Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tracking Laura Secord

View across the Niagara River from Niagara-on-the-Lake
Last week we were in the Niagara peninsula, on the trail of Laura Secord, the subject of the biography I am working on. I wanted to spend some time in the locales that would have been familiar to her, to soak up some of the atmosphere. I believe it worked: I do feel as if I know her a little better.

Display case at the Niagara Historical Society Museum
We arrived in Niagara-on-the-Lake on an almost summer-like afternoon. The trees that lined the streets were shedding leaves the colour of gold, and one could smell the oak as we walked along the sidewalks.
At the wonderful Niagara Historical Society Museum in the town I found a display of some of Laura's personal possessions: a copper kettle where she is said to have hidden some doubloons from the Americans, a coverlet, handmade by Laura and her granddaughter, a small trunk, some teaspoons, some sugar tongs, and other small items.

This museum also has an extensive collection of artifacts from the War of 1812, and since that was the backdrop for much of Laura's story, I found it most interesting.

I was delighted to find in one alcove in the museum a sculpted bust of Laura, a smaller version of the one that sits atop her monument in the cemetery in Lundy's Lane.
Bust of Laura Secord by Mildred Peel

Because we arrived on a week day, historic Fort George was not open this time of year, but we did stroll around the property and take a few pictures. All along the scenic Niagara Parkway people were walking, cycling, and basking in the early November sunshine.
Fort George, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Now, onward up the river to Queenston. Stay tuned!

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