Visiting Brock's Monument, Queenston Heights, Ontario: historical commemoration; and fine views over the Niagara River
No more explosions!
Commemorating Major-General Isaac Brock (1769-1812), who died in the War of 1812, the imposing Brock's Monument has graced the now peaceful Queenston Heights for a century and a half.
For visitors to Canada, or Canadians returning to Ontario, arriving at night over the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, the sight of the illuminated Brock Monument can be a memorable moment.
Brock's Monument is situated in Ontario's Niagara Region. There are also superb views of the Niagara River from the Queenston Heights, by Brock's Monument. The Laura Secord Homestead, associated with this Canadian heroine of the War of 1812, lies not far away in the village of Queenston.
The Monument, classified as being in Neo-Renaissance Revival style, is made of limestone. It attains a height of 56 metres. The architect was William Thomas (1799-1860), also responsible for St. Michael's Cathedral, Toronto, St. Paul's Cathedral, London (Ontario), St, Lawrence Hall, Toronto, and many other noted buildings. Architect Thomas worked on the Monument structure between 1856 and 1859.
There was actually a previous monument at the same site, in honour of General Brock. This structure existed between 1824 and 1840. The complete story of its fate is not entirely clear, but what is certainly known is that it sustained damage by explosives in 1840, considered beyond repair. (The explosion which caused the damage was not reckoned to have come from former American opponents of the British authorities, either.) Rather, an alleged perpetrator, a supporter of Mackenzie's 1837 Rebellion, was tried for the crime, but acquitted.
The event which led to General Brock's death and which principally relates to his historical fame is the Battle of Queenston Heights, 13th October, 1812. Although killed in battle, he and his troops successfully resisted the attempts of American troops to invade (as the British authorities saw it), or liberate (as American forces saw it), the west bank of the Niagara River and Upper Canada. The Battle of Queenston Heights was one of a series of engagements during the War of 1812, the result of which was to ensure continued British rule in Upper Canada (now known as Ontario).
General Brock has long been regarded as one of Canada's historical heroes. As a soldier, he saw service over many years in various parts of the British Empire. He was also a colonial administrator, and although he never formally held the post of Lieutenant-Governor in Upper Canada, his powers approximated those of this office. General Brock's grave-site is also at the Monument in his honour.
Queenston Heights is designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
Also worth seeing
Niagara Falls , Ontario / Niagara Falls , New York (distance to Rainbow Bridge: approx. 10.7 kilometres): good vantage points to view the famous Falls may be obtained on both the Canadian and American sides.
Niagara-on-the-Lake (distance: approx. 11.8 kilometres) was once the seat of British rule in Upper Canada and has many historic buildings, including Fort George.
How to get there: The QEW and the 405 link Queenston Heights with Hamilton and Toronto. The nearest large airport to Queenston Heights is Buffalo Niagara International Airport (distance from Queenston Heights: approx. 50 kilometres). Continental Airlines flies from New York Newark to Buffalo Niagara International Airport, where car rental is available. Ontario is accessible from the United States via the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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- Visiting historic Lewiston, New York: the former Episcopal church and Cornell House at Plain and Nia
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