Queenston Heights Park
By: Megan Pasche
Queenston Heights Park is one of the most beautiful green spaces Niagara has to offer. Perched high up on the Niagara escarpment, this park is not only historically significant, but visually stunning, with its manicured gardens and views of the Niagara Region. Generations of people who have visited Niagara have enjoyed hanging out and relaxing in this park.
It is home to two monuments: the Brock Monument and the Laura Secord Monument. Queenston Heights was actually the site of a very important battle in the War of 1812. While the two nations have been at peace for 200 years, go back in time to 1812, and the British controlled Canada and the United States were in a constant battle for control of the Niagara River. During that war, many battles were fought on the banks of that river. On the 13th of October 1812, the American troops made their way across the river, and began to ascend the Niagara Escarpment. Their goal was to cut British supply lines, which they would be able to accomplish by taking Queenston. Major General Isaac Brock was the Commander in Chief of the British forces in Upper Canada, and he was stationed at Fort George. On the morning of the attack, Brock raced from Fort George to Queenston, upon hearing of the American troops advances. While fighting in the Battle of Queenston Heights, Brock was wounded and died. It was not looking good for British forces, when General Sheaffe, who was stationed at Fort George, was called to come to Queenston. This was able to secure the battle for the British. Those who lived in Upper Canada were given renewed hope about the direction of the war, as the Battle of Queenston Heights resulted in halting American attempts to annex that part of Canada into U.S. boundaries. In fact, Queenston Heights is often referred to as the birthplace of Canada.
The original Brock Monument was bombed by a terrorist in 1840, (it was rumoured to be orchestrated by Benjamin Lett, an anti British agitator and participant in the 1837 Rebellion), and while the blast substantially damaged the monument, it failed to bring it all the way down. The monument was repaired and rebuilt in 1853.
These days the park is a peaceful and serene place, with the only reminders of past wars being the man made stone memorials. Visitors are able to walk the 235 steps up Brock Monument, which lead to a small indoor platform with windows that provide a good view of the surrounding landscape. Inside the base of the monument, there are informative plaques containing information on the Battle of Queenston Heights. The remains of Sir Isaac Brock as well as Lieutenant Colonel John Macdonell rest at the base of the monument, where they have been interred for several decades. A booklet detailing a self-guided tour is available from the shop located in the park.
The Laura Secord Monument is located east of the Brock Monument, and contains an image of Laura, as well as a plaque with some details about her walk as well as the rescue of her husband.
In addition to the historical aspects of the park, the beautiful spot also contains two picnic pavilions, tons of wide open green space, a splash pad, tennis courts, a snack bar, a children’s playground, a trailhead for the Bruce Trail and delicious dining options at the Queenston Heights Restaurant (the dining room has one of the best views of the Niagara Region you’ll find anywhere.)
Queenston Heights is a great place to go if you just want to enjoy a little bit of time outdoors, mixed with a little bit of history.
Queenston Heights Park is located at 14184 Niagara Parkway
For more information, please go to: niagaraparks.com