A monumental restoration begins
One of the region’s most prominent landmarks, the Glengarry Cairn near Lancaster, is undergoing a facelift.
Parks Canada is spending $693,000 to stabilize the cairn in its current condition and protect the cultural heritage of Cairn Island.
The agency says it “is pleased to be working in collaboration with the Mohawks of Akwesasne and the Township of South Glengarry on this federal infrastructure project.”
The property, situated in the St. Lawrence River opposite South Lancaster, has been closed to the public since 2009 since it was designated as a First Nations sacred burial ground.
“Parks Canada has no plans to re-open the island to the public,” wrote Hugh Ostrom, Parks Canada Superintendent of National Historic Sites, Georgian Bay and Ontario East, in a letter to South Glengarry council in September of last year.
Cairn Island was closed to the public nine years ago when the discovery of bones led to claims of a sacred First Nations burial ground there, and a long-running land claim dispute involving local First Nations bands and Parks Canada has also prevented it from re-opening. The last time work was carried out on the island was in 2010 when the federal government stabilized the shoreline to arrest erosion.
Parks Canada declared the Cairn a National Historic Site in 1921.
The monument, described by Mr. Ostrom as “a cultural landmark of Scottish military heritage,” was built in 1840-1841 under the supervision of Lt.-Col. Lewis Carmichael, by the Glengarry Highlanders and Glengarry Militia, which had aided in the suppression of the Rebellions in Lower Canada in 1837 and 1838.
It was dedicated to Sir John Colborne who led the Glengarry Highlanders and Militia, and the 52nd Fraser Highlanders, during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Mr. Colborne, who died in the U.K. in 1863, was also Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada from November 1828 to January 1836, and Governor-General in 1839.
The current work is part of the $3 billion being invested over five years to support infrastructure work in Parks Canada places across the country.
BOLSTERED: The federal government is restoring the Lancaster cairn which has been designated as a heritage site since 1921.