Ontario Tourism Region : Niagara Falls and Wine Country
- Postcards above used with permission from A Great Lakes Treasury of Old Postcards 2007 Lorenzo Marcolin, MD 176 pp. For Copies call the Huronia Museum 705 526 2844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pop. 500. Part of the Town of Niagara- on- the-Lake, Reg. Mun. of Niagara , on the W bank ofthe Niagara R. at its mouth at L. Ontario, S terminus of the Bruce Trail and Hwy 405, on the Niagara Parkway, 10 km. N of Niagara Falls.
Robert Hamilton is considered to be the founder of Queenston. He emigrated to Canada from Scotland during the American Revolution and in 1789 secured land near the portage point. He built wharves and storehouses and a mansion, and ran a thriving trans-shipping business hauling freight between Queenston and Chippewa. In those days the place was known as The Landing, West Landing, or Lower Landing.
The name Queenston is believed to have originated from Lt.-Gov. John Graves Simcoe''''s regiment, the Queen''''s Rangers, which was stationed at the place in 1792. In 1812, Queenston was the scene of the famous Battle of Queenston Heights in which Gen.
Sir Isaac Brock and his aide-decamp, Lt.-Cot. John Macdonell, were killed. Today a 1 85-foot-high (56.3 m) shaft with interior stone stairs to a lookout, marks their grave. Sir Isaac and Lt.-Cot. Macdonell may be the only Canadians to have been buried four times. On Oct. 16, 1812, three days after their deaths, they were buried with great pomp in a bastion at the northeast comer of nearby Fort George. Two years later the legislature for Upper Canada decided a monument should be erected to Brock''''s memory at Queenston and on Oct. 13, 1824, although the monument still wasn''''t completed, Brock and Macdonell were buried here before a crowd estimated at 8,000 people. On April 17 , 1840, an explosion severely damaged the memorial tower. Benjamin Lett, an Irish-Canadian who had been involved in the Rebellion of 1837 and sought revenge against the British, was eventually convicted of the bombing and imprisoned. In 1842 officials decided a second tower should be built and plans called for it to be the second-tallest structure of its kind in the world behind a tower marking the Great Fire of London in 1666. Work on the new tower began in 1853 while the remains of Brock and Macdonell were moved to temporary graves in a Queenston cemetery. Their fourth burial took place on Oct. 13, 1853. The tower Was completed in 1858 and officially inaugurated on Oct. 13, 1859.
In 1813, Laura Secord hiked 30 km. from her home in Queenston to warn British soldiers of a surprise attack being planned by the Americans. Two days later the British and their First Nations Peoples allies intercepted the Americans'''' attack and forced their surrender at the Battle of Beaver Dams. Today''''s visitor can tour Laura''''s house, which has been faithfully reproduced by the Laura Secord Candy Shops and contains one of the country''''s frnest collections of period furnishings. Lt. James FitzGibbon, leader of the Canadian militia, came off as the hero of the campaign.
After the war the Secords petitioned the government for compensation for her husband''''s serious war wounds and loss of their business. By 1841 when her husband died, Laura was a 65-year-old widow trying to support three widowed daughters with no income. In 1845, when FitzGibbon was about to be rewarded for "war services" with 5,000 acres of land, Laura''''s son Charles tried unsuccessfully again for government compensation.
By 1860, when Laura was 85, 19-year-old Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, visited Niagara Falls and attended a ceremony at Brock Monument. He was impressed by the fact there was only one woman''''s name on the list of War of 1812 veterans and sent Laura £150.
A newspaper picked up on the story and Laura was finally recognized as the heroine of the campaign. She died in 1868 at the age of 93. It was not until 1959 that a certificate written by James FitzGibbon in support of Laura Secord and dated 1827, was discovered in the Public Archives of Canada in Ottawa. It was the second of three written accounts sent by FitzGibbon to the Canadian government verifying the events of Laura''''s famous walk. The other two certificates were dated 1820 and 1837, but they also were lost and buried by government bureaucracy. William Lyon Mackenzie, who lived in Queenston 18231824, is credited with having brought responsible government to Canada.
From Ontario Place Names 2007 David E. Scott Ph. 866 471 4123 or 905 680 7884
Address of this page: http://www.ruralroutes.com/queenston