History InSite: Main Street at Ann Street, 6032-N

Commemoration of Decoration Day underway at the Port Dalhousie Cenotaph. June 2, 1939. STCM 6032-N

The cenotaph was erected in 1924 to commemorate soldiers from Port Dalhousie lost in the Great War. A memorial committee was formed in 1918 to fundraise and organize the construction of the monument, which was paid for almost entirely by the fundraising campaign.

At the unveiling on November 23, 1924, Lieutenant-Governor Col. Henry Cockshutt said in his address, “for the sake of those who died let us resolve to do our best for the country and for the people. Our hearts are sad when we think of those who fell overseas in the cause of liberty, which is so dear to all.”

Decoration Day, 1939

Col. H.M. Campbell reads the Honour Roll at the 1939 Decoration Day Service in Port Dalhousie.

Begun in the late-nineteenth century, Decoration Day recognizes the service and sacrifices of members of the Armed Forces. Uniquely Canadian, veterans of the Fenian Raids held the first Decoration Day in 1890 to draw attention to their long-forgotten service. Decoration Day is still celebrated in Canada on June 2, though Remembrance Day on November 11 has become the main day for formal and large public ceremonies of remembrance.

In 1939, an enormous crowd gathered in Port Dalhousie to celebrate Decoration Day. The report from the St. Catharines Standard reads:

“A large crowd yesterday watched the fine parade and attended the annual Decoration Day Service at the Cenotaph at Port Dalhousie. Citizens then walked to the cemeteries to plant flowers on the graves of their departed relatives and friends. […] At top left Col. H.M. Campbell is seen reading the Roll of Honour of the Port Dalhousie men who laid down their lives in the Great War.”

There’s More to the Story

Check out the entire History InSite installation across downtown St. Catharines and in Port Dalhousie.

About History InSite

A permanent, site specific installation, History InSite juxtaposes historical photographs with modern streetscapes by presenting the photo in, or close to, the place which it was taken.

St. Catharines has a rich photographic history and when compared to the changing streetscapes around the City, that history becomes much more meaningful, poignant, and relevant to our modern eyes.

The Downtown series was installed in July 2021. The Port Dalhousie series was installed in May 2022.

History InSite is presented by the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre.

Graffiti Report

If you spot any graffiti on our purple History InSite signs, please send us a message and photo via email museum@stcatharines.ca.