For immediate release
Kitchener, Ontario, February 22, 2013 – Stephen Woodworth, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, today announced that the Government of Canada building located at 15–29 Duke Street East in Kitchener, Ontario, will be named the John Norton Building in recognition of his contribution during the War of 1812.
“I am delighted that this building is being named in honour of John Norton,” Minister Ambrose stated. “Norton was a leader of First Nations allies in Upper Canada and played a crucial role in several major battles during the War of 1812.”
The building was constructed in 1937. It is currently used by the Canada Border Services Agency, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Department of Justice Canada, National Defence and Public Works and Government Services Canada.
During the naming ceremony, MP Woodworth unveiled a commemorative plaque that will adorn the building. “John Norton, who was of Scottish and Cherokee descent, came to Canada in the 1790s as a member of the British Army. He was subsequently adopted by the Mohawks and became their war chief during the War of 1812,” said MP Woodworth. “His heroic efforts paved the way for the Canada we know today—an independent and free country with a constitutional monarchy, its own parliamentary system and a strong respect for diversity.”
This event is part of several commemoration activities taking place to mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. The anniversary is an opportunity for all Canadians to take pride in our country’s traditions and history. The end of the war laid the foundation for Confederation and Canada’s ultimate emergence as an independent nation in North America.
While stationed at Fort Niagara near what is now Youngstown, New York, John Norton befriended a number of Six Nations people and began to learn the Mohawk language. He quickly became fascinated by the First Nations’ heritage and was very active in the community. He taught Mohawk children, and was a fur trader and an interpreter for the First Nations. Norton was adopted by the Mohawk Nation and in 1799 was considered by Mohawk elders to be a pine tree chief, whose council should be heeded. Norton led his Mohawk warriors at the pivotal battle of Queenston Heights, where they played a central role in helping drive invading American forces back to the Niagara River and forcing them to surrender. He also led his warriors at the battles of Fort George, Stoney Creek, Chippawa and Fort Erie, and other battles during the War of 1812.
For more information on John Norton and the War of 1812, visit 1812.gc.ca.
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