Department of Canadian Heritage

Department of Canadian Heritage

July 23, 2014 09:00 ET

Future Site of the War of 1812 Monument Dedicated with Historic Soil and Waters

Monument Site Will Remember the Sacrifice Made on Battlefields Two Hundred Years Ago

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 23, 2014) - Department of Canadian Heritage

Ahead of the start of construction at the future site of the War of 1812 Monument, the Government of Canada took time to dedicate the site in remembrance of the bravery and sacrifice shown in one of Canada's pivotal conflicts.

Soil samples from 10 key War of 1812 battlefield sites, as well as water samples from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Lake Champlain, and some of the Great Lakes, were poured at the base of an Acer rubrum red maple tree that was planted in close proximity to the monument's future site. Cadets and a fife and drum corps were on hand to mark the occasion and demonstrate the importance of never forgetting the men and women who fought to defend their homes. The victory they helped win enabled a strong and independent Canada to come into existence within North America.

Canadian Heritage is pleased to work with Public Works and Government Services Canada and the National Capital Commission on this project, which will become a lasting symbol in the nation's capital of the importance of the War of 1812 in Canada's history.

Quick Facts

  • The national design competition for the War of 1812 Monument was launched in September 2012.

  • The design by Toronto sculptor Adrienne Alison won the competition. This was announced in June 2013.

  • The unveiling of the monument is planned for fall 2014.


"This monument in Canada's Capital will remind us how those of diverse backgrounds and various regions came together to fight for their land, their homes, and their families during the War of 1812. The story of the independent and free country we know today will be shared with the thousands of people who visit Parliament Hill and see this legacy."

-The Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Associated Links

The War of 1812

War of 1812 Battle Honours

War of 1812 Monument

The Maple Leaf - A national symbol of Canada

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The War of 1812 - The Fight for Canada

For the duration of the commemoration of the War of 1812, the Government of Canada is committed to remembering and honouring how Canadians from diverse backgrounds and regions came together to fight for Canada, and together grew a greater sense of nationhood. The War of 1812 Monument is one of the numerous initiatives in which the Government of Canada is investing to increase Canadians' awareness of this defining moment in our history.

As part of today's dedication ceremony, soil samples from 10 key battlefield sites and water samples from 6 bodies of water representing the important naval conflicts of the War of 1812 were poured at the base of a commemorative tree planted on Parliament Hill adjacent to the future site of the War of 1812 Monument.

Collecting samples of soil from battlefield sites and water from the scenes of major naval conflicts for commemorative purposes is an ancient military and navy tradition. The first 6 of the 10 soil samples come from decisive battles for which Battle Honours have been awarded to Canadian Army regiments linked to the War of 1812: "QUEENSTON," and "DETROIT," in 1812; "MAUMEE," "CHÂTEAUGUAY" and "CRYSLER'S FARM," in 1813; and "NIAGARA" for the actions on the Niagara Peninsula in 1814.

Parks Canada led the collection of soil samples from each of the following battlefield sites:

  1. Queenston Heights National Historic Site in Queenston, Ontario, was the location of the first major battle fought in Canada during the War of 1812. The battle was fought on October 13, 1812. Here, British, Canadian and First Nations forces defeated an invading American force. Today the site is marked by Brock's Monument, an iconic and imposing masonry column, which contains the tomb of Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, the British commander who was killed leading his troops during the battle. Four Canadian Army regiments linked to the battle carry the QUEENSTON Battle Honour.

  2. Fort Malden National Historic Site in Amherstburg, Ontario, was the mustering point for the British, Canadian, and First Nations forces that successfully captured Fort Detroit in August 1812. It was at Fort Malden on the Detroit River that Major-General Brock and Shawnee Chief Tecumseh met and formed their plan of attack on Detroit. The site today has remnants of the post-war fort and an interpretive centre with exhibits on the war. Five Canadian Army regiments linked to the battle carry the DETROIT Battle Honour.

  3. The Battle of Maumee occurred at Fort Meigs in Perrysburg, Ohio. The site is operated by the Fort Meigs Association (which provided the soil sample). The fort was the scene of a British, Canadian, and First Nations siege of Fort Meigs in late April and early May 1813. The battle took place on May 5 on the Maumee River near the fort. American forces suffered significant casualties, and while the siege ultimately proved unsuccessful, the victory at Maumee bought the defenders of Upper Canada (Ontario) preciously needed time. Today, visitors can view the reconstructed fortifications and tour museum exhibits containing hundreds of original artifacts. Two Canadian Army regiments linked to the battle carry the MAUMEE Battle Honour.

  4. Battle of Châteauguay National Historic Site in Howick, Quebec, was the site of a decisive American defeat on October 26, 1813. Led by Charles-Michel de Salaberry, a French-Canadian officer of the British Army, a force composed of Canadian militia and First Nations allies successfully defended Montréal from a much larger American army. Today, the site, located on a section of the battlefield, has an interpretive centre with displays on this crucial victory. Six Canadian Army regiments linked to the battle carry the CHÂTEAUGUAY Battle Honour.

  5. Battle of Crysler's Farm National Historic Site near Morrisburg, Ontario, is located within Upper Canada Village, which is administered by the St. Lawrence Parks Commission (which provided the soil sample), an agency of the Government of Ontario. The battle, on November 11, 1813, ended the second American thrust to capture Montréal (the other being the Battle of Châteauguay). While most of the original battlefield was flooded by the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1950s, visitors today can view the relocated monument to the battle; see the Battlefield Memorial Centre and experience the interactive exhibits in the Upper Canada Village Discovery Centre. Three Canadian Army regiments linked to the battle carry the CRYSLER'S FARM Battle Honour.

  6. Fort George National Historic Site in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, was first constructed in 1796 by the British and destroyed by the Americans in 1813. Rebuilt by the British in 1814, it was the location of one of several dramatic actions on the Niagara Peninsula in that year. Today the site contains a reconstruction of the 1796 fort and is one of Parks Canada's key sites in the commemoration of the War of 1812.

  7. Battlefield of Fort George National Historic Site is in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, on the rolling open landscape near the shore of Lake Ontario. On May 27, 1813, an American amphibious attack forced the British, Canadian, and First Nations defenders to abandon Fort George and the rest of the Niagara River frontier, and retreat to Burlington Heights (now a part of Hamilton, Ontario). U.S. troops occupied Fort George and the surrounding area until December 1813. Today much of the battlefield, marked by a cairn and plaque, lies underneath a residential neighbourhood of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

  8. Battle Hill National Historic Site near Wardsville, Ontario, is the location of the Battle of Longwoods, which was fought on March 4, 1814. Here, British, Canadian, and First Nations forces were repulsed by an American raiding party entrenched on a hill. Today, the site is marked by a cairn and plaque positioned on a small rise of land and surrounded by an iron fence.

  9. Battle of Cook's Mills National Historic Site in Welland, Ontario, was the location of an action that occurred on October 10, 1814, between American troops advancing from Fort Erie and British and Canadian units. After heavy skirmishing, the British and Canadian troops withdrew from the field. The battle was the last on the Niagara Peninsula during the War of 1812. Today, the site is marked by a cairn and plaque positioned on southwest corner of the battlefield.

  10. Fort York National Historic Site in Toronto, Ontario, was a focal point of the American raid on York on April 27, 1813. During the raid, the Americans captured the fort and the town of York from its British and Canadian defenders. The American army commander, Zebulon Pike, was mortally wounded and more than 250 of his troops became casualties when the fort's magazine was detonated by a slow fuse set by the British. Today the site, located downtown and administered by Heritage Toronto (which provided the soil sample), includes seven War of 1812-era buildings.

Parks Canada also led the collection of water samples from the following bodies of water:

  1. Atlantic Ocean: The ocean was the setting for hundreds of actions, both small and large, between vessels of the United States and Britain. The clash between the frigates USS Chesapeake and HMS Shannon, which occurred on June 1, 1813, outside of Boston Harbor, is commemorated as a national historic event and on a 2012 two-dollar coin. The war on the Atlantic was not just between ships of the United States and the Royal Navies. An extensive war of privateers was carried on by both sides. The most successful Nova Scotia privateer owner was Enos Collins, whose ship Liverpool Packet captured 50 American vessels. Collins is commemorated as a person of national historic significance.

  2. Lake Ontario: The easternmost of the Great Lakes was the scene of the largest naval building race of the War of 1812. At their respective naval bases-Kingston, Upper Canada (now Ontario) for the British and Sackets Harbor, New York for the Americans-shipwrights constructed warships that rivalled anything that sailed the oceans. The race culminated in October 1814 when the British launched the 104-gun ship of the line, HMS St. Lawrence. It was the largest wooden warship to ever sail the Great Lakes.

  3. Lake Erie was the scene for the most decisive naval action on the Great Lakes during the War of 1812. On September 10, 1813, an American squadron of nine vessels under Oliver Hazard Perry defeated and captured a Royal Navy flotilla of six ships commanded by Robert Herriot Barclay. The action resulted in the British evacuation of southwest Upper Canada (now Ontario) and the area's subsequent 20-month American occupation. The sacrifice of the sailors and soldiers of the British fleet, including soldiers drawn from the Royal Newfoundland Regiment acting as marines aboard the ships, is recognized as an event of national historic significance.

  4. Lake Huron: In one of the first actions of the war in July 1812, British soldiers, fur traders of the North West Company, and First Nations warriors paddled across northern Lake Huron from Fort St. Joseph, Upper Canada (now Ontario) to capture the strategic American fort on Michilimackinac Island, Michigan. In August 1814, an American flotilla found and burned the fur trade schooner Nancy, an event of national historic significance. Early the next month, the crew of the Nancy exacted their revenge. Led by Royal Navy Lieutenant Miller Worsley, the seamen and First Nations allies crossed the expanse of the lake in open boats and captured the U.S. Navy ships Tigress and Scorpion. This action is also an event of national historic significance.

  5. Lake Champlain: The decisive event on the lake during the War of 1812 was the clash between the British and American naval squadrons during the Battle of Plattsburgh Bay on September 11, 1814. The crushing American victory caused Sir George Prevost, the governor in chief of British North America, to abort his land attack on the town and end his campaign of invasion into northern New York state. The Royal Navy on Lake Champlain is an event of national historic significance.

  6. Pacific Ocean: The events of War of 1812 even reached the west coast of the Americas. In March 1814, Royal Navy ships cornered and defeated USS Essex off of Valparaiso, Chile. The American frigate had been on a mission to plunder the British Pacific Ocean whaling fleet. In October 1814, North West Company fur traders convinced the Americans to give up Fort Astoria, a fur trade post at the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon Territory.

Contact Information

  • Marisa Monnin
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
    and Official Languages

    Media Relations
    Canadian Heritage