Tag Archives: Niagara Falls

Higher than Niagara Falls!

Canada boasts so many beautiful locations, for tourists and visitors alike.  We are all familiar with Niagara Falls, which borders Canada and the United States.  But in Quebec there is a special gem called Montmorency Falls and is 30 meters higher than Niagara Falls!

It is at the junction of Montmorency River and the St. Lawrence River, about 10 kilometres east of Quebec City.  It has captured people’s fascination and awe since the years of Champlain.  Like most of Canada’s geography, there is a different experience to be had if you visit in the summer or in the winter.  The following videos can show you its beauty more than my words ever could.  Enjoy them.








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Definitely More Than Chocolates!

Laura Secord is a Canadian chocolatier, confectionery, and ice cream company that was founded by Frank P. O’Connor. It was to commemorate the centennial of Laura Secord’s walk in 1913, and to capitalize on Canadian patriotic feelings.  In this vein, allow me to introduce you to Laura Secord, Canadian heroine of the War of 1812.

Laura Secord in 1865

Laura Secord in 1865

She was born Laura Ingersoll, on September 13, 1775 in Great Barrington, Province of Massachusetts Bay.  She died on October 17, 1868 at the age of 93, in the Village of Chippawa, Ontario.  She married James Secord in 1797 and together they had seven children:

  • Mary (1799)
  • Charlotte (1801)
  • Harriet (1803)
  • Charles Badeau (1809)
  • Appolonia (1810)
  • Laura Ann (1815)
  • Hannah (1817)

James Secord was seriously wounded at the Battle of Queenston Heights early in the War of 1812. While he was still recovering in 1813, the Americans invaded the Niagara Peninsula, including Queenston (where they lived).

It was during this occupation that Secord overheard information about a planned American attack.  So that night, June 22, she sneaked out to inform Lieutenant James FitzGibbon.  To reach him, she walked 32 km (20 miles) from present-day Queenston through St. Davids, Homer, Shipman’s Corners and Short Hills at the Niagara Escarpment.  She arrived at the camp of allied Mohawk warriors who led her the rest of the way to FitzGibbon’s headquarters at the DeCew House.

There is debate among historians about the exact details, but many agree that the walk was dangerous, as it was American-occupied territory.

It was said that Laura had brought a cow with her as an excuse to leave her home in case the American patrols questioned her.

With her information, a small British force and a larger contingent of Mohawk warriors, they repelled the invading Americans at the Battle of Beaver Dams.  Most of the American forces were casualties or were taken prisoner.

I do hereby Certify that on the 22d. day of June 1813, Mrs. Secord, Wife of James Secord, Esqr. then of St. David’s, came to me at the Beaver Dam after Sun Set, having come from her house at St. David’s by a circuitous route a distance of twelve miles, and informed me that her Husband had learnt from an American officer the preceding night that a Detachment from the American Army then in Fort George would be sent out on the following morning (the 23d.) for the purpose of Surprising and capturing a Detachment of the 49th Regt. then at Beaver Dam under my Command. In Consequence of this information, I placed the Indians under Norton together with my own Detachment in a Situation to intercept the American Detachment and we occupied it during the night of the 22d. – but the Enemy did not come until the morning of the 24th when his Detachment was captured. Colonel Boerstler, their commander, in a conversation with me confirmed fully the information communicated to me by Mrs. Secord and accounted for the attempt not having been made on the 23rd. as at first intended.
—  James FitzGibbon, letter dated 11 May 1827

Laura Secord died in 1868 at the age of 93.  She was interred next to her husband in the Drummond Hill Cemetery in Niagara Falls.  Her grave is marked by a monument with a bust on top, and is close to a monument marking the Battle of Lundy’s Lane.  The inscription on her grave marker reads:

To perpetuate the name and fame of Laura Secord, who walked alone nearly 20 miles by a circuitous difficult and perilous route, through woods and swamps and over miry roads to warn a British outpost at DeCew’s Falls of an intended attack and thereby enabled Lt. FitzGibbon on 24 June 1813, with fewer than 50 men of the H.M. 49th Regt., about 15 militiamen and a small force of Six Nations and other Indians under Capt. William Johnson Kerr and Dominique Ducharme to surprise and attack the enemy at Beechwoods (or Beaver Dams) and after a short engagement, to capture Col. Bosler of the U.S. Army and his entire force of 542 men with two field pieces.


A few places to learn more about Laura Secord’s legacy, bravery and account of her life, I would suggest going to:





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This week in Canadian History – January Week 1

W.L. Mackenzie King.

W.L. Mackenzie King. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Prime Minister Mackenzie King of Canada

Prime Minister Mackenzie King of Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I am incapable of moderating the spirit of party — I am hot and fiery and age has not yet tempered as much as I could wish my political conduct and opinions.”

– W. L. Mackenzie, 1835

Anyone can make good in Canada regardless of his background. Take William Lyon Mackenzie King, who was prime minister for most of the years between 1921 and 1948, longer than any other leader in the British Commonwealth. Yet his grandfather, William Lyon Mackenzie, probably caused more trouble than any other man in the history of the country.

Like Joseph Howe (see ), Mackenzie was reformer and newspaper editor. In his paper, the Colonial Advocate, he kept bombarding the governor and his advisers with criticisms. He made the ruling classes so angry that a group from the “best families” raided his office, and threw his type (pieces of metal with raised surfaces used in letterpress printing) into Toronto Bay. Mackenzie sued them and used the $3,000 he received in damages to pay off his debts and make a fresh start.

The raid helped him more than financially, though. In 1828 he was elected to the Upper Canada Assembly as one of two members for York. During his parliamentary career he was expelled five times, but was always re-elected! On January 2, 1832, he won a by-election by 119 votes to 1 and was presented with a gold medal. In 1835, the year after York was renamed Toronto, Mackenzie became its first mayor .

Gradually Mackenzie’s emotions overcame his commonsense, and in 1837 he led an armed revolt against the government of Upper Canada. It was a easily crushed, and he fled to the United States. He established a base on Navy Island above Niagara Falls, proclaimed a provisional government, and even attacked a military establishment at Chippawa. Canadian militia led by Allan MacNab, who later became prime minister, set his supply ship Caroline on fire and sent it over the falls. One American was killed in the fighting.

This caused so much indignation that war almost broke between Britain and the United States. Cooler heads prevailed, and Mackenzie was put in jail for a while. Soon after, he was allowed to return to Canada.

William Lyon Mackenzie King, his grandson, was always proud of his rebel ancestor.

To read more about today’s post, I suggest visiting the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, and the 123 Help Me (great new site I just found), and finally the Windsor’s Scottish Heritage.

If you prefer to hold an old-fashioned book, I suggest William Lyon Mackenzie King, and William Lyon Mackenzie King, as well as King: William Lyon Mackenzie King: A Life Guided by the Hand of Destiny.


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When Does “Daring” Become “Foolish”?

English: Blondin carrying his manager, Harry C...

This is not the most important thing that has happened in Canada on September 15 over the years, but it is perhaps one of the most colourful.  Edward Prince of Wales came to Canada in 1860 representing Queen Victoria.  He opened Victoria Bridge in Montreal, laid the cornerstone of the original Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, and presided at several important functions.  When Queen Victoria died, he became King Edward VII.

Edward was only a young man when he came to Canada in 1860, and efforts were made to see that he had a good time, despite his dour guardian, the Duke of Newcastle.  One of the entertainments was a visit to Niagara Falls on September 15, where he saw an astonishing performance by the great French tightrope walker Blondin, whose real name was Jean François Gravelet.

A tight-rope was stretched across the river, over the roaring cauldron of the falls, and Blondin crossed to the other side carrying a man on his back!  When he returned, he amazed everyone by getting on stilts and walking across on them!  The Prince was so delighted that he gave Blondin a purse of $400.  They became great friends and Blondin eventually went to live in London, where he died in 1897 at the age of eighty.

Blondin. (Tightrope walker dangling from a wir...

Blondin. (Tightrope walker dangling from a wire over the Niagara.), from Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blondin walked the tightrope over Niagara Falls a number of times.  It was 1, 100 feet long, and 160 feet above the water.  The first time, in 1859, he went across blindfolded.  Then he crossed in a sack.  On another occasion he pushed a wheelbarrow.  Perhaps his greatest achievement was that of carrying a small stove to the half way mark, and balancing there while he cooked and ate an omelette.

Blondin kept stunting in other parts of the world until he was seventy-nine, and he never had a serious accident.  His last performance was in Belfast, Ireland.

To read more about Niagara Falls “artists”, I suggest going to Niagara Parks Canada.


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The Experiments Ended …

USS Akron (ZRS-4) approaches mooring mast, cir...

USS Akron (ZRS-4) approaches mooring mast, circa 1931-1933. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For many years after 1930, there was a steel tower 200 feet high at St. Hubert’s airfield, which was the airport for Montreal until Dorval was opened.  It was a mooring mast for the R-100, a British airship that crossed the Atlantic arrived at Montreal on August 1, 1930.  It was pioneering a plan to offer an airship service throughout the British Commonwealth.

Eight non-stop flights had been made over the Atlantic by British and German airships when the R-100 made its flight to Canada in 1930.  The trip was carefully prepared, with work on the mooring mast at St. Hubert starting in November 1927.  The venture was financed jointly by Britain and Canada, with Lieutenant-Commander A. B. Pressy of the Royal Canadian Navy in charge of the mooring mast.

The flight of the R-100 across the Atlantic was one of the marvels of the time.  It left Cardington, England, on July 29 at 3:30 a.m. and arrived over Montreal on the night of July 31; it had to cruise around until dawn until it could connect with the mooring tower.  The flight took 78 hours and 52 minutes (to give you an idea of what that means, modern aircraft fly from London to Montreal in less than 7 hours).

The “dirigible,” as airships were called, had been damaged by a storm while coming up the St. Lawrence, but was repaired quickly so that it could go on a demonstration flight.  What excitement there was when it flew over Ottawa after dark, and was illuminated by searchlights from the Parliament Buildings!  It appeared over Niagara Falls at 6 a.m. and then flew over Hamilton and Toronto while people were going to work.

It looked as though airships were going to be the mode of travel for the future, but they were too vulnerable to the elements.  Two months after the R-100 to Canada, the R-100 crashed on a flight to India, killing forty-six people, including every British authority on airship operation.  In April 1933, the U.S. Akron crashed into the Atlantic off the coast of New Jersey with seventy-three lives lost.  The U. S. Macon was another casualty.

The experiments with airships ended in 1937 when the giant Von Hindenburg exploded and burned while landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey.  Meanwhile, conventional aircraft were beginning to span the Atlantic.

For more information of the R-100, I suggest visiting – User: – User: ajor_Dundee. Virtual has made a complete page about it – you must visit, and watch the video too. Another great site to visit is The All great places to start!


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6,500 Canadians Needed New Homes!

English: The Welland Canal's Lock 7 at Thorold...

English: The Welland Canal’s Lock 7 at Thorold, Ontario. The Welland Canal is a ship canal in Canada, that runs 43,4 km (27.0 miles) from Port Colborne, Ontario on Lake Erie to Port Weller, Ontario on Lake Ontario. The canal is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


An outstanding example of co-operation between Canada and the United States is the St. Lawrence Seaway, which was officially opened on June 26, 1959, by Queen Elizabeth for Canada, and President Eisenhower for the United States.

The St. Lawrence Seaway is a canal 191 miles long, enabling large ocean freighters to travel from the Atlantic to Lake Ontario and then continue to Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, using other canals that had already been built.  The Seaway is also an important source of electric power, generated by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario and the Power Authority of the State of New York.

Canada had done a great deal of work on a seaway before the building of the present canal began in 1954.  The first canal past the Lachine Rapids above Montreal was built in 1700, and was enlarged in 1821.  About that time, Canada and the States began talking about building something bigger and better.  The Americans were never able to co-operate, and Canada kept enlarging the waterway through Lake Ontario.  By 1883, the canal had a depth of 14 feet.  Another integral part of the waterway through to Lake Erie was the Welland Canal, by-passing Niagara Falls.

In 1932, it looked as though the dream of attracting ocean-going ships into the Great Lakes was becoming a reality when Canada and the States signed the St. Lawrence Deep Waterway Treaty.  However, strong railway, shipping and other interests in the States opposed it, and the Senate would not pass the bill.

Finally, in 1952, Canada decided to “go it alone” and build a deep-water seaway entirely in Canadian territory.  This decision led Congress to take swift action and the Seaway was built as a joint venture.  As Canada had already spent millions of dollars on the St. Lawrence and Welland Canal, the States spent a larger share on the cost of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The control dam required by the power project flooded a large area between Cornwall and Iroquois, and necessitated the removal of entire communities.  New homes had to be provided for 6,500 people; 40 miles of the C.N.R. had to be rerouted, and Highway 2 relocated.  Many improvements were made, including the creation of Upper Canada Village in Crysler’s Farm Battlefield Park, now a popular tourist attraction.

To read more about the St. Lawrence Seaway, a few sites I suggest are the CBC Archives, with two particular subjects: the first is Queen opens St. Lawrence Seaway with U.S. President Eisenhower, and the second is Queen Elizabeth officially opens the St. Lawrence Seaway. I also suggest is Quebec’s There’s a Place for you in Engineering (a new site I found that kids would like), and Yahoo! Voices with an article written by Cherie Bowser. Still want more? I also suggest a great coverage at the Canadian Geographic Magazine, and then the Canadian Encyclopedia, as well as the Minnesota Sea Grant.And finally I would go to Legion Magazine for a great article, “The Lost Villages.”


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Thinking of Visiting Canada Eh?

An amusing post from some nice “folks” who visited Canada, and their take on it.  Worth a read, if you’re Canadian or not!  – tk



Well, my wonderful wife and I have returned from a vacation in Canada.  It was a wonderful experience!  We had a great time, and I learned a few things about our neighbors to the north.  Some good, some not so good.  Here are the Polar Bears impressions of the Great White North.

These are in no particular order, I’ll mix the good with the bad.  Overall though, this was a great experience.

1. The Pandora App on my iPad didn’t work.  Since it’s web based, what the hell is up with that??  Sirius XM worked on my iPad but not in my car (it’s amazing how close to the Canadian border, they can point a satellite signal from space!).

2.  Honda dealerships and logos are red… um… okay??

3.  They don’t waste a bunch of paint to put down a second yellow line.  Seems one yellow line is good enough…

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Posted by on June 23, 2013 in Entertainment, Humour, June, Reblogged


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