Brock's Monument


Brock's Monument

Brock's Monument is a 56-metre (185 ft) column atop Queenston Heights, in Queenston, Ontario, dedicated to Major-General Isaac Brock, one of Canada's heroes of the War of 1812. Brock and his Canadian aide-de-camp, Lieutenant-Colonel John Macdonell, are interred at the monument's base, near the spot where both fell during the Battle of Queenston Heights. The current monument was constructed between 1853 and 1856 and is the second such structure to occupy the battlefield. Parks Canada maintains the monument, the most imposing feature of Queenston Heights National Historic Site.

History

Brock died by gunshot wound to the chest on the morning of October 13, 1812, leading a charge of British regulars and Canadian militia up the Heights to regain positions earlier captured by American infantry forces under Captain John Wool. MacDonnell was mortally wounded while attempting a subsequent abortive charge. The combined British, Canadian, and First Nations forces eventually won a resounding victory under the command of Major-General Roger Hale Sheaffe.

Brock and his aide were initially buried at Fort George in nearby Niagara-on-the-Lake, then called Newark. A campaign began among prominent Upper Canadians to honour Brock, whose dramatic death provided a rallying point during and after the war, as a symbol of Canadian independence from the United States. This led to construction of the first Brock's Monument, which was irrevocably damaged by an explosive charge on April 17, 1840. The attack was orchestrated by Benjamin Lett, an anti-British agitator and participant in the 1837 Rebellion. Brock and MacDonnell's remains were removed after the monument's disassemblage and reinterred in a Queenston family cemetery.

A campaign to rebuild the monument began almost immediately. In 1852, Toronto architect William Thomas had his design selected for a monument even grander then the first. The contractor for the stone carving was Charles T. Thomas of Wales. Construction began in 1853 using nearby limestone and was completed three years later. The remains of Brock and MacDonnell were led back up Queenston Heights and reinterred for the fourth time. The monument was dedicated by Prince Edward (later King Edward VII), in 1860. [ [http://www.monarchist.ca/mc/cbc.htm Toffoli, Gary; "Monarchy Canada": CBC's Attack on Canadian Heritage] ]

A 1929 lightning strike severely damaged Brock's statue, sending large portions crashing to the ground below.

In August 2003 the Friends of Fort George and Parks Canada held a ceremony to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the monument's groundbreaking. Engineering inspections carried out in 2003 and 2004 revealed the need for significant restorative work to the structure's interior and exterior limestone. Parks Canada closed the monument to the public in 2005 pending repairs. An extensive restoration on the monument will begin June 2008 and may be completed by October of the same year.

Monument features

The main entrance is flanked by two large mulberry trees believed to have been planted during the 1850s. Inside the monument's base are a number of brass plaques: Brock and MacDonnell's epitaphs, a list of donors and builders, and a tribute to the British, Canadian, and First Nations soldiers who died at the Battle of Queenston Heights. The two bodies are interred in crypts within the limestone walls. More recent educational displays outline Brock's life, the battle, and the monument's history--including a portion of Brock's limestone torso that collapsed in 1929.

A 235-step spiral staircase up the column leads visitors to a small indoor platform underneath Brock's statue. Porthole windows provide views of the surrounding Niagara region and Lake Ontario.

The monument, illuminated at night, marks the end of an interpretive historical walking trail that leads down and then up Queenston Heights, recounting key events in the battle.

ee also

* Monarchy in Ontario

References

External links

* [http://www.friendsoffortgeorge.ca/bm.htm Friends of Fort George--Brock's Monument page]
* [http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/English/exhibits/1812/saga.htm The Saga of Brock's Monument--Archives of Ontario]


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