Although small in population (approximately 4,000), we have Fort Wellington National Historic Site, the Sandra S. Lawn Harbour and Marina, the Kinsmen Amphitheatre, the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, a Canadian Coast Guard Base (home of the CCGS Griffon), the Leo Boivin Community Centre and so much more. There are great athletes, musicians, actors and artists, as well as entrepreneurs, shops and businesses.
Situated along the shores of the majestic St. Lawrence River, Prescott was established after King George III awarded Maj. Edward Jessup with 1,200 acres for his loyalty to the Crown during the American War of Independence. Jessup converted a portion of his farm into a town site in 1810, naming the town after Gen. Robert Prescott, governor of Canada from 1796 to 1799.
Prescott was a strategic site on the St. Lawrence River. It stood at the head of the series of rapids between it and Montreal, and all boats and ships between Montreal and York (later named Toronto) had to transfer goods and people at Prescott between smaller and larger vessels. When war broke out in 1812 between America and Britain, the British built Fort Wellington to safeguard the border, maintain the flow of traffic and accommodate British soldiers
Prescott grew quickly because of its location and the availability of land for sale to settlers, largely from the British Isles and the United States, who began arriving immediately after the war, in 1816. By 1834, the population had grown to around 1,700, boasting a large number of handsome stone residences and commercial establishments. During the late 1800s, Prescott and neighbouring townships even had a plentiful supply of breweries and distilleries, until Prohibition closed them down in 1916.
Prescott’s Fort Wellington Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion began in 1920 as Branch 97 of the Great War Veterans Association, when 12 World War I warriors banded together. The name was later changed to the British Empire Service League; the group received its charter on May 2, 1927, as the Royal Canadian Legion. Initially, the club rooms were upstairs, above a commercial establishment. Now, Branch 97 is located in Prescott’s former town hall (built in 1851) and first high school. The building survived a fire in 1964 and has been rebuilt and expanded over the years.