Know Your Neighbours – Sydney George Chambers

S1947-65-28-3_attribSydney George Chambers, a man from Toronto who had only been living and working in St. Catharines for 7 months before being charged with murder, was the only person ever executed in St. Catharines. Chambers had lived in Toronto with his wife and daughter until he left them and moved to St. Catharines where he found work at Canadian Canners as a plant watchman and stationary engineer. Chambers was convicted for murdering 9 year old Marian Rusnak who had disappeared from just outside of her home and was never seen again. During the search for Marion, Chambers had led police through the Canadian Canners building, searching for clues. He was soon after arrested and charged with attempted suicide. He then confessed to abducting Rusnak, smothering her and burning her body in a furnace at the cannery where he was boarding as well as working. Chambers retracted his statement and always maintained his innocence. Chambers was found guilty and sentenced to death. At the time, there was nothing in place at the Lincoln jail to carry out executions. A scaffold was built inside the jail and Chambers was executed on December 16th, 1947 at 12:12a.m. No one visited him in jail or claimed his body so he was buried in the jail yard. When the jail was torn down in 1973, his body was exhumed and he was reburied in Victoria Lawn Cemetery.


The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre, located next to Lock 3 of the historic Welland Canal, is a leading local history museum and community gathering place, engaging visitors and building relationships with partners, while demonstrating curatorial leadership and innovative programming and exhibits. The St. Catharines Museum is dedicated to engaging visitors in the celebration of our local stories and the cultural identity and history of the City. We are a community resource that interprets, exhibits, researches, acquires, and preserves material culture and stories of St. Catharines.

One comment

  1. No doubt he was beaten until he did confess. After all his supposed attempted suicide made him Guilty.

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