St Catharines renames park after legendary black War of 1812 soldier

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Published September 30, 2021 at 1:36 pm

It’s official. St Catharines will now be renaming Centennial Park after legendary War of 1812 black soldier Richard Pierpoint.

Back in August, the city said that they had “reviewed the hundreds of name submissions for Centennial Gardens, including overwhelming support for the name Richard Pierpoint Park.”

Earlier this week, council passed the motion.

Even most of the variations for the park were all aimed at the soldier, such as Pierpoint Park, Captain Pierpoint Park and Richard Pierpoint Memorial Gardens.

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 distinguished history in the area is considered to be the key reason the City was 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 (see below) and accomplishments in Centennial Park.

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