Incorporating the Old Town of Niagara (which came to be called Niagara-on the Lake in the late 1800’s), and the towns of Virgil, St. David’s, and Queenston Heights, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a regional municipality with a very long military history. When the call went out for volunteers, Superintendent of Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada Ron Dale answered because of his special interest in the subject.
“My job is history,” Ron remarked, “and it’s hard to take the history out of the boy.”
With an eye to the historical, Ron chose the topic of the military history of Niagara-on-the-Lake. He videotaped several sites including Fort George, Butler’s Barracks, the Naval House, and Brock’s Monument at Queenston Heights. He also shot the vistas from the escarpment where the monument is located.
“I think it shows how close the two countries are together geographically and what a precarious border it was when the countries were at war during the War of 1812,” Ron said. “The military history is such a closely woven part of Niagara-on-the Lake and it’s something that shouldn’t be forgotten. We talk about our wonderful wineries and the Shaw Festival, and the shopping opportunities and the beautiful town, but it’s worthwhile, I think, for people to realize that at one time, this was a hotly contested battlefield—this was the front line—and the peace, the serenity, and the beauty that we enjoy today is something that was forged in the fires of the War of 1812.”
The military history of the region—just one part of OUR TOWN: Niagara-on-the-Lake.