Saturday, August 30, 2014

Owen Sound, Ontario: Black History Cairn

Those looking for a lesson in history probably would be surprised to find one in Owen Sound, Ontario. After all, it's not exactly in the middle of Dixie.

Yet there the tribute stands in Harrison Park, well north of the U.S.-Canada border.

The reason is that famous Underground Railroad, which in a sense transported blacks from the South to freedom in Canada, ended for some here. Many stayed here, and became part of the community.

Stealing from the town web site - according to Webster's 1913 Dictionary, a cairn is "a rounded or conical heap of stones erected by early inhabitants of the British Isles, apparently as a sepulchral monument." In this case, the cairn is a memorial to Owen Sound's black settlers. Symbols were used on quilts as something of guideposts for the journey, and they are also represented.

This is all unexpected and quite touching. Nicely done, Owen Sound.

By the way, Harrison Park is a very nice, expansive park along the river. It has the usual facilities you'd expect, plus miniature golf, boat rentals and a nice restaurant. It hosts skating, tobogganing and cross-country skiing in the winter. 

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