News

Town inherits Canterbury cannon

By John Tapley, Ingersoll Times

Facing onto Canterbury Street for almost 80 years, the cannon in front of the Sinclair home has been a local landmark and conversation piece since James Sinclair Sr. had it cast at a local foundry in celebration of Queen Victoria's 1897 Diamond Jubilee. Diana Sinclair gifted the piece to the Town of Ingersoll in her will. JOHN TAPLEY/INGERSOLL TIMES

Facing onto Canterbury Street for almost 80 years, the cannon in front of the Sinclair home has been a local landmark and conversation piece since James Sinclair Sr. had it cast at a local foundry in celebration of Queen Victoria's 1897 Diamond Jubilee. Diana Sinclair gifted the piece to the Town of Ingersoll in her will. JOHN TAPLEY/INGERSOLL TIMES

Ingersoll has inherited a cannon.

Having sat on the front lawn of Diana Sinclair's Canterbury Street home since the early 1930s, she left the small cannon to the town when she died in August.

The piece became a local landmark over the years and Sinclair declared her intention to gift the it to the town in her will during a 2011 interview with The Ingersoll Times.

“I hope they appreciate it and look after it,” she said at the time. “It's been an interesting old piece.”

Sinclair's grandfather, James Sinclair, had the cannon similar to those used on British battleships, cast at a local foundry in celebration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

He requested the casting include the date and the title “Peacemaker,” but in a mix-up lost to history, it ended up being cast as the “Peacewaker.”

“I guess that's really appropriate because that's what it was when it was fired,” said Diana Sinclair in 2011.

Placing the cannon atop a large stone structure outside his Catherine Street home, Sinclair fired it every May 24 in celebration of Queen Victoria's birthday.

The story goes that it took several men to fire it and the blast of sound would take windows out of neighbourhood homes, which James Sinclair later repaired.

The cannon was last fired on June 22, 1911, when a local militia group asked Sinclair to set it off in celebration of King George V's coronation.

In the early 1930s, the cannon was relocated from James Sinclair's home to Canterbury Street in front of the house owned by his son, James Sinclair, Jr., and his wife.

It still sits in front of the home that was later owned by Diana Sinclair.

The cannon was moved once, unintentionally, ending up in front of a neighbour's house two doors down after being struck by a vehicle involved in a crash at the corner of Wellington Street and Canterbury Street.

It took a tow truck to move the cannon back into place, but it diverted the vehicle involved in the crash from smashing through the verandah of the Sinclair home.

In a report to council, town staff wrote that “receiving the cannon is worthwhile as it has quite a bit of history in the Town of Ingersoll.”

Council approved spending $1,000 from reserves to construct a concrete pad for the cannon to the right of the Centennial Park Cairn near the Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum.