One person who spoke off the record said that Cornwall was at one point the 3rd most polluted city in Canada.
(post card of Cornwall )
Chain smoking, hard drinking, near illiterates traded the health of their community for good paying jobs at pulp plants like Domtar. One person told me that when he moved to Cornwall the rain sometimes had an odd texture to it and that the snow when it fell sometimes wasn’t white. It was that bad.
The political power that came with that money also allowed things like a toxic dump to be created in the center of Cornwall, right near the St. Lawrence river without any membrane. That dump is still active and oddly enough also used as a ski hill in the Winter.
This is a screen shot of some of the left overs from the deconstruction of our bridge that is currently being dumped at Big Ben taken this Winter.
Over the decades it’s been alleged that soil from the Legion ball parks (contaminated) was dumped without permit. Frankly there probably isn’t a single soul that truly knows what’s buried deep within Big Ben.
What this writer knows is that I’ve never seen as much cancer as I have seen in Cornwall.
My neighbor has cancer. My dog has cancer. One of our writers has cancer, one former mayor recently died of a rare cancer and another is so sick from his cancer(s) that he can’t attend court. Our current mayor is rumored to have cancer as are at least one of our current councilors and at least one that just left.
Last week I read of a young woman, who died of cancer and was under 30. It’s scary. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t been touched by it somehow in this community.
Annecdotally I’ve heard that staffers at Cancer treatment centers in Ottawa talk about the high rate of Cornwallites treated there. Many of us die in Ottawa and our true rates are hidden by the Ottawa numbers.
One person said if all Cornwall residents were actually treated in Cornwall it would create a panic.
In fact in a CBC story it was said that Ottawa had one of the highest rates of Cancer. LINK But of course Cornwall is usually included in Ottawa stats from health to employment. LINK to Ottawa Cancer report.
If you try to google Cancer Map Canada or anything about the cities in Canada with the highest Cancer rates you’ll be stumped to get the answers you’re looking for.
Cornwall had many factors which have led to our native rates of Cancer. Of course the stew of toxic industrial pollution. We also were down river from Toronto and every city heading East before the advent of better water treatment and sewage.
We had a higher rate of smokers, drinkers, and other life style issues compared to places like British Columbia which has some of the lowest rates of Cancer in Canada.
Cornwall today has much less industry and much less air pollution. We also have a higher rate of seniors living here which can also skew numbers and rates.
Big Ben is a problem that should be looked at. It isn’t a Cornwall problem, but one that will need cooperation from Federal and Provincial governments. Instead of $50M inquiries to cover up officials who covered up for pedophiles and $35M white elephant ice rinks it may be time to invest in truly cleaning up our city?
Information about Cancer generally is broken down by type. Which Cancers are most prolific, most deadly, male/female rates, age etc. There’s very little geographical information out there.
This is the first of a series we’ll be doing on Cancer. If you want to tell your story or have any information to contribute please email firstname.lastname@example.org