Laura Secord Monument, Queenston Heights

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Left: Bas-relief portrait of a mature Laura Secord. Right: Laura Secord Monument with inscription commemorating her heroism and bravery.


Secord Significance


The Laura Secord Monument is located in Queenston Heights Park, east of the Brock Monument. It has an image of Laura in her later life and a short dedication as a memorial to her historic walk and the rescue of her husband during the Battle of Queenston Heights.


The Story of the Monument

Located on the edge of the Escarpment in Queenston Heights Park, the Laura Secord Monument at Queenston Heights reads:

To Laura Ingersoll Secord, who saved her husband's life in the battle on these Heights October 13th 1812 and who risked her own in conveying to Capt. FitzGibbon information by which he won the victory of Beaverdams.

The Laura Secord monument is situated in front of a low stone wall overlooking the lower Niagara River and the village of Queenston, at the end of a walking path. It's made up of three plinths of graduating sizes which form the base, topped with a column and a shallow four-sided conical top. An oval plaque bearing Laura Secord's image is centered in the column. She may not look the way many of us remember her stylized corporate image on the chocolate boxes that bear her name, but the bronze image of an eldery Laura Secord that you see on the monument is quite faithful to the historical truth.

The Laura Secord monument is located 160 metres east of the Brock Monument, the imposing column which commemorates Sir Isaac Brock. (Established in 1853, the Brock Monument actually the second such structure; the first Brock monument, erected in 1824, was irrevocably damaged by an explosive charge on April 17, 1840, believed to be detonated by Benjamin Lett, an anti-British agitator and participant in the 1837 Upper Canada Rebellion).

Though this Laura Secord monument at Queenston Heights is perhaps the best known public memorial to celebrate Laura Secord's life and exploits, it was not the first. The bronze bust at her gravesite in the Drummond Hill Cemetery in Lundy's Lane pre-dated it by almost a decade. The Queenston Heights monument engendered considerable controversy on two main fronts: amongst those who thought that Laura Secord deserved a far grander monument than the one that was eventually built, and those who opposed the erection of another monument altogether, arguing instead that a building bearing her name would be a more fitting tribute.

Members of the United Empire Loyalist Association felt that a monument should be located at Queenston Heights and be of much grander proportions than the modest bust in the cemetery. A Monument Committee was established, and in 1901 they published a paper entitled 'A National Monument to Laura Secord – Why it should be Erected'. The paper, read by Committee President R.E.A. Land before the United Empire Loyalist Association of Ontario on October 4th, 1901, solicited funds for the establishment of a monument at Queenston Heights.

However, upon hearing of the Dominion of Canada's grant of two thousand dollars to establish the Secord monument at Queenston Heights, Edna Lowrey, secretary of the Women's Institute of Queenston and St. David's, protested the proposed expenditure to John Jackson, the commissioner of the Niagara Parks Commission. Lowrey suggested that no monument could ever compete with the massive Brock's Monument nearby. Some historians believe she also implied that Laura Secord's important legacy would be similarly diminished by comparison. The Women's Institute proposed that a Laura Secord memorial hall built of brick or stone and housing artifacts and relics of the War of 1812 would make a much more suitable and appropriate addition to the park at Queenston Heights than another monument. Their appeal was politely but firmly refused by Jackson and Parks Commission Chairman John Langmuir, who stated that the government grant recipients did not see fit to change their plans, and that work on the monument had already been contracted out.

And so it came to be that the current Laura Secord Monument was established at Queenston Heights, though Secord biographer Emma Currie continued to urge that a life-sized statue of Laura Secord be established on the site, even after the current monument had already been installed.


Address

Address:

Queenston Heights Park
Queenston, Ontario
Municipality Niagara on the Lake

Latitude: 43.158721
Longitude: -79.05148