Proposed gunners monument to be moved due to archaeological discovery
An unexpected find has caused a minor hiccup in the development of a new gunner’s memorial in Saint John.
Archaeologists believe a small cross found on the proposed site is from nearby Fort La Tour, meaning the search area for artifacts is bigger than once thought. But unfortunately for the Third Field Artillery Regiment, a new site for the monument had to be found.
“Well we started some exploratory work on the original site and we came across the artifact and as soon as we came across that we decided to let the people at heritage know,” said retired Captain Tom Watters.
“It’s such a significant thing, the fact that Fort La Tour, the actual site is bigger than what we thought it was … so it was decided by the committee the history of New Brunswick is just too important. So we decided to move.”
The gunners had a slight hunch something of the sort might happen when construction began, so set aside two back up sites and now will be partnering with the Port of Saint John to put the monument at the end of the Long Wharf trail.
“When we learned of [what happened] the suggestion was hey, take advantage of what we’ve done, where we put a trail out onto Long Wharf,” said port CEO Jim Quinn.
“What a great potential site at the end of that trail to enhance the experience for the citizens of Saint John and yet have a really iconic site in tribute to those men and women who served our country.”
Quinn says that it’s somewhat fortunate the site was selected, if not the Fort La Tour protected area may never have been expanded.
“In a way, I think in a fortunate way, that this project of the monument has revealed yet another area of interest for the archeologists to work with and to discover what exactly is the type of history that’s buried there,” he said.
The Third Field Artillery Regiment has been around since 1793 and served in just about every British, and then Canadian conflict around the world. This new monument will be called Standing Ready and will be built to pivot and point in the direction of the various places Saint John gunners have served, and where they might in the future.
“Monuments are not meant to glorify, or to celebrate the past. It’s there to recognize it, right, it’s there to see the sacrifice and to remember all those that have gone before,” Watters said.
“But Standing Ready, ours, also represents going forward. What’s going to happen in the future? Saint Johners are always standing ready.”
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