Trip Start Jun 29, 2010
103Trip End Oct 24, 2010
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Where I stayed
Big Valley Campground
After another rainy night and sleep in the car, I headed north. My first stop was Queenston Heights Park. Back in the day, this area was the northern portage point around Niagara Falls. This was also the site of the Battle of Queenston Heights - the first major battle in the War of 1812.
On October 13, 1812, shortly before dawn, American troops crossed the Niagara River and inched their way up to a concealed path on the Niagara escarpment. Their objective was to cut the slender British supply line leading to the west. Major-General Isaac Brock Commander-in-Chief of British forces in Upper Canada, raced from Fort George to Queenston. In an effort to retake the Heights of Queenston, he was fatally wounded while leading his troops into battle.
All seemed lost for the British until General Sheaffe, summoned from Fort George, marched with his men of the 41st Regiment, militia and Native forces and gained the rear of the Heights
I talked with park employee for a while and she told me that the day after the war ended, they made Queenston Heights into a park and little has changed since then. Not much is left of the fort that was there but there is u-shaped advance battery that was part of the battles and told me where I could find a cannon that was used in the war and is still pointed at the US. She also said the park is haunted. One of the fields was where the British soldier line was situated and at night, if you walk across the field, the temperature drops 10c.
The park has an impressive monument to Brock. Seems he was quite popular and his death was quite a blow to the British. The present monument was rebuilt in 1853 after the original monument was bombed by a terrorist in 1840. The park employee told me that he was supposed to be holding a sword but the Americans complained so we changed it.....and the Americans ran and cried like a bunch of little babies wawawa......in the War of 1812.
Also at the park is a statue for Laura Secord. She and her husband lived at Niagara on the Lake and they had some billets living in their home and on June 21, 1813 they overheard discussion of a surprise attack on the British. He husband had been injured in the Queenston Heights battle so she decided it was up to her to warn Lt. James Fitzgibbon at Beaverdams. She traveled 32km, took her 18 hours through the forest to get her message to Fitzgibbon. As a result, the Native forces, under the command of John Norton and Dominique Ducharme, ambushed the invading Americans and defeated them at the Battle of Beaverdams, June 24, 1813
Laura was due much of the credit for the victory but her heroism was soon forgotten. It wasn't until 1860, almost fifty years later, that Laura received recognition of her act during a visit by Edward, Prince of Wales. She died in 1868 at the age of 93 and is buried in Drummond Hill Cemetery. In 2003, the Minister of Canadian Heritage designated Laura Secord a Person of National Historic Significance for her heroic actions during the War of 1812. A hero and made damn good chocolate bars too. My favorite were the mint ones, hehe.
After the park I drove along the Niagara River to Niagara on the Lake. This whole area is amazingly beautiful. There are wineries everywhere! I went into the city and wondered around. Very nice, quite high end. There were a lot of people and it was another stinking hot day so I didnt stay long. Went to the beach to put my feet into Lake Ontario but....a bit slimy for me.
The area is $$ so headed towards St. Catharines in search of a campground. Came across Big Valley Campground and set up for the night. It's true to its name, right in a valley, nice piece of property.
I met a guy walking his dogs (whippets - gorgeous dogs), he has a permanent trailer there and it's his getaway spot. Went over for a few drinks, Art did a cross Canada trip too! I mentioned the sunglasses and he was game! Party Arty! Was a good night, great conversation and lots of laughs.