Laura's Crossing

Artist John Wesley Cotton's rendition of the location where Laura Secord crossed Twelve Mile Creek on June 22nd, 1813 Image: [Toronto Public Library; Government of Ontario Art Collection].




Secord Significance

Laura's Crossing is a short section of Twelve Mile Creek where Laura Secord is believed to have made her way across the rain-swollen stream on a fallen log to warn the British forces of an impending American invasion. There are, of course, many issues that remain unresolved about her walk, including the details of her route, and the location of her creek crossing is no exception. But over the past several years, Brock University historian and geographer Professor Alun Hughes marshalled evidence from written sources, historic maps, and the actual topography and landscape of the area to create a compelling case for where Laura's crossing likely took place.

No one is absolutely certain of the exact spot where Laura Secord struggled across Twelve Mile Creek on a fallen log in her quest to warn the British of an impending American invasion. But most bets are on a meandering stretch of the historic watercourse that's now within the borders of Short Hills Provincial Park.

Laura Secord actually crossed Twelve Mile Creek twice during her epic trek. From her home in Queenston, she would likely have followed the main route of the old Iroquois Trail, now Queenston Street, York Road, and St. Paul Street, into Shipmans Corners, which was little more than a creekside village at the time.

On reaching modern-day Ontario Street, she would have cut to the left and descended into the steep valley of the Twelve Mile Creek, crossing it by means of a low level bridge that was in place in that era. There is no evidence that the wooden bridge at Shipman's Corners was destroyed in the War of 1812, so Laura's first crossing was probably not much of a challenge. A wooden swing bridge was erected there but it was later replaced with a steel truss bridge now devoted to pedestrians and cyclists at the foot of St. Paul's Crescent.

After crossing the creek Laura faced two choices. She could continue up the valley of the Twelve Mile Creek, or she could ascend the slope on the other side and follow Pelham Road. Alun Hughes believed the latter is likely what she did. Nowadays the lower part of the Twelve Mile Creek is fast-flowing, at times near a torrent, thanks to the two DeCew Falls Generating Stations at Power Glen, opened in 1898 and 1947. But in 1813 it was a small, meandering stream, flowing through what was probably a very damp flood plain. To venture up the valley would not have been a wise choice. She would probably have chosen to avoid the low wet areas. Hughes believes she would have planned in advance to make a more circuitous approach from the west, to avoid being overtaken by the American troops on their way to attack FitzGibbon.





Hughes, A. (2012). Following in Laura's Footsteps. See's%20Footsteps.pdf

Getting to Laura Secord's actual crossing site


The actual location of Laura Secord's crossing, just east of the Bridge at Laura's Crossing

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