A British naval cannon affection-ately known as “Old Jeremiah” or simply “the Cannon” has spent more than 100 years on the grounds of the University of Guelph and its founding colleges. It is the target of one of the most intriguing, creative and colourful traditions on campus.
Rumoured to have been fired in the War of 1812, the imposing antique weapon has been pacified in modern times. Each academic year, it is repeatedly painted after dark in vivid colours and assorted messages.
A colourful CAMPUS tradition FOR more than A CENTURY
The cannon has announced U of G events, programs, fraternities and community causes, and occasionally been dive-bombed with political statements. It’s delivered marriage proposals and giggle-inducing lines like “Have you been debugged lately?” (from the School of Computer Science).
Over the years, the message board has been transformed into a Canada goose, penguin, dragonfly, giraffe and squirrel, and even the Titanic.
Old Jeremiah was last fired in 1913 before its barrel was sealed. Pranksters can no longer wheel it around campus, as it is now permanently anchored to the ground. Dozens of times each year, it receives a new coat of paint.
In 2011, Dawn Johnston, a master of fine art student, stripped the cannon of about 30 years’ worth of paint for an art project.