Canada’s almost capital, Corunna, celebrating bicentennial survey

Canadas almost capital Corunna celebrating bicentennial survey

Corunna is celebrating its near-crowning as Canada’s capital city two centuries ago by sprucing up a local monument and throwing a street party.

Upgrades have been happening in recent weeks to a memorial cairn at Hill and Baird streets, where the country’s parliament buildings would have gone if the town was chosen instead of Ottawa, said Tracy Kingston of the Corunna 200 committee.

In a nod to the 1823 survey by England’s Lord William Berresford, who made the case for Corunna, storyboards from the St. Clair Township Heritage Committee about the history of the town and the railway are being dedicated May 23, she said.

More than 325 local schoolchildren are expected to sing O Canada in French, English and Ojibwe, and government representatives are expected alongside a Beresford family descendant, Aamjiwnaang Chief Chris Plain and Corunna Legion branch officials at the 1 pm ceremony, Kingston said.

Putting in a commemorative bench, a cement pad and landscaping to upgrade the 1990s-era monument — at roughly the center of a 10-acre (four-hectare) site called St. George’s Square, in Beresford’s design, that would have been reserved for the city’s center and parliament buildings — is expected to cost about $10,000, she said.

“It’s just going to be a nice sitting area for people to have a little break on a walk and learn a bit of the history of the town,” Kingston said.

The committee has $25,000 from St. Clair Township, and various sponsorships, though it’s looking for more, she said. “We’re eating up our budget.”

A downtown festival on Lyndoch Street, between Fane and Cameron streets, is planned for Sept. 23 with vendors, entertainment and family activities, Kingston said. “People are so excited” about the 10 am to 3 pm event, which also will include a breakfast via the Legion, horse and wagon rides and chalk artists.

“It’s shaping up to be a fun event,” she said.

Anniversary banners have been hung on Lyndoch Street, businesses are being encouraged to hold their own events and a summer scavenger hunt is in the works, Kingston said.

“People. . . (are) looking forward to something different, something fun,” she said.

More details are available at

Corunna’s proximity to the US in the wake of the War of 1812 was a major reason it didn’t gain national-capital status, according to the Moore Museum.

The town eventually began to grow slowly after it was resurveyed in 1837.