On Saturday, 2 September, members of the Peterborough community and East-City clergy gathered to dedicate a new monument in memory of the victims of the tragic Quaker Oats fire that occurred on 11 December 1916. Layreader Bill Nicholls represented St Luke’s Anglican parish at the ceremony in Millennial Park. Twenty-four victims lost their lives in the explosion and fire that ensued over 100 years ago.

“The monument is a replica of the burnt-out wall from a Roy Studios image from the fire,” explains Jim Gill, who, along with his wife Jane, were instrumental in pushing forward the project.

The Examiner 2009 — Originally opening its door in 1902 as the American Cereal Company, the former Quaker Oats Plant, now called Pepsi-QTG, has served as one of Peterborough’s biggest employers for more than 100 years. Today it is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city; towering over the Otonabee River in Peterborough’s East City by the Hunter Street bridge.

And like most old buildings, the old Quaker Plant is known to have a ghost.

Most who work at the plant agree that the ghost who lurks inside is probably a victim of the devastating fire that broke out in the plant on Dec. 11, 1916.

Just after 10 p. m. on that horrific day a fire broke out in building 11 that probably spread to the boiler room, causing a horrific explosion. The explosion was so great that some blocks from the building were actually spewed across the river.

The fire burned for four days and when the smoke settled, most of the Quaker Plant lay in ruins, more than 500 people were out of work and 23 men were dead.

read full story from Peterborough Examiner 2009

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