My Trip +


Military veteran and activist

Countless women supported their families in domestic roles

Enduring the endless work of homemaking in pioneer times


Laura Secord biographer and feminist

Playwright and early feminist

Historian and museum founder


Out of the Wilderness: Pioneering Women

In these tours, we celebrate the accomplishments of pioneering women from all walks of life who helped to shape Canada. The tours are located along three sections of the Laura Secord Legacy Trail (1, 2 and 3), as well as in Old Town Niagara on the Lake. They examine various aspects of the lives and contributions of important pioneering women.

Prominent among them is our group's namesake, Laura Secord. Despite her historically disadvantaged role as a 'mere woman', Secord is known as a courier of critically important information that contributed to the defence of Canada. As such, she represents a wide spectrum of ordinary people, male and female, native and immigrant, whose daily struggles and contributions to the building of Canada went largely unnoticed, but who rose to the challenges of their circumstances with exceptional courage and heroism. Her legacy of determination, strength and patriotism continue to inspire successive generations.

The women profiled in the tours also include other War of 1812 heroines such as Julia Defield, Catherine Poole, Mary Henry, and Eliza Taylor, and of course Laura Secord herself, as well as later heroines such as early feminist writer Sarah Curzon, Secord biographer Emma Currie, historian Janet Carnochan, and sculptor and painter Emma Peel.

As artists, writers, activists, mothers, and wives, but most importantly as fiercely independent pioneering spirits, these women challenged propriety and convention, changing the course of history in ways that we are just beginning to appreciate.

First Nations Poet

Anti-slavery activist and hero







Related Points of Interest...







Pioneering Women

 OW 2-00 Introduction - Out of the Wilderness Stage 2 - Women in Laura Secord's World

In Stage Two, between Firemen"s Park and Niagara College, we"ll introduce you to some other special women who also lived in Laura"s time – and who, like Laura, stepped out of their traditional roles, showing bravery, courage, and determination….but th+

 OW 3-50 End of Monumental Women Tour

This is where we end Stage 3 of the Laura Secord Legacy Trail. We hope you have enjoyed hearing the stories of some of the monumental women who lived and worked in this area, and who changed its history - and indeed, in some cases, the history of the enti+

 PW 1-00 Introduction to Pioneering Women of Niagara

Welcome! Thank you for joining us on this tour – Pioneering Women of Niagara, presented by the Friends of Laura Secord, with the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.+

 OW 2-01 Out of the Wilderness Stage 2 - Women in Laura Secord's World

Welcome to Stage two of the Laura Secord Legacy Trail. Stage two runs between the north parking lot of Fireman"s Park and Niagara College, for a distance of about 6 and a half kilometres, or approximately one and a quarter hours, for the average walker.+

 OW 2-02 Women in Laura Secord's World - Life of a Pioneer Woman

If you were a woman in Laura Secord"s time, your life revolved around your home, your family and your husband.But it was the environment that shaped your life.+

 OW 2-03 Women in Laura Secord's World - Julia Defield and Catherine Pool

Meet Julia Defield. She captured an American"s sword. Julia, her friend Jane Kirby, and her child survived the battle with the sword"s owner- and Julia even managed to hide the sword.And then there was Catherine Pool. She was a nice Canadian girl...but sh+

 OW 2-04 Women in Laura Secord's World - Mary Henry

Mary Henry made sure that the soldiers on the battlefield had water to drink, had dressings for their wounds, and had someone to hold them as they died.Mary Henry was like an angel, they said. +

 OW 2-05 Women in Laura Secord's World - Betsy Doyle

In November, 1812, the British began firing on Fort Niagara. And as the soldiers around her were being killed or wounded, Betsy began loading the hotshot to the cannons. She fought alongside the soldiers of the First Regiment of the United States Artiller+

 PW 1-05 Janet Carnochan and the Niagara Historical Society and Museum

The Niagara Historical Society and Museum was founded in 1895, by Janet Carnochan, a teacher and passionate historian dedicated to preserving and honouring Niagara"s unique history.+

 OW 2-06 Women in Laura Secord's World - Elizabeth Campbell and Eliza Taylor - Conclusion

Elizabeth Campbell watched as her handsome Niagara home, two acres of land, fruit trees, and stables all burned to ashes. She lost one child, a newborn.As Niagara burned, Eliza Taylor hid her four children in the root cellar.+

 PW 1-07 Parliament Oak School and Harriet Tubman memorial

As you walk past Parliament Oak School on your right, you will see an encased metal memorial dedicated to Harriet Tubman, and the inscribed mural and plaque depicting Upper Canada"s first Parliament.+

 PW 1-08 Eliza Taylor and The Wilderness

Barbary Worthy tells the story of ElizaTaylor, who sought shelter from the Americans in the house at 407 King Street and hid her children in the root cellar.+

 OW 3-40 Lillian Phelps - Alexandra Hall

Lillian Phelps was a well-known women"s rights activist and speaker who was born in St. Catharines in 1859. She was was instrumental in the founding of Alexandra Hall, a residence to safeguard the physical safety and moral well-being of young women who ca+

 OW 1-00: Lauras Life - Introduction

Join veteran Shaw actor Jennifer Phipps as she brings Laura to life, gets inside her head - and shares a piece of her mind. Often pensive, occasionally crotchety, sometimes witty, and always philosophical,Laura reflects on a lifetime filled with unsought +

 PW 1-10 Julia Defield and Catharine Pool

Julia Defield is renowned for her heroism in saving British military commander Captain James Fitzgibbon from marauding American soldiers who had invaded her home on the Portage Road (now Main Street) near Lundy"s Lane. Catherine Pool was a courageous wom+

 OW 1-01: The trail begins here

Today you are joining us on the tour we call" "Out of the Wilderness - The Women in Laura Secord"s World". The trail runs between the Secord Homestead in Queenston, and Fireman"s Park, on the crest of the Niagara Escarpment. Along the trail, you will hea+

 OW 3-38 Laura Secord Building at 32 Church St

The Laura Secord Building commemorates the Upper Canada Heroine"s role in the pivotal Battle of Beaver Dams in June of 1813. As part of the Bicentennial celebrations of the War of 1812, the Federal Government decided to rename buildings after prominent fi+

 OW 1-04: Dee Road and Willowbank

Turn left on to Dee Road. Until 2012 this lane was considered a wonderful example of the few remaining country lanes in Ontario.+

 PW 1-13 240 Centre Street Niagara Seminary for Young Ladies

At the corner, turn right on Centre Street. +

 OW 3-36 Home of Emma Currie

Right here was 98 King Street. This was Emma Currie"s home.The address actually no longer exists. The streetscape has changed dramatically since 1913. +

 OW 3-35 Emma Currie - Celebrating a Hometown Heroine

A Niagara native raised in St. Davids, Ontario, Emma Currie epitomized the progressive, forward thinking women of the late 19th century. Emma Currie is credited with producing the first factual and definitive portrayal of Laura Secord, who for part of her+

 PW 1-15 Janet Carnochan and St Andrews Presbyterian Church

St. Andrew"s Presbyterian Church is where Janet Carnochan taught Sunday school, raised funds for the church and numerous community missions, and was buried here in 1926.+

 OW 1-07: Dee Road Viewshed

Though otherwise quite featureless, few places in Niagara offer such a good unobstructed view of the Niagara Escarpment, Brock's Monument, the western edge of the village of Queenston, and Queenston Heights as does this open location among the fields and +

 OW 1-08: Legend Meets Fact - Part 1: Mother and Wife

"I was a mother, and a wife. I tried to tell them - anyone would have done the same thing. If you hear something that"s bad - really bad - and you know something is about to happen that could harm your family, your community, your country – and maybe, j+

 OW 3-31 Harriet Tubman Bust and British Methodist Episcopal Church

The British Methodist Episcopal Church, also known as Salem Chapel was founded in 1820 in the heart of old St. Catharines, by African-American freedom seekers. Salem Chapel was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1999, and is marked outside b+

 PW 1-18 Fort Mississauga and the Mississauga Lighthouse

​On the grounds of Ft Mississauga the Mississauga Lighthouse once stood. It was built in 1804 and was the first lighthouse on the great lakes. The lighthouse was damaged in the Battle of Fort George, in 1813, and demolished by the British in 1814 when t+

 OW 1-11: Legend Meets Fact, Part 2: Great Barrington to Upper Canada

"James"s family - the Secords - had arrived in St. Davids when James was only three years old.The Secords were some of the first Loyalists to come here. They were forced to leave the new United States. And they were looking for protection. They found it u+

 PW 1-19 The Story of Mary Henry

Barbary Worthy tells the story of Mary Henry, one of the courageous women who lived in Upper Canada at the time of Laura Secord.+

 OW 3-24 Unpacking the Closet - Sarah Curzon, Laura Secord, and Early Feminism in Canada

Laura Secord"s accomplishments were meaningful and symbolic to women historians and feminists of the 19th century – and to none more than Sarah Anne Curzon, a forward-thinking and progressive early feminist author who immortalized the Secord story in 18+

 OW 1-18: Legend Meets Fact - Part 3: Settlers Life

"You can see how wild this land must have been. You can see it in the forests, and the bush now. This land was wild, untamed, and beautiful.The Indians had been here for many years, and now we were moving in.The settlers were coming..."+

 OW 1-19: Legend Meets Fact: Part 4 - War Is Imminent

"In 1812, rumblings of war between the United States and Britain were everywhere.Niagara was about to become a major battlefield, in a war of loyalties, land and power, fought between nations old and new.For Laura and her family, it came all too soon...."+

 PW 1-26 Fort Niagara and Betsy Doyle

Barbary Worthy tells the story of Betsy Doyle, a courageous American women who fought alongside the American forces in their battles with the British, then fled with her family on foot for more than 500 kilometres.+

 OW 1-20: Legend meets Fact: Part 5 - American Invasion

"It was 1813. Two great leaders had been killed – the Shawnee war chief, Tecumseh, and General Issac Brock.And the worst had happened. The Americans had taken over Fort George. The occupation of Upper Canada had begun."+

 OW 1-21: Legend Meets Fact: Part 6 - The Walk Begins

"The Americans pushed the British as far back as the Burlington Heights.But they didn"t chase them.Instead they settled in at Fort George.But they kept sentry posts throughout the area, they watched our homes, they took our guns. They took our boys. They +

 OW 1-22: Legend Meets Fact: Part 7 - The Niagara Wilderness

"The next morning before sunrise – June 22, 1813 –I walked out of my house.My five children were still sleeping.Flo and Pete were starting their chores.We wanted it to look like any other day..."+

 OW 1-23: Legend Meets Fact: Part 8 - The Message Delivered

"Yes…I was frightened…At times I could hardly breathe.And I didn"t allow myself to think.All I could do was concentrate on my next step, what was under my foot, not getting lost, and listening. Always listening."+

 Teasels, Textiles, and Tribulations

Despite more than two centuries of modernization, there are still occasional relicts in the landscape which harken back to our pioneer past. One of these is the humble teasel, a spiny thistle-like plant that still grows alongside the Laura Secord Legacy T+

 OW 1-26: Legend Meets Fact: Part 9 - Native Victory

"On June 24, the Americans marched into an ambush. They were led by Colonel Charles Boerstler. And there were maybe 700 of them. They were met at Beaver Dams by the Grand River warriors, led by John Brant and William Johnson Kerr, with Mohawks from Kahnaw+

 OW 3-16 Mildred Peel story III - passing Victoria Lawn Cemetery

As you walk along Queenston Road you"ll find yourself walking past a vast cemetery. This is Victoria Lawn Cemetery, established in 1856 as the St. Catharines Cemetery and renamed after Queen Victoria in the early 1900s. As we pass the cemetery and its mon+

 OW 1-27: Legend Meets Fact: Part 10 - Old, Forgotten...Then Rediscovered

"There were many years after spent in silence. Not wanting to tell. We lived under the fear of another American invasion. Spies were shot. But soon, others started to speak, to share their stories. We were all due compensation. We had all lost so much..."+

 OW 1-28: Legend Meets Fact: Part 11- The Walk Into History

"They say I walked into history..."+

 OW 1-29: Legend Meets Fact: -Part 12 - Credits

You have been listening to ,Laura Secord – Legend Meets Fact,, brought to you by the Friends of Laura Secord. Jennifer Phipps played the part of Laura Secord. Narration was by Barbara Worthy. +

 PW 1-29 St Marks Anglican Church and Elizabeth Campbell

Barbary Worthy tells the story of Elizabeth Campbell, the widow of Fort Major Donald Campbell, who lived through the burning of Newark in 1813.+

 OW 3-10 Mildred Peel II -The famous bronze bust of Laura Secord

The Mildred Peel bust of Laura Secord that adorns her grave in Drummond Hill Cemetery still stands as a precedent-setting recognition of the exploits of Laura Secord in particular, and of Canadian women in general. +

 PW 1-33 Conclusion approaching the Parks Canada Agora

You have arrived back at your starting point, at the Parks Canada Agora, and car park.Thank you for joining us on the Laura Secord Interactive Tour. We hope you"ve enjoyed discovering the history and stories of some of this area"s wonderful pioneering wom+

 Bronze Busts and Bearded Ladies I - Mildred Peel's Artistic Legacy

Creating an artistic likeness of a person which captures the essence of their personality and accomplishments is a challenging undertaking. Laura Secord"s strength, determination and resourcefulness were beautifully captured in the famous 1901 bronze bust+

 OW 3-07 Mildred Peel I - Continue walking along the sidewalk on Taylor Road

Continue walking along the sidewalk on Taylor Road. As you walk along this rather featureless concrete sidewalk, Barbara will capture your imagination, with a story of a little-known woman who was monumental in both a literal and a figurative sense: sculp+

 OW 3-00 Introduction to Monumental Women Tour

On this tour, Barbra Worthy will introduce you to a few of the most impressive women associated with the City of St. Catharines and the Laura Secord story. It runs between Niagara College in Niagara on the Lake, and Rodman Hall in St Catharines, for a dis+

 Unpacking the Closet - Sarah Curzon, Laura Secord, and Early Feminism in Canada

Laura Secord"s accomplishments were meaningful and symbolic to women historians and feminists of the 19th century – and to none more than Sarah Anne Curzon, a forward-thinking and progressive early feminist author who immortalized the Secord story in 18+

 Bronze Busts and Bearded Ladies, Part III: Hubby’s Whiskers and Mother’s Face: The (slightly scandalous) Mildred Peel Portrait of Laura Secord

There was always something a bit strange about the 1905 portrait of Laura Secord painted by Canadian artist Mildred Peel...+

 Julia Defield - Women in Laura Secord's World

Julia Defield is renowned for her heroism in saving British military commander Captain James Fitzgibbon from marauding American soldiers who had invaded her home on the Portage Road (now Main Street) near Lundy"s Lane. Audio clip SC26.+