Ask Alicia – Why Is That Flag There?

Dear Alicia,

Why is there a flag pole on the small grassy area across from the old Delta Bingo on Queenston Street?

Mauro


 

Dear Mauro,

Interesting question! It’s amazing how these small places get passed by so often without a second thought. I must admit, I had never really noticed the small piece of land where this flag pole sits.

veterans park-google streetview
Photo Attribution: Google Street View 2016/3/9

This question was a tricky one. After some searching I discovered that St. Paul’s Ward School was once located on the land where the old Delta Bingo building sits.  I first thought that the flag pole may have been there since the school was there, as most schools have a flag pole at the front of their building.  However, I could find no evidence of that and we have very little information on the school.

7137-N
Photo Attribution: STCM, N7137

The property was more commonly remembered for having been a grocery store.  I then found out that there used to be a horse trough on this small piece of land and the flag pole and the horse trough were all that sat on this little grassy area.  I had yet to find evidence of any of it, which is why I waited to consult two local historians Denis Gannon and Alex Ormston.

 

According to Denis and Alex I am correct that there was a horse trough there. The trough

S1937-13-7-1
Photo Attribution: St. Catharines Standard, STCM, S1937.13.7.1. Tallman Imperial Gas Station

was originally on the land near where the Burgoyne Bridge now sits. When they began construction on the bridge the trough was moved to the location in question.  According to an 1852 map, the property was originally owned by James Rea Benson.  At some point it was owned by a man named Gibson who ran a blacksmith shop.  It was later a gas station.

Alex then mentioned that he believed the land had been purchased by the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire along with two other small pieces of land.  The I.O.D.E. had apparently wanted to have a few sites to offer the city as locations for the War Memorial, none of which the city chose.

The final fate for this tiny piece of St. Catharines was to be a parkette called “Veterans Park”.  Who knew?!?!   The horse trough was eventually removed as it was looking worse for wear, but the flag pole still stands. A few trees have since been planted, as shown in the above Google image.

Thanks for your question Mauro.

Do you have a question about a person, place or thing in St. Catharines? If so, Ask Alicia. afloyd@stcatharines.ca

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