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This petition is to stop the repeal of By-Law No. 3418 which designates the Raisin River Heritage Centre of historical value. 

The repeal paves the way for demolishing this facility by the Township of South Stormont. Any objections must be received on or before February 19, 2021. We must protect this historical treasure. It’s time to reinvent this facility, building on its educational past to drive its future.


The Raisin River Heritage Centre, located in the historic village of St. Andrews West, is steeped in history. Its origin dates back to the opening of the first convent in 1848, operated by the Grey Nuns as a school with 25 students.  Parishioners supplied wood, turkeys, geese, eggs and apples. After 3 years, the nuns were recalled to Ottawa and the convent closed.

It lay dormant until 1883 when the Sisters of Notre Dame arrived from Montreal to find a dilapidated building amidst a field of long weeds and bushes. With community help, the nuns whipped the convent into shape, opening a Boarding and Day School for girls. Lay teachers taught the boys in a nearby building. The Sisters purchased a piano and organ to enable the musical talents of their students.

The present building, replacing the old convent,  opened in 1909. The Sisters of St. Joseph took over in 1918. Both girls and boys attended as day students; only girls boarded. The students came from Cornwall and the surrounding area as well as Montreal, Massena, Ottawa and St. Regis regardless of religion or heritage. The convent closed in 1976 but preserved for posterity through the efforts of the Cornwall Township Historical Society. Saved from demolition, the convent was declared a Heritage Building in 1978 and renamed, ‘The Raisin River Heritage Centre.’

Today, the convent honours the many people who taught and studied within its walls, becoming successful citizens. It’s a critical piece of our collective history. With tenacity and innovation, we have the opportunity transform this facility into an applied learning centre for the community.


We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens. We call on the leaders of South Stormont to stop the repeal of By-Law No. 3418. This is required to stop the path towards demolition for the Raisin River Heritage Centre. 

The Township and Stormont County does not have an applied learning centre where children, adolescents and adults of all ages can experience farm to table food preparation, preservation and associated skills alongside events with artisans, artists and authors – a go to destination for Canadians.  Such a centre could build partnerships with local businesses, educational institutions, and historical sites. 


We urge these leaders to act now to stop another ‘Purge of Our Past’.