On July 31, 2004, the Black History Cairn Committee unveiled a commemorative Cairn during the 142nd Emancipation Day Celebrations at Harrison Park in Owen Sound. According to Webster's 1913 Dictionary, a cairn is "a rounded or conical heap of stones erected by early inhabitants of the British Isles, apparently as a sepulchral monument." In this case, the Cairn is a memorial to Owen Sound's Black settlers.
From about 1830 to the end of the American Civil War, escaped slaves made their way across the Canada-US border via the Underground Railroad. Many headed for the Village of Sydenham (Owen Sound), the last terminal of the Railroad and settled here, finding work and raising families. It is only recently that the contribution of these early settlers to the City’s development and growth has begun to be acknowledged.
Owen Sound Sun Time Article, August 3, 1898: The B.M.E. excursion and picnic was held here today, Friday, 3rd of Aug., to commemorate the freedom from slavery of the British slaves in the West Indian Islands.