Two hundred years ago, Canadians found themselves at the epicentre of a war between Britain and the United States — one in which Canada would be the main battleground.
The War of 1812 in many ways shaped the future of the continent. On Sunday, I finally had a chance to travel to the Niagara Peninsula to visit many of the key battlefields that helped decide the course of the conflict.
Fort George National Historic Site.
Along with Canada’s History Publisher Deborah Morrison and a bus full of history enthusiasts, we travelled to three main sites: Fort George National Historic National Historic Site, which was the headquarters for the British’s Centre Division until it was captured and ultimately captured by the Americans in 1813. It was occupied for seven months before the British could recapture it.
The tour was led by Terry Copp, professor emeritus of history at Wilfrid Laurier University and the director of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies.
We travelled to Queenston Heights, home of the imposing and impressive monument to General Isaac Brock, the quintessential hero of the conflict who was killed while leading a charge on the American-occupied Redan at the Heights. The monument is 184 feet tall, and a real killer to climb; I know, as I managed to mount all 200 plus steps to take in the view from the top.
Our tour ended at Fort Erie, which was captured by the Americans in both 1813 and 1814. It’s known today is Canada’s bloodiest battlefield. So many men were killed, mass burials were required to deal with the dead. The following are some images from our battlefields tour, which I would recommend to anyone with an interest in our nation’s past.
Fort Erie National Historic Site.