St Catharines’ Centennial Gardens to be renamed Richard Pierpoint Park?

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Published July 5, 2021 at 3:34 pm

richard_pierpoint

While St Catharines City Council is leaning hard towards renaming Centennial Gardens after local War of 1812 black soldier Richard Pierpoint, they are still looking for public input for alternate name suggestions.

New park names from the public will be accepted by the City until Tuesday, June 14 at 4:30 pm.

The 27-acre park, initially named after the year of its creation, Canada’s Centennial in 1967, is best-known by residents for its 18-hole disc golf course, having a portion of the Merritt Trail run through it and its centre-piece, the Centennial Totem Pole, a gift to the city.

Pierpoint’s history in the area is considered to be the key reason the City is leaning towards his name for the park.

Bought to Canada as a 16-year-old slave from Senegal in 1760, Pierpoint was sold to a British soldier and later fought alongside British soldiers in the American Revolution.

Serving with the Butlers Rangers, the black troops were granted their freedom and settled in the Niagara area where they were granted land.

A portion of Pierpoint’s land was in the present Centennial Park property.

However, what Pierpoint is perhaps best-known for is fighting as a soldier in the Canadian militia during the War of 1812 while in his sixties.

He died in 1838 but in 1985, the City installed a plaque bearing his name and accomplishments in Centennial Park.

St Catharines Ward 2 councillor Lori Littleton, while strongly in favour of renaming the park after Pierpoint, also suggested paying homage to ‘Centennial’ by leaving the name of the park’s pavilion intact.

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