Fredericton / News / Officers square

Honouring the past: City removes monument and capstone for safe keeping

As the Officers’ Square revitalization continues, the 104th Regiment of Foot monument and the sandstone capstone topping the wall around the Square has been removed for safe keeping. The work was guided by advice from heritage masonry experts.

Officers’ Square became a military compound in the late 18th century. British soldiers stationed in the city used the space as a parade square and training ground from 1786 to 1869. The current Fredericton Region Museum was the Officers’ Quarters of the British Garrison.

Despite its original purpose for the military, civilians used the open space for entertainment and recreation. Military bands played in the Square twice weekly attracting large crowds. Citizens also used the Square for tennis and curling. This use as a community gathering place continued in the many decades that followed.

That history of Fredericton’s most important gathering place offers many fascinating stories. These stories are told in its monuments, starting with the one that greets visitors at the Square’s entrance.

The plaque and monument to New Brunswick’s 104th Regiment of Foot honours the significant contributions the regiment made to the establishment of Canada. One of the Regiment’s greatest moments was its achievements during the War of 1812. 

As part of the war effort, the New Brunswick 104th Regiment of Foot began an astonishing 1,100-kilometer journey to Kingston, Ontario from Officers’ Square. From there, the regiment took part in many of the war’s key battles.

The unveiling of the plaque and monument took place in 2014 recognizing the Regiment and Officers’ Square as a Provincial Heritage Place. 

John Irving, with Commercial Properties Limited, championed and supported the establishment of the 104th monument at the time. He is also supporting the removal, storage and return of the monument as part of the Officers’ Square revitalization project.

As the revitalization of Officers’ Square gets underway, the plaque and monument will be moved to a secure City facility. It will be safely housed until it can take its place of prominence at the entrance of the revitalized Square.  The sandstone capstone topping the wall in the Square is also being removed at the same time, as per the guidance and instructions provided by a heritage masonry expert.

Removing the monument and capstone have long been part of the revitalization plan and the move will ensure the items are carefully stored and protected while work on the Square occurs. 

Fredericton's most important public gathering space has a rich history that has evolved as the community has grown. The City is exploring opportunities to reuse the capstone in the Historic Garrison District and the plaque and monument to New Brunswick’s 104th Regiment of Foot will become the centerpiece of the Square’s new entrance. We look forward to sharing the story of New Brunswick 104th Regiment of Foot with the many people who will enjoy a revitalized Officers’ Square in the years to come.