Category: Grave Sites

The Great Farini

A small plaque belies larger than life exploits!

One of my magical friends recently shared this Historical Society of Ottawa link about Canada’s answer to P.T. Barnum: William Hunt, aka The Great Farini!

Second man to walk across the Niagara Falls gorge on a tightrope after Blondin and the guy who invented the shoot-a-dude-out-of-a-cannon trick.

The historical society link reminded me of the wonderful book by Shane Peacock. Reading it years ago was my first introduction to William Hunt’s adventure packed life.

Made a mental note that when magical travels took me far enough east along Highway 401 I’d pay my respects at Farini’s grave site in Port Hope, Ontario.

Cut to late August 2017. Did three TD Summer Reading Club magic shows for Kingston Library. On my way home, I made a wee side trip to Union and St John’s Cemetery.

Cemetery office staff kindly left a plot map in their mailbox with an x-marks-the-spot notation. That ‘x’ made things easier during my early evening visit.

The Great Farini is a fascinating part of Canada’s early entertainment history. Great to be reminded and share a personal photo here. Such a fascinating life!

Civil War Gravestone

A local historian, Robin McKee, who conducts tours of Hamilton’s oldest cemetery, ‘discovered’ the unmarked grave of Nelson Stevens, a freed slave who returned to the U.S. to serve during the Civil War. A happy accident apparently; noticed during research for his Civil War cemetery tour. Mr. McKee did the diligence/paperwork required and, in due course, the U.S. Government delivered a Civil War headstone to memorialize Mr. Stevens’ final resting place.

Tap/click here for link to the CBC story that recently made me aware of this fascinating bit of local history.

BTW, as of this blog post the cemetery tour links noted above are a little, er, dusty. They have not been updated recently to reflect Covid-19 realities. To avoid disappointment please do your own thorough checking of dates/times should you decide to attend a cemetery tour.