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Aug. 7, 2020 | Friday
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Town urged to preserve historic ordnance boundary stones
One of he ordnance boundary stones is located at the entrance to Simcoe Park. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

Some of the oldest historic artifacts in Niagara-on-the-Lake are being lost to heavy construction equipment and need to be preserved, a Niagara Historical Society official told councillors Monday night.

Ted Rumble, secretary of the Niagara Historical Society, asked the town to document, protect and celebrate the ordnance boundary stones, which were used to designate British military property.

Twenty-five of the 36 original stones are missing. Some of the 11 remaining stones in NOTL have sunk into the ground.

In 1796, John Graves Simcoe ordered four parcels of land in Newark (now NOTL) to be set aside for military use, Rumble said.

The stones have initials “B.O.” engraved on them with an arrow above on one side, and a number on the other side. The initials stand for the Board of Ordnance, founded in the 1600s under the reign of Charles II. The arrow was used to designate the property of the British government.

The British Army and the royal engineers placed the boundary stones around the perimeter. The four military reserves in town were called Garrison, Mississagua, Lots 79, 80, 89 and 90, and Vacant Town Lot A.

The Garrison reserve is known today as the Commons. The Mississagua reserve was located at what is now the NOTL Golf Club. Across from the golf course were the lots 79, 80, 89 and 90, which had four boundary stones. The Vacant Town Lot A, now known as Simcoe Park, also used to have four stones on its corners.

At Simcoe Park, one remaining stone is located near a bench at the park’s entrance.

“This stone is clearly vulnerable to damage from snow removal equipment because it’s completely unprotected,” Rumble said.

For another stone at the entrance at Queen’s Royal Park, it will only be a couple of years before it disappears, he said.

A stone at the corner of Johnson and Nassau streets has also been affected by heavy equipment being used in construction in that area.

Rumble asked council to recognize the historical value of the stones, repair and reposition them, and place a protective barrier around the stones to prevent further damage.

“It would be necessary for the town to work the Historical Society and Parks Canada since three of these stones are on Parks Canada land,” Rumble told councillors.

“It’s an amazing part of history that I certainly didn’t know about and I think we all take pride in,” said Coun. Gary Burroughs.

Lord Mayor Betty Disero said she will work with interim chief administrator Sheldon Randall and will let councillors know whether Rumble’s presentation should be referred to town’s municipal heritage committee or to a committee that’s already working on preserving Butler’s Burial Ground.