some smarter politicians and city managers can take action before the Port is sold or worse collapses?

There are options.    What do you think?  You can post your comments below.


Milena Cardinal



  1. First off I would like to say I love The Port Theater. I am just giving my opinion here, step your game up Cornwall. We spend so much money on new buildings that will not stand the test of time. Love our old buildings, preserve our culture and sense of identity. You want to attract business and people to Cornwall. Make it look like a place you want to live. The people with the most disposable income spend their money in another City, this is because our people like the way Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston and Montreal feel. Here is an experiment for you, go to The Grind on Second Street, go in have a coffee how does it feel? It feels like you are in Toronto. I understand that new construction leads to more jobs and more money in the community right now but the only long term gain we face at this point is more construction contracts. Fix what we have and build from there. Montreal Rd needs work, don’t tear it down restore it, move business in. Look at the line up in this picture!!! AMAZING!!! Imagine this crowd in our Downtown streets, imagine the money flowing into local businesses, imagine our parks filled with hundreds of people in the Summer on a daily basis. A city filled with life, culture and beautiful old buildings. That is a City I want to live in. Save The Port and save the City.

  2. The only reason the city gave them the money was so the marketing director could get a job and do some advertising. No talent, clinging on to very limited local fame, musicians who are members of Team Cornwall need a boost and overexposure just like Gilles (no diploma) Latour and Tony (nobody cares about boxing) Luis. I think the marketing director’s wife is on the dole with Agape? Nice to be treated to the mayor’s welfare. How long till that soccer girl gets a plum? Screw Aultsville Hall and the crap they put out as entertainment. Long live the Port! Son.

  3. WOW!

    Your note ‘almost’ sounds jealous of so many ‘others’ getting some where via networks via being in association with but not necessarily up to snuff with their stuff. WOW!

    That and other comments be as they may. I well realize we are hanging on with threads to this last vestige of old times. The last time I was in the old Port, or even had any, spidies were climbing up the walls and great ‘chunks’ of ceiling were cordoned off for fear of crashing down on the clients.

    It is hard to ‘let go and let God’ for people as well as for our ;things’ isn’t it. Just the same this ‘corner’ sitated on Montreal Road undoubtedly has a much higher purpose in its future than a run down old theatre, just as the driving movies, old Palace and Paramount, 45, 33, 78 speed records, 8-track tape decks and now facing ‘extinction our revered ‘CD’s’ have and met the way of the doe doe bird.

  4. Travel the world and you will understand how architecture tells a story of preceding generations of life in a different time of where we have been and where we are now. In London Ontario the old Armories downtown was incorporated into the new hotel built on that site years ago thereby preserving a part of the history of that downtown area. The same could have been accomplished with the former structure that was on the new provincial court site but alas no vision. Strange how we can all read about history but few seem to learn by it. I applaud any attempt to preserve the past when warranted. Central Public reconstruction and preservation is a credit to the concept. A higher purpose for the land does not mean that all evidence of the Port has to be erased if its continued existence comes into question.

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