Prior to the formation of Ontario’s college system in 1967, some trade schools existed in the province. Many of those schools were established in the post-war years primarily to help veterans reintegrate into civilian life. By the late 1950s, tech wings were added to Ontario high schools to assist young people. A decade later, Premier William Davis—now regarded as the “father of the Ontario College System”—responded to an increasing need for technical education by creating colleges of applied arts and technology to train individuals for jobs.
Originally, Brockville was suggested for the main campus of a proposed St. Lawrence College, but after much debate, during often “standing room only” meetings held at Brockville Town Hall, it was decided the local population wasn’t large enough to support one campus. Cornwall and Kingston were chosen to serve six counties in the Eastern Ontario region: Frontenac, Leeds, Grenville, Dundas, Stormont and Glengary.
In Kingston, the 59-acre former Ontario Psychiatric Hospital farmland at King St. and Portsmouth Ave. was acquired from the government—for one dollar. By September 1969, students were attending classes at the Kingston campus’ first permanent quarters: a white, steel “temporary building” (now the Leeds Building), built the previous year, comprised of a gymnasium, cafeteria, an administrative office and student lounges. During the construction of Dundas and Stormont Halls, named after the counties served, students carrying books walked side by side with workers bearing lumber, ceiling tiles, paint cans and electrical tools. Full time courses were offered such as Business Administration, General Business, Home Economics, Early Childhood Education, Engineering Technology, and Electronics Technician.
In 1968, Cornwall Classical College, a private Catholic school, was purchased and later renamed Moulinette Hall. In 1970, a new building, Wales Hall, was built by the Federal Government for the retraining programs. In 1976, Aultsville Hall was constructed as the hub with a library, cafeteria, theatre and student services.
In 1970, Brockville was finally recognized as the third campus, acquiring Ontario Hospital farmland on the hill of Parkedale Avenue—also for the sum of one dollar. Building began soon after.
By its tenth year, St. Lawrence College was a strong and creative force, serving its communities and training graduates for their futures.
Today, after almost 40 years in existence, the college continues to evolve to meet the needs of students seeking the skills that will lead to a better quality of life.
With modern, expansive facilities in three vibrant eastern Ontario cities and a solid track record of excellence, St. Lawrence College still combines all the benefits of a world-class education with the advantages of small-town living and personal attention to detail.