Public engagement process begins for Secord Monument

Over a century ago, in the years following his death, the patients and friends of Dr. Solomon Secord chose to put up two monuments in his honour.

Dr. Secord graduated from Victoria Medical College in Toronto. He first worked in Hamilton before arriving in Bruce County in 1856, settling first in Southampton and then in Walkerton. Around 1859, he relocated to Kincardine. He then enlisted in the American Civil War in 1861, serving in the Southern army with the 20th Georgia Regiment, Benning’s Brigade, Hood’s Division, Longstreet’s Corps. During the war, he was captured by the Union army. After escaping from capture, he oversaw hospitals with the rank of Surgeon-Major.

There have been concerns raised with regards to one of these monuments due to the reference to Secord’s service to the Southern Army (also known as the Confederate Army) during the American Civil War. This war centred on slavery, a practice which systematically oppressed and dehumanized Black people.

After the war, Secord returned to Kincardine to practice medicine, which he did for over four decades.

Monument 1, which still stands today in the Kincardine Cemetery, does not reference the American Civil War. To date, there’s been no raising of concerns about monument 1.

In the spring of 2023, removal of monument 2 from its location in front of the Kincardine Branch of the Bruce County Library was necessary due to the Queen Street reconstruction project. With the new layout of the downtown, monument 2 can no longer return to its previous location. For this reason, and the raising of further concerns due to the American Civil War reference, the Municipality of Kincardine’s Council is engaging the public to assist in its decision-making regarding the future options for monument 2.

The first phase of public engagement begins with a public survey, available online at www.kincardine.ca/Secord-Survey with paper copies available at the Municipal Administration Centre.

Future engagement activities include interviews and community conversations. The receiving of input from these elements will inform the identification and development of future phases. To keep up to date on the engagement process and to review the background document, visit www.kincardine.ca/Secord.

This engagement process is larger than just a discussion about the monument itself. Central to this process is the fostering of an environment of inclusion, creating opportunities for safe and respectful conversations about the community we all belong to.

“It is a discussion that fundamentally encompasses equity and diversity and, most significantly, that of inclusion within our Municipality,” said Deputy Mayor Andrea Clarke.