Memorial to Black Settlers, Harrison Park, Owen Sound

Owen Sound was the last terminal of the Underground Railroad, the route followed by fugitives from slavery in the United States. The commemorative cairn was unveiled on 31 July 2004.
At the height of activity on the Underground Railroad, this area was newly opened for settlement. As a result, former slaves who settled in the rural area to clear land and begin farms were part of the community from its inception. This thoughtfully designed site conveys a sense of shelter, protection, reflection and celebration for the descendants of slaves who travelled this route to freedom. It was said that apple trees and their blossoms showed the route north. The quilt designs depicted in the tiles feature messages from the route of the Railroad and include North Star, Flying Geese, Crossroads, Drunkards Path (instructing slaves to zigzag), Sailboat (symbol of a water crossing) and Log Cabin, indicating a safe house on the Underground Railroad.
In addition, the broken shackles at this site symbolize the achievement of emancipation. The windows used in the monument are shaped from the original window frames of the “Little Zion” church that was the first black church in Owen Sound. That church has since been taken down, but the windows were saved and stored.

Credits: www.osblackhistory.com/underground
Photo Credits: Sheila Cornett