With spring coming, many people are heading outside more and more. If you’re looking for something to do on a beautiful day, you might enjoy the Queenston Heights walking tour. It is probably my favourite place to be in the spring months. The walking paths are lined with apple and cherry blossom trees in bloom, tulips are budding all around the grounds and of course Brock’s Monument opens for climbing.
Queenston Heights today is a beautiful National Historical site with pavilions, a wading pool, picnic tables and a restaurant – but almost 200 years ago it was a bloody, deadly battlefield. The Battle of Queenston Heights is one of the most famous battles in Canadian history.
Today the park is owned and taken care of by Parks Canada. The site includes a self guided walking tour of the historic sites associated with this important battleground and two monuments: Laura Secord’s Monument and the much more noticeable Brock’s Monument. At the base of Brock’s Monument you can look through a small collection of pictures and artefacts from the battle for a small fee of $1-$3 a person. This also includes climbing the monument and any of your questions answered by the costumed staff.
The monument is Sir Isaac Brock’s gravesite, and has his remains built into the walls along with one of his Canadian aides-de-camp, Lieutenant-Colonel John Macdonell. However, it was built in the 1800s, so it was also built to be a lookout over the border and the Niagara River in case of an attack or invasion. As you climb the old monument you can stop and look through porthole windows that would have been used to shoot at the enemy if approached. After climbing the very steep 235 steps you reach a very small indoor platform at the top, just beneath Brock’s statue. You can look through larger portholes to view the border, the Niagara Region and the river.
Also, a lot of people don’t know that this is the second Brock’s Monument. The first one was destroyed by a terrorist attack in 1840, and the one that is there now was opened in 1859.
It is a lot of fun and a great educational experience for any age. However, I do not recommend climbing the monument or the walking tour if you have asthma, heart conditions, claustrophobia, a fear of heights or a fear of very narrow spiralling staircases without railings. But aside from that, it’s great!
For more information on the monument or Brock himself, go to http://www.niagaraparks.com/heritage-trail/brocks-monument.html
For fees and hours of operation see http://www.friendsoffortgeorge.ca/bm.htm