Firefighter memorial moved to new home at medical clinic

A memorial to local firefighters here was rededicated in a new location on May 15.

In May of 1984, as part of the Ontario bicentennial celebration, Riverside Park 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 the late Dr. Ian Grafton and a grant was secured from the Canada-Ontario Employment Development Program, co-ordinated by Frank Hoffele.

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.”

Over the years the park deteriorated due to lack of use, largely due to lack of accessibility, as the only access was through the fire hall lot or the Leslie Motors’ lot.

Councillor Jean Anderson, whose father (Grafton) played a large role in establishing the cairn, joined Minto Fire Chief Chris Harrow in looking at various sites around the community. They settled on the Harriston Lions Medical Clinic, another local facility which Dr. Grafton played a role in establishing.

A plaque explaining the history of the cairn and its previous location was installed with the cairn at Sunday’s ceremony. Members of the Grafton family volunteered to design the area around the cairn and assisted with the planting of new flower beds.

Anderson said her father would have been pleased the cairn will continue to serve as a memorial to local firefighters.

“I think it’s important to recognize the work that they do and their importance to the community,” she said at the May 17 Minto council meeting.