The headstone hunt

By Willa Wick in Places, Events, & History

Entrance gates to Harriston Cemetery where the headstone hunt takes place. Photo by Sharon Weber

The Harriston Historical Society, partnering with Harriston Superior Monuments formed a new initiative to celebrate Canada’s 150th.   What better way to honour our forefathers than to wander the paths of the cemetery and learn about those buried there.

A fun summertime contest commencing June 1 will provide an opportunity for everyone to reflect on our past and those individuals who founded and developed Harriston.  Not only that, but because the main stage is the cemetery, and well, one thing leads to another… you might get sidetracked, and wander, and discover far more than what’s on the questionnaire. And that’s what makes this initiative so compelling.

The unusual contest, which runs from June 1 to August 9, is simple enough to include public school students, yet challenging enough to attract adults.  Forms and explanation will be provided to the schools at the beginning of June.  The game forms will have questions to answer related to specific monuments within the cemetery.  It is to be noted that anyone in the Town of Minto or beyond can enter but only the Harriston cemetery is involved this year.  Entry forms can be picked up any time after 10 a.m. on June 1 from Harriston Superior Monuments; the Harriston Historical Society; Harriston and Palmerston public schools; Norwell District Secondary School; and a number of local businesses.

Included with the questionnaire will be a site map with instructions to help in the search for the various tombstones.  A biography of the 20 persons/families involved will be posted in the John Webb Room, which is the historical society headquarters on the top floor of the Harriston Public Library.  These biographies will give a history to make the search more interesting.  It’s not just the hundred-year-old citizens involved, though there are a few, but there are also vintage and recent.  After all, history is still being made so not all credit goes to the pioneers.  The biographies are the learning curve, it’s the ‘walk in the park,’ the actual tombstones provide the answers.

There are cash prizes courtesy of Harriston Superior Monuments.  Contest forms must be returned to their office at 60 Mill Street, Harriston by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 9.  However, don’t wait until the last minute, as well as going into the tub for the main draw, the first 50 correct entries received will receive a gift voucher compliments of The Crown Harriston.

The major draw for prize winners will be made at noon on Saturday, August 12 in front of the Harriston Town Hall during the town’s street party. First entry draw is $300, second is $200, third is $100, fourth and fifth are $50 each.

The list of winners will be posted in the office of Harriston Superior Monuments, in the John Webb Room, and on the Facebook pages of Superior Memorials and the Harriston Historical Society.