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Barry Fraser 1940-2021

Barry Fraser was Vice President of the Port Maitland On The Grand Historical Association. Link to Barry’s obit.

(June 7, 1940 – April 22, 2021) It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of John Barry Fraser who left us peacefully in his home surrounded by his family and a few close friends early Thursday afternoon. Barry was predeceased by his beloved wife Margaret Fraser and daughter Lauri Rossetti (Ralph). Survived by his daughters Wanda Summerfield (Allan) and Leanne Fraser. Grandchildren Sarah, Melissa (Eric), Lindsay (Steven), Alexis, Jonathan (Starr), and Jordan. Great-grandfather to Alyssia, Matthew, Niko, Lukas, Jessika, Avery, Jordan and Jaxon. Beloved brother of Terry Fraser. Predeceased by his sisters Deanna, Noreen, Patricia and brother Michael. He will be deeply missed by his long-time friends Royce Arnold, Sam Hammond and Aldo Casen. Barry was a true Hamiltonian spending most of his life in the Bartonville area.

In his later years he fell in love with the history and tranquility of Port Maitland where it became his home away from home. He put many years of work into both the home and the community and served on the Port Maitland Historical Society. Barry was involved in social justice and the Trade Union movement his entire working life. He held many positions including Job Steward, Business Manager of Local 105, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, President of the Hamilton Building Trades Council, President of the Ontario Provincial Building Trades Council and Staff Representative of the Canadian Labour Congress. He was well known across Canada and always identified with the militant and most progressive forces fighting for social justice, peace, and socialism. Barry served many years as President of the Royal Harbour Resort in Thornbury after working tirelessly to restructure it from a failing business to a sound and successful enterprise.

Barry’s accomplishments and contributions are far too many to list. But one can be assured there were many. Barry had an infectious smile and a way with words. He loved to tell stories and educate people. He was always available to lend a helping hand to anyone who needed him. Cremation has already taken place. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions there will be no service at this time. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Juravinski Cancer Centre or to the Mesothelioma Research Society. The family would also like to thank the Hamilton Palliative Care program and VON for their assistance the past several months while Barry was being cared for in his home. Any condolences to be shared with the family can be emailed to wandasummerfield@gmail.com. “The loss is immeasurable but so is the love left behind. Forever in our hearts you will remain.”

Scroll Memorializes 39 Soldiers Buried at Port Maitland


On a clear yet dark morning of May 7, 1850, a ship had only moments before it left Port Maitland with soldiers from the Reserve Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers (23rd Foot) as it headed out onto Lake Erie.

Shortly after 12:10 a.m. their ship, the Commerce was struck by a steamer ship, the Despatch. This resulted in the deaths of at least thirty-nine soldiers, and family members. It is unknown how many in total perished, nor is it known how many were buried in Christ Church Cemetery at Port Maitland. We do know that the bulk of them were interred there.

On Sunday April 29th, 2018 at 11 a.m. a communion service was held at Christ Church where a scroll with the names of the thirty-nine known souls was presented to the church by Port Maitland, “On the Grand” Historical Association.

Photo L-R: Bill Strong, Suzanne Austin, Wendy Strong, Dan Rykse, Bill Warnick, Fr. Duncan Lyon, John Swayze hiding behind Janet deVos, Barry Fraser