For immediate release
St. Catharines, Ontario, October 29, 2012 — Rick Dykstra, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, today announced that the historic building located at 32 Church Street in St. Catharines, Ontario, will be named the Laura Secord Building to honour her role in the War of 1812.
“Laura Secord is a hero of the War of 1812 and and I am delighted that this historic building will be named in her honour,” said Minister Ambrose. “Her brave actions led to the important collaboration between Canadian and British forces with First Nations people to stop and defeat the American invasion near Beaver Dams—a defining moment in Canadian history.”
During the naming ceremony, MP Dykstra unveiled a plaque that will adorn the building.
The building was constructed in 1956 and is located at 32 Church Street in the St. Catharines Farmers Market and City Hall area. It is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, the workmanship of its construction, and its influence on the character of the area. More information on the building’s history can be found on the Parks Canada website.
“Situated close to several historical battlefields in the Niagara region, such as the sites of the Battle of Beaver Dams and the Battle of Queenston Heights, it is fitting that this building be named in honour of someone who played such a crucial role in the War of 1812,” said MP Dykstra. “It is an honour for me to stand here to salute Laura Secord—an enduring symbol of courage and patriotism.”
This event is one of several commemoration activities taking place this year to mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. This anniversary is an opportunity for all Canadians to take pride in our country’s traditions and shared history. The end of the war laid the foundation for Confederation, and Canada’s ultimate emergence as an independent nation in North America.
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The Government of Canada building at 32 Church Street in St. Catharines has been chosen to be named the Laura Secord Building in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.
This two-storey, limestone building was constructed in 1956 and is architecturally typical of federal buildings of the day. In 2005, the building underwent significant renovations to accommodate its current tenant, the Canada Revenue Agency.
The building is located close to several historical battlefields in the Niagara region relating to the War of 1812, such as the Battle of Beaver Dams and the Battle of Queenston Heights. This is why the building was selected to commemorate War of 1812 hero Laura Secord.
On June 21, 1813, Laura overheard that the Americans intended to surprise the British outpost and capture the officer in charge, Lieutenant James FitzGibbon. With her husband having been wounded in battle, Laura resolved to take the message to the British herself. Fearing that she would encounter American guards, she took a route through fields and forests, making her journey challenging and physically exhausting. She arrived unexpectedly on a First Nations’ encampment, explained her mission, and the Chief took her to FitzGibbon. With this warning, FitzGibbon was able to prepare an offensive strategy that would lead them to victory. Two days later, on June 23, 1813, a large number of warriors from the Seven Nations of Canada from eastern Upper Canada and western Lower Canada joined FitzGibbon and laid an ambush against the advancing Americans. In the battle that followed, the warriors stopped the American army and forced their surrender.
For more information on the Battle of Beaver Dams or on Laura Secord, visit 1812.gc.ca.