Wednesday, January 23, 2013

St. Catharine's Well

Father Hennepin
Father Hennepin (Photo credit: massdistraction)


It is a bit difficult to get around in St. Catharines because so many of

the main roads were built on Indian trails and the urban grid was later

superimposed on top of them. 

Some people whip around here like they are reincarnated Mohawk

warriors, but for me, even after a year of living in the North End,

I still get lost.

Flynn was very relieved when I bought a GPS for the spy car.  She

was missing walk time while I drove in circles trying to find my way.

But the thing that has always puzzled me about the city is the s on the

end of Caharine.

Could there have been two Catharines?

But then we would say 'The City of the Saintes Catharine'.


Our hockey teams would have a hard time fitting that on their jerseys.

 I wondered why it wasn't named St. Catharine if only one woman was

being honoured??

Then I read in John Jackson's book, St. Catharines, the early years,  

this totally unverified story:

In the 1600s the French explorer LaSalle came to this area with a Catholic

priest by the name of Father Hennepin. 

When they found a beautiful freshwater spring they decided to camp

for the night and Father Hennepin said mass. 

He noted that it was the Feast Day of St. Catharine and so he and LaSalle

named the place St. Catharine's Well.

The problem with this story is that the name St. Catharines doesn't  

turn up again in any records for 100 years and by that time it was

the British who were here because New France had fallen.

But I love the story!
 And it sure does explain that s.

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