Johnstown, Ontario

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For the Johnstown in Hastings County, see Quinte West.
Johnstown with the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge in the background.

Johnstown is a community in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, in eastern Ontario, Canada, part of the township of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal. It is located at the Canadian terminus of the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge and at the southern terminus of Highway 416 and Highway 16.


In 1673, the French settlers, along with the allied Natives, built a storehouse in modern day Johnstown. It was situated on the shores of Old Breeches River, now called Johnstown Creek. The storehouse was used to hold supplies headed upriver to fur trading posts such as Fort Frontenac (Now, Kingston). It was in use until 1758.[1]

Fort de Lévis was a French fort which was located on Chimney Island (Formally known as Isle Royale), in the St. Lawrence River just off of the shores of Johnstown. It was built in 1760 in preparation for a British attack, as an attempt to block their advance down river. The original design, created by François de Gaston, Chevalier de Lévis intended for the fort to be built with stone walls, have 200 guns, and house 2,500 troops.[2] In contrast, the fort was small and made of wood, with five cannons and about 200 soldiers. In the same year it was built, the fort was captured by the British in the Battle of the Thousand Islands.

In 1789, the town site was surveyed, and laid out with a plot of 1 square mile (2.6 km2). The lots were colonized by settlers from Scotland and Ireland, and by many Loyalists, including Sir John Johnson. A sawmill and gristmill were constructed. In 1793, Johnstown was made the administrative seat of the Eastern District, leading to the construction of a courthouse and gaol. The court of quarter sessions (the district's government) alternated it meeting location between Johnstown and Cornwall.[3]

Between 1792 and 1795, John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, resided in Johnstown. In 1808, the courts were moved to Elizabethtown (now known as Brockville). No longer district seat and having a shallow harbour, Johnstown failed to develop further.[3]

Modern Day[edit]

In 2006, it was announced that Canadian ethanol producer GreenField Ethanol had plans to build a new high capacity ethanol production plant in Johnstown's industrial park. Construction commenced in 2007, and operations at the plant began in December 2008. By early 2009, the plant had reached full production levels. The plant can produce 200 million litres of ethanol per year, making it the largest ethanol plant operated by GreenField.[4]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Battle of the Thousand Islands
  3. ^ a b Archaeological and Historic Sites Board
  4. ^

Coordinates: 44°44′50″N 75°28′00″W / 44.74722°N 75.46667°W / 44.74722; -75.46667