The original farm was homesteaded in 1897 by William Pope, grandfather of Gordon Cornell. As Gordon tells the story:
"Grandfather Pope came to Canada at the age of 18 and spent a few years working on farms in Southern Ontario. He then went to Kenora via CP Rail and again worked on a boat going down Lake of the Woods and up Rainy River to Big Fork. Here he 'jumped ship' before Fort Frances. He walked for miles looking for rolling land that looked like Scotland. He found what he was looking for a mile north of LaVallee. It was then that he began homesteading the NE 1/4, Section 27, LaVallee Township."
William married a local girl, Celia Smith in 1900. Together, they farmed for about 51 years until 1948 when they retired and sold the farm out of the family. In 1956, Gordon Cornell purchased the farm back into the family.
Kim and Pat live on the original homestead while Gordon and Jeannine live just one mile over. The farm now owns three other adjacent quarters and rents considerably more land. In 2008, Cornell Farms won the Premier’s Agri-Food Innovation Excellence Award.
Cornell Farms continues to grow and develop as each generation becomes more involved in the farm operation. Although the next generation work off the farm, they are actively involved in decision-making on the farm.
Rebecca is a large animal veterinarian while Kelsey has two science degrees, including one in human nutrition. She is also a Master Brewer. Garnet has an earth surface science degree specializing in soils and water, while Michelle has a business degree and is a skilled social media communicator.
Kim is an early graduate of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program and has served on a variety of provincial and national organizations. Pat has a degree in applied science and has worked as a certified home economist and community developer.
Northern Ontario Business News has published an excellent article about the Cornell Family.