Gwynn T.

Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario

District School Board of Niagara

The War of 1812 Along the Niagara River

My project highlights the importance of the communities and homes along the Niagara River and how they contributed to the war efforts during the War of 1812. It focuses not only on the battles during the war, but how everyday citizens of Upper Canada were able to make a difference during this crucial point in Canadian history.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

The most interesting thing I’ve learned about my topic, other than the contributions of the communities along the River, would be how easily my subtopics fit together. At first glance, you wouldn’t think that The Battle of Queenston Heights, Capture of Fort Niagara, and Field Hospitals fit together, but they actually do! Did you know that the McFarland House, a Field Hospital from the War of 1812, which is on the Niagara River, was actually where the British launched their ships to begin the Capture of Fort Niagara? Or that the Field Family, who owned the Field House, another field hospital along the river, were United Empire Loyalists and most likely travelled through the United States to Fort Niagara, a British Supply depot, during the American Revolution, before coming to Canada? Field Hospitals were also used in the Battle of Queenston Heights, and my friends house in Queenston is supposed to have been built right on top of an old one! It’s so fascinating to me how such different topics are able to fit together, and that’s why I chose them as my 3 subtopics. I loved researching about it and then realizing, woah, what’s another way this topic fits into this one!

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

I’ve learned that it’s important when researching historic events to take the time to learn about how communities and everyday citizens were able to contribute, because it pays off. It has been so cool to find out how much the residents of Newark wanted to contribute to the war efforts and aid Canadian forces in any ways that they could, and that they found interest in volunteering their homes to be turned into essential things such as field hospitals and barracks. When you think of any war you often tend to thing of the most important battles, where they took place, and the outcome, not on the efforts made by the residents of the area to help the soldiers that were fighting for them. Without taking the time to research some of the background information on the Battle of Queenston Heights, I wouldn’t have found field hospitals or their history to be as important as they are, and I wouldn’t have the same opinions as I do now on my topic.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

I would compare my life today to the lives of those studied in my project because I feel like if we were in the same position, with a Canadian and British army fighting together for our freedom and independence, we would also want to help any way that we could to aid in those efforts . The Americans were trying to expand on Canadian territory, and most of the people living in this area at the time (Niagara-On-The-Lake, St. David’s, and Queenston), were United Empire Loyalists, meaning that they were loyal to the British Crown and fled the United States to resettle in Upper Canada, and they sure wouldn’t have wanted to be under American control again after what they or their parents had gone through 30 years earlier. If we were in that situation, I think we would do a similar thing.