At the February 21st South Dundas council meeting, Economic Development Officer Nicole Sullivan supported Bill Shearing’s efforts to erect four signs honouring specific events connected to the War of 1812.
Sullivan asked council to “approve an application to the Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP) for funding to support” the initiative. They unanimously agreed to the request.
Former honourary Colonel of the SD&G Highlanders, Shearing pointed out, during a plea to council at their December 20, 2011 meeting, that “our township has an important military history that is largely forgotten.”
At the time, council applauded the idea of heritage signs commemorating the War of 1812, but were resistant to the project’s potential cost.
Since then, Shearing has been able to raise over $2,000 to make the signs a reality. Both the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders Regimental Foundation and the Friends of Crysler’s Farm Battlefield have promised a donation of $1,000 each.
In addition to this, Shearing is pursuing other benefactors, like the Morrisburg and Iroquois Branches of the Royal Canadian Legion.
“If EODP funding for the project is approved, it would offset any costs associated with the project,” said Sullivan.
Furthermore, she added, “the signs installed would be township property. Barring any accidents or vandalism, the signs will last approximately 10 years after which Council can evaluate the merits of having them replaced.”
The total project cost is estimated at $6,200.
Mayor Steven Byvelds said, “I’m glad to see that we’ve found a source.”
According to Sullivan’s report, “the signs themselves will be painted metal with 3M reflective lettering meeting Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) specifications. Sign faces will be a MTO standard size” of three by four inches.
“I like the proposed size of the signs and the proposed materials,” said Deputy-Mayor Jim Locke.
Events commemorated by the signs include: the first engagement along the front of Toussaint’s Island; the landing of the Americans and their occupation of the front of Matilda; the burning of Nash Creek Bridge; and, the Battlefield encompassing the Nine Mile Road to Fetterly’s Farm.
Shearing informed council that South Stormont has already agreed to erect commemorative signs for the War of 1812 and South Glengarry is considering doing the same.
Sullivan pointed out, in her report, that with the erection of signs in South Dundas, it will “provide continuity across the three areas and further promote our common history with which the region appeals to visitors.”
She reported that the initiative has “potential benefits” for South Dundas as it “will bring to life the early history of Dundas County to support tourism marketing and development.”
Shearing told council that he hopes, if signs are complete in time, to have a ceremony and reception on July 11th in Iroquois. He chose this date as it is “the 200th anniversary of the mobilization of the Dundas Militia.”
With support from the community and from South Dundas council, Shearing seems to be well on his way to making this dream a reality.