Park in St. Catharines will be renamed to honour Richard Pierpoint

centennial gardens

A park in St. Catharines will be renamed to honour one of Niagara’s first Black settlers and a Loyalist who fought in two wars.

Council approved the move to change the name of Centennial Gardens, on Oakdale Ave. to Richard Pierpoint Park last night.

The renaming process started five months ago after local historian and member of the Salem Chapel BME church, Rochelle Bush, brought the idea up to council.

Bush tells CKTB the community stood behind the decision, and the only complaint she heard was that the park wasn't good enough to honour Pierpoint.

"It was thrilling, my heart was pumping." Bush said of councillor's decision last night. "We are very very grateful."

Richard Pierpoint Park was one of about 50 names considered for the park.

Pierpoint was captured when he was 16 years old in West Africa and brought to America to be a slave.

He was sold to a British soldier, and ended up fighting in the American Revolution for the British, and then gained his freedom.

After the war he was given land, which includes part of the Centennial Gardens property.

During the war of 1812, Pierpoint organized an all-Black military unit known as The Coloured Corps, which fought major battles in Niagara.

He died in 1838.

The park's official renaming will most likely take place in the spring.