The History of the Chamber

Over 120 years ago, a group of prominent Cornwall businessmen came together and formed an organization committed to the business affairs of the professional community.

One of Ontario’s oldest business organizations, the Cornwall Chamber’s roots can be found in the late 19th century. The City of Cornwall was then, an important centre of commerce, strategically located on the mighty St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Toronto. It was a centre of activity along a bustling waterfront as ships loaded with goods plied the waterway and businesses flourished in the city.

Predictably in this burgeoning commercial centre, the need for a business organization recognized by the merchants of the day and in 1890, the Cornwall Board of Trade was established. Dry goods merchant and prominent businessman, John McIntyre, was named its first President. Today, that organization is known as the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce.

2015 marks the 125th anniversary for the Chamber and today, it continues to be the voice for industry and commerce across the Cornwall region. It is an advocate on matters of concern such as taxation, local purchasing policies and economic renewal. It is an agent that provides venues for area firms to showcase goods and services to a broad spectrum of consumers. It is dedicated to its fundamental purpose: to promote the economic growth and prosperity of the City of Cornwall.

Close to 700 businesses and individuals make up the Chamber’s growing membership and in a City of less than 50,000 it is an enviable number. In response to this growing membership, the Chamber maintains a focus on activities and programs that support members. It presents a broad range of professional development seminars along with key networking events.

Of note is Cornwall’s Heart of the City initiative. Created by the Chamber, today’s Heart of the City program has seen well over $20 million invested in the City’s urban core.

As it moves forward in the 21st century, the Cornwall Chamber will continue its commitment to the business community and the community at large. It is a commitment that has firmly established it as the region’s principal voice for business.