Two thousand people from across eastern Ontario turned out for a job fair in Cornwall, where a distribution centre will soon hire 400 people.

The jobs are at Eleven Point Logistics, a distribution company for Target, an American company that's in the process of opening more than 100 department stores across Canada.

Line-up started at 7 am, doors opened at noon

People started arriving at the distribution centre at 7 am on Friday. By the time the doors opened at noon, the line-up stretched along two sides of the expansive parking lot.

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People started arriving at 7 am and by noon, when the doors opened, the lineup stretched along two sides of the massive parking lot. (CBC)

The newly built distribution centre is 1.4 million square feet, and will supply stores in eastern Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.

Distribution hub

Cornwall is quickly becoming a distribution hub, with a WalMart distribution centre just a block away and one for Shoppers Drug Mart having recently opened as well.

Bob Peters, the senior development officer for Cornwall, said there are two things that attract distribution centres to the city.

"One is our location along the 401 and quick access to markets both in eastern Ontario and western Quebec and in through to the Maritimes. And the other is the simple fact that we have a business park here that's fully serviced with hundreds of acres of available land," he said.

Jobs are a relief for the city

The new jobs are a welcome relief for a city that has struggled since the closure of Domtar seven years ago.  

Roger Dubeau is a 54-year-old Cornwall resident who was in the line-up on Friday. He said he's been struggling since his last employer shut its doors in the city. He is hoping to get into warehousing for a change.

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Alan LaBargeis, General Manager of the facility, said he thinks the benefits and the RSP contributions are what are drawing people to apply for the jobs. (CBC)

Alan Labarge is general manager of the facility and said he thinks the benefits and the RSP contributions are drawing people to apply for the jobs.

These new warehouse jobs will have a starting pay of $16 an hour, which is less than what workers at Domtar made, but employees also get benefits and long-term job stability.

The centre will open in June with 180 employees and it expects to hire a couple of hundred more by the fall.