St Catharines residents overwhelmingly support renaming Centennial Park after Richard Pierpoint

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Published August 18, 2021 at 3:58 pm

richard_pierpoint

When St Catharines opened up the renaming of Centennial Park to the public, Council made it clear that they were hoping to honour War of 1812 black soldier Richard Pierpoint.

However, they threw it open to residents to come up with alternate name suggestions.

In the end, the public whole-heartedly agreed with the city.

“City staff have reviewed the hundreds of name submissions for Centennial Gardens,” the city said on social media, “including overwhelming support for the name Richard Pierpoint Park.”

However, the residents did offer up alternatives though the great majority were simply variations of Pierpoint’s name, 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 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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