Historic cannons in Pioneer Park moved to accommodate repair work

Moving historic cannons is no easy feat but, thanks to the Town of Saugeen Shores staff, the job was made easier for the Marine Heritage Society.

The two historic cannons in Pioneer Park at Southampton Harbour look out over Lake Huron, where weather can take its toll.  The bases or ‘cradles’, where the cannons heave  rested for several years, had shown signs of decay and parts had to be replaced.  Fortunately, Marine Heritage member Alli Kelly had the exact size of beams left over from a landscaping project at her home and donated the wood.  The wood was then cut to the exact sizes needed by new volunteer Gord Grant, now known fondly by the group as ‘Mr. Cannon’.

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On Thursday, September 29th, the weather was ideal for the move and the Town moved in with its retrofitted front-end loader that was capable of lifting the cannons, each weighing more than 6,000 lbs.

The first cannon was lifted from its cradle to the second one that had already been repaired, so that Grant could then replace the needed part.  Straps were carefully put in place and the lift was tested and adjustments to the strapping made in order to balance the heavy weight of the cannon.


Once the first cannon had been moved and was in place, it was time to lift the second one that had been moved and fenced earlier.

                        Second cannon is lifted on to the repaired cradle

The overall move took approximately two hours but it is expected that the bases will now last for at least 30 more years.

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Although the plaque at the Southampton cannons reads they were manufactured in England, all the markings appear to lead to the Carron company of Falkirk, Scotland that supplied armaments to governments outside the UK, including weapons supplied to the embryonic United States which were used against Britain in the War of 1812.