Across Ontario, there are many surviving enclaves of the 19th century. In the middle of that century, much of the Province saw a massive upswing in population growth. But none can compare to one of the oldest urban centres in Ontario, that of Niagara-On-The-Lake. And Heather and I took a short getaway here last week after discovering the lovely Pillar & Post Inn the previous year. The small peninsula that sits at the mouth of the Niagara River first saw human settlement back in 100 CE by an off-shoot of a people known as the Mound Builders. Little is known of these people in Canada;Read More →

While the construction of the canal inspired a great deal of urbanization of the Niagara Region, but not all towns came into being because of the canal. Even before the canal came to the region, the area attracted a great deal of colonization in the days during and following the American Revolution mainly by Loyalists. Officially today they’re called United Empire Loyalists, and they formed the core of the original European population in Upper Canada, created out of the Province of Quebec. Quebec had been under British occupation since the end of the French-Indian War, and the government was maintained to match that of NewRead More →

There’s a certain axiom when dealing with history, it comes from the reimaging Battlestar Galactica, all of this has happened before, all of this will happen again. The rise of the reform movement and the radicalisation of elements of the reform movement merely in response to extremism on the opposite end of the political spectrum. And yes this is where we get messy and political. While Upper Canada saw a great deal of expansion and improvement under the governorship of Sir Peregrine Maitland and Sir John Colborne, not all were happy with how the Colonial Parliament operated. These complaints were brought to light when RobertRead More →

There are many figured in our history that changed the course of Canadian History, think Sir John A. MacDonald, William Lyon MacKenzie, Robert Baldwin, Louis LaFontaine. However, all these men owe their contributions to a single person, Robert Gourlay. Gourlay’s presence in Upper Canada would ignite the spark of reform here in Upper Canada. Upper Canada in the early 19th-Century was a vast rural backwater. Urban centres were few and far between cities that we know today were little more than muddy villages in the middle of the vast forest. The undeveloped nature of the Province gave those in control, the colonial elite, access toRead More →

Out of all the projects I have done in the past, this is the only one I can say has been a long time coming. But when I look back at how long it took me to prepare this project from conception to final project, it has not been that long. I mean I spent five years working on my War of 1812 project, but that was a logistical mess from the start. Acts of Confederation has been a slow burn, I started working on the framework in 2017, completed most of the writing in 2018 while collecting all but a single final roll ofRead More →

While many regiments served with distinction during the Anglo-American War of 1812 on both sides of the fighting, I would not be able to share with you the tales of every single one. As many have histories that stretch well before and after the war and some even, have units that carry on these traditions still today. There is, however, one unit that stands out in the history of the war and of Canada. The 104th (New Brunswick) Regiment of Foot served their king and country both in combat and how they arrived at the main theater of the war. The Fredericton Barracks while notRead More →

The life blood of Upper Canada was the St. Lawrence River, long before it was the mighty seaway we know today it was just a river, often times areas of rapids and flowed past several loyalist settlements that were established following the American Revolution. The river was a link to the major centers of the colonies of British North American, the mighty fortress and administrative capital of Quebec City and the major seaport of Halifax to the smaller settlements in Upper Canada. It was also the weak point, cut off access to the river at either end and you could choke Upper Canada. In factRead More →

The St. Lawrence River had remained relatively quiet during the first year of the war, in fact it was for the most part downright peaceful. Both sides were enjoying a rather healthy trade relationship. The simple fact was that most of the St. Lawrence valley was occupied by Loyalists, those who went to or were forced to move to the colony of Upper Canada following the American Revolution, and many still had family on the American side of the river. This was not going to fly in 1813, as the war escalated, raids became common. On the 6th of February, a raid lead by MajorRead More →

The Battle of Cooks Mill was the final battle in the sequence surrounding the last campaign on the Niagara Peninsula in 1814. By the 21st of September, General Gordon Drummond had lifted the siege against Fort Erie where the Americans had holed up, pulled back and established a fortified line at Chippawa to refit and restore his army and prevent the Americans from rolling up the peninsula. The Chippawa River today, the fortifications are long gone. General Izard arrived at Fort Erie on the 28th of September with fresh troops to reinforce General Brown’s army. Brown having access to a large force again wanted toRead More →

One of the most controversial and convoluted battle in the War of 1812 is that of the Battle of Beaver Dams. It’s also been my most active posts in the project, at least my original posts. I have received more hate mail and rude comments (both of which will never be made public) so rather than let it stand as it is, I did what any good student of history would do, that is research more and learn more. In doing so I came across two books (both of which are cited at the bottom of this post) that have greatly opened my eyes toRead More →