Council approves move of memorial from Riverside Park to medical centre

A memorial to local firefighters here will be relocated and rededicated next spring.

In May of 1984, as part of the Ontario bicentennial celebration, Riverside Park located behind the fire hall in Harriston was dedicated to the Harriston firefighters by a local committee consisting of the Harriston Lions Club, the Harriston and District Horticultural Society and the Harriston Fire Department.

The park was designed by Dr. Ian Grafton and a grant was secured from the Canada-Ontario Employment Development Program co-ordinated by Frank Hoffele.

“Unfortunately, over the years the park has deteriorated due to lack of use and the inability to access the park easily,” explained Minto Fire Chief Chris Harrow at the Nov. 3 council meeting.

“The only access to the park is through the fire hall lot or the Leslie Motors’ lot. Due to the lack of lighting, and many other safety issues, including the fast flowing water through the park, both of these access points are not a viable option,” Harrow added.

The park dedication on May 19, 1984 included a Cairn bearing the inscription, “This Cairn was erected as a memorial to the Harriston-Minto volunteer firemen by the citizens of the community.”

Councillor Jean Anderson, whose father (Dr. Grafton) played a large role in establishing the cairn, joined Harrow in looking at various sites around the community.

“The site that has been decided on as the most suitable for the relocation would be at the Harriston Lions Medical Clinic. To the left of the entrance way is a large flower bed. This area is a highly visible area for people entering and exiting the clinic. It would also enhance and make the front entrance more appealing,” stated Harrow in his report, which points out the relocation is supported by Harriston Station firefighters.

“The location also coincides with the work Dr. Grafton did on the Lions Medical Centre,” stated Harrow.

A plaque will be installed with the cairn explaining the history and its previous location. As well, Harrow noted, the Grafton family has volunteered to design the area around the cairn and assist with the planting of new flower beds in the area.

Harrow said a rededication ceremony will be held sometime in 2016 once the work is complete.

“I think it’s important to move it to a more visible location where people can actually see it and we recognize individuals that had a part in the original bicentennial park down there,” Harrow told council members, who unanimously approved his recommendations.