Due to its Loyalist beginnings, Cornwall could not at first boast of a substantial francophone community. The first official record of a francophone population dates to 1829, showing that 74 out of 812 Cornwallites were of French origin. Twenty years later, the census recorded that the number had jumped to 967.
The first important influx of francophones into Cornwall and the surrounding area took place between 1870 and 1890, due to the opening of textile and paper mills, and the overall industrialization of the City, with the subsequent availability of employment opportunities.
Since then, the francophone community has contributed towards giving the City of Cornwall its unique bilingual character.
The early nucleus of the francophone community was Nativity Roman Catholic Church, which was built during 1887-92 from plans drawn by parish priest, Father P. DeSaunhac.
Cornwall elected its first francophone mayor, Angus Lalonde, in 1904.