Niagara Theater Continued (Part Four)
Queenston Heights Park
14184 Niagara Parkway
Queenston, Heights, Ontario L0S 1L0(905) 356-2241 (877) 642-7275
General Isaac Brock was the energetic and talented officer who led British forces to victory at Detroit and was later killed during the vigorous counterattack at the Battle of Queenston Heights. Brock is honored by an impressive monument or cenotaph in Queenston Heights Park near the battlefield where he met his death. Brock’s horse Alfred was also killed in the battle and is buried on the grounds. Queenston Heights Park is located along Niagara Parkway near the junction with Portage Road or Canada 405.
Queenston Heights National Historic Site
Niagara Parkway at Portage Road
Queenston Heights, Ontario L0S 1L(905) 468-4257
It was upon Queenston Heights that British, Canadian, and Native forces turned back one of the earliest and most threatening American attempts to invade Canada. Having crossed the Niagara River early on October 13, 1812, a small American force managed to capture the strategic heights above Queenston. However, they were isolated there and defeated, in part, because New York militia refused to cross into Canada and join them. The brilliant British general Isaac Brock was killed during what eventually proved a successful counterattack. There is much to see in the vicinity of Queenston Heights, now one of Canada’s many well-tended National Historic Sites. Located off the scenic Niagara Parkway and just across the Niagara River from the United States, the site offers an interpretive trail with plaques that highlight several key stages of the battle: the initial Attack (Marker 1), Wool’s climb up the Treacherous River Cliff (Marker 2), the Capture of the Redan and the Death of Brock (Marker 3), the Counteroffensive organized by Seaffe (Marker 4), and the Decisive Battle consisting of flank attacks on the American position (Marker 5). Also on the heights are the ruins of Fort Drummond and Fort Riall, a pair of British strong points constructed later in the war.
Laura Secord’s House
29 Queenston Street
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1L0(905) 468-4257
A heroine known well to Canadian school children, Laura Secord helped save the life of her wounded husband James who served the British cause at Queenston Heights as a sergeant of the militia. The following year, Mrs. Secord would play a pivotal role in the Battle of Beaver Dams when she warned a British officer that an American assault force was approaching. Damaged during the fighting at Queenston, the Secord House has been handsomely restored and now serves as a museum. It is located on Queenston Street about a block off Niagara Parkway towards the water.
Stoney Creek Battlefield Park
77 King Street West
Stoney Creek, Ontario L8G 5E5(905) 546-4141
Fought in the early morning hours of June 6, 1813 not far from present day Hamilton, Ontario, the Battle of Stoney Creek stopped an American advance that might have split Canada and possibly ended the war in favor of the United States. The battle began with a midnight British assault on a large American camp which precipitated a confused melee with riflemen and gunners on both sides unsure of their targets. Although the battle was essentially a draw, the Americans retreated. Accessible from King Street and Centennial Parkway in the community of Stoney Creek, now part of Hamilton, Ontario, Battlefield Park preserves the site of this important clash of arms. The 15-acre park includes the late-eighteenth-century Gage House, which served as the American headquarters during battle. Known today as the Battlefield House, the lovely old two-story building contains a highly informative museum, which should not be missed by anyone interested in the War of 1812 as it was fought in the Niagara region. Nearby, the 100-foot-tall Stoney Creek Battlefield Monument stands on the site of the American encampment along the creek. The monument consists of a slender gray stone tower rising from the middle of a castellated stone blockhouse. Also in Stoney Creek is the impressive Stone Lion Monument, which marks the burial place of British, Canadian, and American soldiers who died here. The monument features a mosaic Union Jack and a statue of a growling lion.