cancerCORNWALL Ontario – That pretty picture above is actually a slide of cancer cells.   For nearly three years CFN has been trying to glean information about Cancer rates in Cornwall Ontario to only be met with roadblocks and a total lack of disclosure and information by the very agencies that deal in health and cancer.

One person who spoke off the record said that Cornwall was at one point the 3rd most polluted city in Canada.

domtar 1983

(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.

big ben no membrane

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.

big ben from the sky jan 22 2015

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




  1. Hugger I volunteered (candystriper – teenage volunteer) in my young days for five whole years and at both the Cornwall General and the Hotel Dieu which are not Cornwall Community Hospital. While at the Hotel Dieu on McConnell Street I worked on a floor and there were many cancer patients and so many died and I thought back then that I was a jinx. Cornwall is well known as one of the cancer capitals. The water is so mighty polluted that nothing will clean it up especially with the gas of boats, that salt substance that the federal government has stored in the tanks on the river, the pollution after hundreds of years from the factories, garbage thrown in the river and I can go on and on. Even with fluoride in the water it is still very bad to use. Even the water sold in the stores is not dependable since you don’t know where it was taken from or who bottled it. Oh yes all plastics are dangerous to use and yes I sure do use plastics but there is a name bisfil – something a chemical in the plastics that causes cancer. My mom had cancer and fought it for 30 years and died at age of 81 of cancer, diabetes and alzheimers diseases. Not everyone is that lucky to fight that for so long a time. Cancer is a world wide disease and the food that we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe contribute to very bad health.

  2. Yes, cancer is bad. But Cornwall has changed in the last few years. No longer do we have Domtar and Courtaluds polluting our air and / or rivers. Some will say Cornwall has changed for the better, some will say Cornwall has gotten worse. Who really knows. As I pointed out previously Cornwall is no longer the cancer capital of Canada. But with all the studies and different ways of gathering info who really knows what municipality is the cancer capital. As for water sold in bottles in Ontario you have to list the chemicals in tye water as where it was bottled from. There are so many things that cause cancer.

  3. The plastic bottles contain a carcinogen called “bisfenal A” I was trying to remember the name of it. Cornwall’s air doesn’t smell like Domtar anymore but the damage has already been done and the chemicals will remain in the air for hundreds if not thousands of years to come even though we don’t smell it. The thing that we smell going to Cornwall is the dump and I have always said that garbage needs to be incinerated and turned into hydro electricity. Hugger you should google up about the garbage problem in Beirut Lebanon and there is no place to put the garbage and that means rats and the beubonic plague that is yet to come. All garbage everywhere should be incinerated. In Seattle Washington US they incinerate their garbage into electricity. In Sweden all garbage is incinerated into electricity as well as the crap that is leftover from nuclear plants. Something is mighty wrong when nothing is done about this problem. Another huge problem in Cornwall is that dump they call Big Ben all of the cancerous chemicals in that soil and the stupid sheeple go and ski on that mound of carcenogens. Just what kind of intelligence do people have – no education and no brains to use what the consequences will be. My dad had cancer as well and lived till age 80 and he was lucky to live that long. I have two brothers in law who died as well of cancer.

    Sudbury Ontario is well known for carcenogens as well as towns in the Sault Ste Marie area and I heard that even in Newfoundland they have a big problem for cancers. From what I am thinkiing about anything between pulp and paper and the mining industry to the gas and oil industry are causing huge problems in health. Cornwall is one at the top of the list. As Brett said about his analysis of Cornwall from the days when he lived there about Cornwall and Perth having high rates of incest I sure do believe that 100%. When I was a child growing up in Cornwall that is all I used to hear was about child incest and I have seen it with my own eyes and ears to see young men scream their heads off in the Catholic church where I used to go and we had to attend every first Friday of the month with the school and I saw the reactions on these kids in my class and other classes – we were all together. Cornwall is not a good place nor a healthy place to live.

  4. I can’t say that I disagree with you Jules. But every city has its problems.

  5. “Chain smoking, hard drinking, near illiterates traded the health of their community for good paying jobs at pulp plants like Domtar” is repulsive in the extreme to me.

  6. Isaac Hunt you are right. I have seen men who worked at Domtar and Courthaulds while walking in Lamoureux Park over twelve years ago and they were literally finished health wise. Many were using oxygen tanks and were telling us that the money wasn’t worth it since they developed cancer. Money isn’t everything – your health is the most important and you can’t buy that back for any amount.

  7. Don’t lump all together because of a few.

  8. as a kid / teenager growing up in cornwall , on hot days with high humidity i would be biking up the hill on 2nd street west headed west towards the power dam and there would be like an almost mist / light rain which would actualy burn my skin on some days

  9. I have counted at least 5 kids so far in Cornwall lately suffering from cancers and this is terrible. These kids didn’t have a chance in life and already aflicted. Yes Cornwall is full of cancer even among those who worked in the mills. A little boy died of brain cancer and now other kids aflicted with leukemia and other cancers and this is rediculous.

  10. Jamie Dr. Jules here. That cursed mountain of dirt and chemicals that you folks call Big Ben is a curse and you are all breathing that garbage of chemicals in and it causes cancers and leaching into the river. All those industries have polluted the land and homes literally and this is the truth. As long as people just sit around doing nothing then nothing gets done.

  11. What in heavens name are you folks afraid of? Do you think that Lez or BOB are going to eat you if you speak up for your rights? As long as you sit on your keesters and don’t take action and speak up at meetings, etc. these people will continue to walk all over you. You deserve what you get as leadership and they are mighty poor as leaders. They know how to manipulate all of you.

  12. When I worked at Hotel Dieu Hospital in Cornwall for 7 years I observed that EVERY aboriginal I tested had Bundle Branch Blocks in the electrical conduction systems of their hearts.

    This condition was probably caused by all the heavy metals they consume in fish.

    Cornwall has always been a known “Brown Zone” = worst poluted.

    Only lived there a few years, I hope that wasn’t too many.

  13. I agree Big Ben is a big problem. But if the city isn’t willing to pursue actions what can be done? Previously I sent emails to a few councilors and the replies I received were less than filled with info on what the city planned to do.

  14. Alison Duncan you brought out something very important. When people eat the fish in Cornwall’s water they do get sick with cancers, etc. The same is true in Japan because of Fukushima and even before Fukushima. I know the truth about what happened in Japan and won’t speak here but many people are going to die and this is the truth and not just the Japanese.

  15. Hugger I think that the town of Cornwall might have been paid a generous offer by Domtar or maybe a previous mayor feathering his pocket or someone in administration. Nobody on earth would accept what Cornwall was handed at all. I think that the sheeple of Cornwall have breathed in too many poisons to stand up for themselves. Something is mighty wrong down in that town.

  16. I remember a beautiful morning walking at Lamoureux Park and two Cornwall nurses talking about Cornwall having the highest rates of cancer and we spoke to them. Cornwall is one of the worst places to be for cancer rates. Another place besides Shawville Québec is the area of the Great Lakes.

  17. I remember when I brought my daughter to the Civic Hospital’s cancer unit because it is there that she went for tests for her thyroid and they gave her a nuclear laced iodine pill that took too much off her thyroid and she went from hyperthyroid to hypothyroid. The patient near us was from outside Ottawa and had cancer in his legs and he worked in a paper mill outside of Ottawa.

  18. I used to see adults in Cornwall afflicted with cancer when I was a candystriper back in the 60’s era. I never saw children aflicted with this disease until lately. Something is dreadfully wrong in Cornwall – soil and air are mighty polluted even after some years that Domtar, Courthaulds, etc. have been shut down. The river is completely polluted and stinks along with Big Ben – the cancer dump.

  19. Do you all know that just outside of Sarnia and Sarnia itself was a dumping ground for a small place outside of NYC (the town was well known and now uninhabitable) where the soil which is heavily contaminated was dumped. Oh yes all this is well known but the sheeple of Cornwall do not read like I do. It was a well known town full of cancer and now uninhabited. Three Mile Island.

  20. The area in NY was Love Canal. And yes the people in Cornwall are uneducated. Seriously?? Thsee repeated attacks on Cornwall are getting boring. Turn the page.

  21. Yes Cornhole is at the top or near top as the cancer capital and Jamie there is something that I want to bring up to you about the water system. There is lead in pipes besides all kinds of other harmful chemicals other than fluoride and believe me I have plenty of suspicions about the water table everywhere. I wish there were more lines to explain myself more. I am not feeling well today.

  22. Author

    Jules every community has pipe issues of some sort. Take care and get some rest.

  23. Jamie pipes are being replaced everywhere and there are many chemicals in the water system that are extremely dangerous. Fluoride is one but minor compared to some. I am going to turn in for a rest which I did yesterday. The weather is changing and I get sick every year at this time. I am going to lay down in a few minutes.

  24. Optomist Park on St. Michel Street is a former Cornhole dump. I remember seeing the fire on that dump way back in 1959 or was it the early 60’s – one of those years. You have kids and adults playing there and it is full of cancerous materials. No wonder Cornhole has always stunk not to mention Big Ben cancer dump as well that leaches into the river.

  25. Cleaning up those cancer dumps would cost a king’s ransom. I told all of you before that our deceased friend Robert’s BIL owns a property that is a gas station and wanted to sell it but the only way that he could sell is to clean up the place and he won’t touch it and cannot be sold.

  26. What I am getting at are all the places where people play baseball and other activities and are on mighty contaminated land. Not only that but those in charge of condos wanted to build a condo right near that dump and maybe even use that baseball area as well. You all don’t know the cost of cleaning before building. OMG you have no idea and people are getting very sick.

  27. Thank you…i was considering to move there…

  28. Mia there are better places to live than Cornwall and you have to look up everywhere. Cornwall has a dump in the middle of town where people call it Big Ben and ski on top of that polluted chemical dump that Courthauds and other mills left behind and money exchanged hands. Plenty of cancers in Cornwall. I would never ever live there ever again.

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