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Brock Monument

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  • Ray Hobbs
    List: This especially for Canadian members. The following article appeared in today s Globe and Mail. Cutbacks to Parks Canada funding have serious
    Message 1 of 9 , Jul 11, 2007
      List:
      This especially for Canadian members.

      The following article appeared in today's Globe and Mail. Cutbacks to
      Parks Canada funding have serious consequences to our national identity
      and self-consciousness. When will the politicians learn?

      Ray Hobbs
      41st
      ********************************************

      If only Brock were here to fight this battle

      Repairs that have closed the Brock Monument for the past four years
      won't start until spring

      JAMES ADAMS

      From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

      July 11, 2007 at 5:31 AM EDT

      It's been called "the most majestic historical monument in British
      Canadian history" and "Canada's answer to Nelson's Column in London's
      Trafalgar Square."

      But Brock's Monument, towering 56 metres above a spectacular
      90-metre-high promontory on Ontario's Niagara Escarpment, has been
      closed for the past four years - longer, in fact, than it took to
      design and construct it in the mid-19th century.

      And it could be another 15 or 16 months before the 151-year-old
      monument is open again because of delays in repairing the limestone
      structure, including a 235-step spiral staircase in its interior, and
      the plume-hatted statue of its namesake, Major-General Sir Isaac Brock,
      on the monument's capital.

      Repairs to the monument, part of the Queenston Heights National
      Historic Site administered by Parks Canada in Southern Ontario, were to
      start last April or May. But the $1.5-million to $2-million job likely
      won't start until next spring, further annoying history buffs,
      educators and tourist-related businesses.

      ----------



      Visitors have been barred from entering the monument that honours
      Major-General Sir Isaac Brock until restorations are complete. (Glenn
      Lowson for The Globe and Mail)

      ----------



      "It's one of the most important sites in our history, and the neglect
      of this distinguished landmark has been shameful," said Robert
      Malcomson of St. Catharines, Ont., last week. Mr. Malcomson is author
      of A Very Brilliant Affair: The Battle of Queenston Heights, 1812, and
      other histories of the War of 1812.

      "You hear a lot about tourism in Ontario these days, the problems it's
      having," he notes. "Well, if ever there was a gateway with some
      tradition and some panache, absolute panache, my goodness, it's Brock's
      Monument, which welcomes people across one of the busiest borders in
      the country. How could people not be taking advantage of that?"

      Safety concerns over crumbling and falling masonry prompted the closing
      of the stairs in August, 2003. A year later, Parks Canada erected a
      fence around the base perimeter, keeping visitors five metres away from
      where the remains of Brock and his aide-de-camp, Lieutenant-Colonel
      John Macdonell, are interred.

      Both were killed on Oct. 13, 1812, at the Battle of Queenston Heights,
      in which Canadian militia, British soldiers and first-nations fighters
      took the Heights from the occupying U.S. army. Their victory secured
      what is now the Ontario-New York border, and asserted the independence
      of British North America. Brock was hailed as "the Saviour of Upper
      Canada," and in 1824, a 40-metre-high memorial tower was erected at
      Queenston Heights, the southern terminus of the Bruce Trail.

      An explosion on Good Friday, 1840, damaged the tower - reportedly the
      work of an Irish-Canadian who participated in the Rebellion of 1837
      against British rule - and it was torn down a year later. Work on the
      current monument, designed by Canadian architect William Thomas,
      started 13 years later, and it was completed in 1856.

      Brock's Monument has undergone several repairs since - what Bob
      Andrews, Parks Canada's superintendent of historic sites in the Niagara
      region, calls "Band-Aids."

      But after debris started to fall in 2003, Parks Canada, in association
      with Public Works and Government Services, undertook detailed
      engineering studies, and in 2005 recommended "a thorough compatible
      restoration program" for 2006 or the next year.

      Expectations were high the program would start this year, but "the
      money just wasn't there," Mr. Andrews says.

      While he agrees Brock's Monument is "a very significant Canadian
      icon," Parks Canada, with $7-billion in assets, "is charged with taking
      care of a lot of them. ... Is this more significant than a native site
      in Saskatchewan or a French site in Quebec City?" he asks. "It's a
      tough call."

      A call made tougher no doubt by the Harper government's decision to
      reduce Parks Canada's planned operating budget for "conserving heritage
      resources" in 2007-08 to $199.1-million, down 8 per cent from
      $215.6-million in 2006-07.

      Rob Nicholson, the Harper government's Justice Minister and MP for
      Niagara Falls, said last week he's "pleased that [the restoration] is
      on track for spring 2008 and the government has committed the money.
      ...

      "[Parks Canada] has assured me as soon as the tourist season is over,"
      the tendering process can begin. "I don't want scaffolding around there
      for the summer."

      Mr. Nicholson's claims of support for "anything that honours that great
      man [Brock]" and that the delays are the fault of Paul Martin's Liberal
      government rang hollow with Mr. Malcomson.

      Mr. Nicholson was elected MP for the region less than 10 months after
      Brock's Monument was closed and "he did not take his own responsibility
      as a public representative to make its restoration a priority, no
      matter who sat on the throne in Ottawa," Mr. Malcomson said. Moreover,
      the Harper government has to have known that repairing the monument was
      a priority since the study calling for just that was published in
      February, 2006, one month after the election that brought the Tories to
      power.

      Meanwhile, Parks Canada's Mr. Andrews hopes the restoration, which
      likely will involve the hoarding and scaffolding of the entire
      monument, can be done in six months, with a rededication in October,
      2008. "Fortunately, the column is in very good condition. It's not a
      rubble-fill; it's a solid piece." However, "if the engineers discover
      that we have to take the whole statue off ... that's obviously going to
      drive up costs dramatically as well as the time."

      In the meantime, Mr. Malcomson plans to pursue another pet project,
      namely getting Sir Isaac Brock onto Canada's official list of "persons
      of national historic significance."

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Peter Catley
      Sounds just like English Heritage to me :-) Cheers P**
      Message 2 of 9 , Jul 11, 2007
        Sounds just like English Heritage to me :-)

        Cheers

        P**
      • James Yaworsky
        It sounds like the Brock monument will (eventually) be put back in to proper shape. Which raises another issue: the long-simmering proposal to build a proper
        Message 3 of 9 , Jul 12, 2007
          It sounds like the Brock monument will (eventually) be put back in to
          proper shape.

          Which raises another issue: the long-simmering proposal to build a
          'proper' monument to Tecumseh.

          Apparently, many moons ago, there was a plan to build a monument to
          Tecumseh on the Moraviantown battlefield that would be of a similar
          stature to the Brock monument. The problem was, I've heard, that
          nobody could agree on what this monument should look like, and nobody
          came up with any hard cash. However, a number of "concepts" were
          prepared. I vaguely recollect seeing on display in Windsor a small
          statue of Tecumseh in an heroic pose that was made for this purpose in
          the early part of the 1900's. Just to clarify, that's when it was
          *made*, not when I saw it... ;>)

          Some issues:

          1) Queenston Heights is a magnificent location. What would a "major"
          comparable monument look like in the middle of the Moraviantown
          cornfields, i.e., in as close to the middle of nowhere as you can get
          in Southwestern Ontario? (with apologies to Mark Dickerson, whose
          family farm is located there...)

          A dramatic location should not affect an historic personage's
          "deserving" of a monument there - but from a practical point of view,
          how likely is it any level of government is going to fund an
          uber-expensive monument at Moraviantown?

          2) While Tecumseh's activities undoubtedly played a significant role
          in the "salvation" of Upper Canada, this was not what he was fighting
          for. He was an ally with his own agenda, unlike Brock, who bore
          responsibility for achieving that goal. Does Tecumseh therefore
          "deserve" a comparable monument to Brock's, from the successors of the
          inhabitants of Upper Canada in 1812-15?

          3) would Tecumseh want a "white man's" monument? what sort of
          "monument" commemorating him might be more appropriate?

          Personally, I've always thought the most appropriate thing the
          Canadian people could do would be to give money to the Shawnee Nation
          in Ohio, so that they can expand the "reservation" they have been
          building piece by piece for themselves over the past decades.
          Tecumseh was fighting for his people and their lands, after all. His
          efforts helped Canadians keep their lands, so it seems appropriate to
          help Tecumseh's people get some of their lands back...

          But that's not likely to happen, is it?

          Jim Yaworsky
          41st
        • Ray Hobbs
          Some excellent points, Jim: There is a good book on the topic - Guy St-Denis, Tecumseh s Bones (Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen s Universities Press, 2005).
          Message 4 of 9 , Jul 12, 2007
            Some excellent points, Jim:
            There is a good book on the topic - Guy St-Denis, "Tecumseh's Bones"
            (Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen's Universities Press, 2005). I have it
            and have read it. It recounts the "antics" of local communities in
            Southern and Southwestern Ontario after the war to claim the last
            resting place, and monument for the fallen leader.

            It is a good piece of social history highlighting the racism, political
            opportunism, commercialism, and personal self-seeking that went on to
            honour someone whom some of the same communities and people did not
            honour in his life.

            Two major monuments exist to the leader - one on Walpole Island,
            erected in 1941, and also claiming to be his final resting place; and
            the other near the Moraviantown battlefield site, unveiled in October
            1963. the latter - 150 years after Tecumseh's death. Both are very
            modest structures.
            Ray
            41st



            On 12-Jul-07, at 3:12 PM, James Yaworsky wrote:

            > It sounds like the Brock monument will (eventually) be put back in to
            > proper shape.
            >
            > Which raises another issue: the long-simmering proposal to build a
            > 'proper' monument to Tecumseh.
            >
            > Apparently, many moons ago, there was a plan to build a monument to
            > Tecumseh on the Moraviantown battlefield that would be of a similar
            > stature to the Brock monument. The problem was, I've heard, that
            > nobody could agree on what this monument should look like, and nobody
            > came up with any hard cash. However, a number of "concepts" were
            > prepared. I vaguely recollect seeing on display in Windsor a small
            > statue of Tecumseh in an heroic pose that was made for this purpose in
            > the early part of the 1900's. Just to clarify, that's when it was
            > *made*, not when I saw it... ;>)
            >
            > Some issues:
            >
            > 1) Queenston Heights is a magnificent location. What would a "major"
            > comparable monument look like in the middle of the Moraviantown
            > cornfields, i.e., in as close to the middle of nowhere as you can get
            > in Southwestern Ontario? (with apologies to Mark Dickerson, whose
            > family farm is located there...)
            >
            > A dramatic location should not affect an historic personage's
            > "deserving" of a monument there - but from a practical point of view,
            > how likely is it any level of government is going to fund an
            > uber-expensive monument at Moraviantown?
            >
            > 2) While Tecumseh's activities undoubtedly played a significant role
            > in the "salvation" of Upper Canada, this was not what he was fighting
            > for. He was an ally with his own agenda, unlike Brock, who bore
            > responsibility for achieving that goal. Does Tecumseh therefore
            > "deserve" a comparable monument to Brock's, from the successors of the
            > inhabitants of Upper Canada in 1812-15?
            >
            > 3) would Tecumseh want a "white man's" monument? what sort of
            > "monument" commemorating him might be more appropriate?
            >
            > Personally, I've always thought the most appropriate thing the
            > Canadian people could do would be to give money to the Shawnee Nation
            > in Ohio, so that they can expand the "reservation" they have been
            > building piece by piece for themselves over the past decades.
            > Tecumseh was fighting for his people and their lands, after all. His
            > efforts helped Canadians keep their lands, so it seems appropriate to
            > help Tecumseh's people get some of their lands back...
            >
            > But that's not likely to happen, is it?
            >
            > Jim Yaworsky
            > 41st
            >
            >
            >
            >

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Dale Kidd
            Jim, et al: In truth, I think the single biggest of the issues you raised is ... I believe Tecumseh would have shunned a monument, at least of the type we are
            Message 5 of 9 , Jul 12, 2007
              Jim, et al:

              In truth, I think the single biggest of the issues you raised is

              > 3) would Tecumseh want a "white man's" monument? what sort of
              > "monument" commemorating him might be more appropriate?

              I believe Tecumseh would have shunned a monument, at least of the
              type we are discussing. While a cash gift to the Shawnee Nation
              might sound good, I can hardly see the Canadian government pledging
              any money to native peoples outside this country right now. Indeed,
              perhaps the greatest "monument" we could make to the memory of
              Tecumseh, and all the native warriors who fought with him whose
              descendants live in Canada today, would be to resolve the
              outstanding land claims issues with our own First Nations. Now, that
              would be a monument I think Tecumseh would approve of. His
              allegiance was not only to the Shawnee, but to the native peoples of
              North America as a whole. The U.S. is far ahead of Canada in
              resolution of native land claims (to our shame), and I don't think
              Tecumseh would mind us cleaning up our own back yard in his memory.

              ~Dale
            • James Yaworsky
              ... JY: agreed... Indeed, ... JY: agreed, to a point. I agree Tecumseh would probably want us to resolve outstanding land claims and I agree that on some
              Message 6 of 9 , Jul 12, 2007
                --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "Dale Kidd" <ucpm_gunner@...> wrote:
                >
                > Jim, et al:
                >
                > In truth, I think the single biggest of the issues you raised is
                >
                > > 3) would Tecumseh want a "white man's" monument? what sort of
                > > "monument" commemorating him might be more appropriate?
                >
                > I believe Tecumseh would have shunned a monument, at least of the
                > type we are discussing. While a cash gift to the Shawnee Nation
                > might sound good, I can hardly see the Canadian government pledging
                > any money to native peoples outside this country right now.

                JY: agreed...

                Indeed,
                > perhaps the greatest "monument" we could make to the memory of
                > Tecumseh, and all the native warriors who fought with him whose
                > descendants live in Canada today, would be to resolve the
                > outstanding land claims issues with our own First Nations. Now, that
                > would be a monument I think Tecumseh would approve of. His
                > allegiance was not only to the Shawnee, but to the native peoples of
                > North America as a whole. The U.S. is far ahead of Canada in
                > resolution of native land claims (to our shame), and I don't think
                > Tecumseh would mind us cleaning up our own back yard in his memory.
                >
                > ~Dale
                >
                JY: agreed, to a point. I agree Tecumseh would probably want us to
                resolve outstanding land claims and I agree that on some levels his
                allegiance appears to have been to the native peoples of North America
                as a whole.
                But I also believe that he was fighting hard to protect a homeland for
                the mid-west tribes, on at least some of their "ancestral" lands...
                and that was his primary goal...

                And... shouldn't we be resolving "Canadian" issues because we are
                Canadians and owe it to "our own" First Nations, and not resolving
                them to "honour" our Shawnee ally from the south? Isn't this rather
                like "donating" our taxes to the government i.e. we *have* to pay
                them, so isn't it a bit of a slight of hand to pretend like we are
                "donating" them?

                On some levels, it seems to me your suggestion would be similar to
                finding immigrants from the Channel Islands here (preferably ones who
                are descendants of veterans of the War of 1812), and if they need some
                financial aid, coughing up some in memory of Brock, and not because
                they are now Canadians and every Canadian is entitled as of right to
                be a beneficiary of our wonderful social security net...

                Aren't there statues of, for example, Churchill, in many countries
                that were allied to Great Britain in WW2? Shouldn't Canada do
                something that is identifiable and "specific" to Tecumseh, to honour
                this great ally in the War of 1812? Maybe some sort of scholarship
                program, etc?

                Jim Yaworsky
                41st
              • Dale Kidd
                Agreed on all counts, Jim. But, If we re going to have to give some sort of good excuse for doing what should have been done a long time ago, my point was that
                Message 7 of 9 , Jul 12, 2007
                  Agreed on all counts, Jim. But, If we're going to have to give some
                  sort of good excuse for doing what should have been done a long time
                  ago, my point was that I don't think Tecumseh would have minded seeing
                  it done in his name. Probably would have laughed that we thought it
                  neccessary, but wouldn't have minded.

                  ~Dale
                • ronaldjdale@netscape.net
                  Why just Tecumseh?? How about Roundhead, Walk-in-Water, Blackbird, Norton, John Brant and other Aboriginal leaders who always seem to be forgotten by anyone
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jul 12, 2007
                    Why just Tecumseh?? How about Roundhead, Walk-in-Water, Blackbird, Norton, John Brant and other Aboriginal leaders who always seem to be forgotten by anyone discussing First Nations in the War of 1812?

                    Ron


                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Dale Kidd <ucpm_gunner@...>
                    To: WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Thu, 12 Jul 2007 7:49 pm
                    Subject: [War Of 1812] Re: Tecumseh monument







                    Agreed on all counts, Jim. But, If we're going to have to give some
                    sort of good excuse for doing what should have been done a long time
                    ago, my point was that I don't think Tecumseh would have minded seeing
                    it done in his name. Probably would have laughed that we thought it
                    neccessary, but wouldn't have minded.

                    ~Dale





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                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Dale Kidd
                    ... Norton, John Brant and other Aboriginal leaders who always seem to be forgotten by anyone discussing First Nations in the War of 1812? A very good
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jul 12, 2007
                      --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, ronaldjdale@... wrote:
                      > Why just Tecumseh?? How about Roundhead, Walk-in-Water, Blackbird,
                      Norton, John Brant and other Aboriginal leaders who always seem to be
                      forgotten by anyone discussing First Nations in the War of 1812?


                      A very good question, sir. The specific actions of several of those
                      warriors were easily as important to the British war effort, at least
                      from a tactical standpoint, as Tecumseh's were. And yet, if most
                      people recognize ANY of the above names, they would be those of Norton
                      and Brant, and those probably because they are English names. The
                      exploits of the others are virtually unknown to any but the most
                      ardent War of 1812 historians (such as yourself). Gee, I wonder why
                      that is? You don't suppose the contributions of the British army's
                      valiant allies were officially downplayed, do you?

                      ~Dale
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