The Current Project

Lundy’s Lane:  The bloodiest battle of the War of 1812. 

The bloodiest single engagement ever fought on what is now Canadian soil.  

The high mark of the 1814 Niagara campaign: The longest campaign of the War, and the last time that Canada ever suffered a major foreign invasion.

Battlefield School was built atop the path taken by the U.S. 21st Infantry in the pivotal minutes of the battle, when that unit took the British guns on the hill.

Battlefield School building between dashed lines denoting the path of the US 21st Infantry in the pivotal minutes of the battle:

The City of Niagara Falls purchased the school property with the intention of rezoning the majority in order to sell it to private interests.

Despite the opportunity to have the redundant school building razed and a commemorative park developed at no cost to the City of Niagara Falls, the City Council has approved development of the central US position.

On February 26, with only two Council members voting in opposition, three zoning by-laws were passed regarding the former school property:  One rezoned the southern portion of the site to R5A Apartment use, another the northern portion to Open Space, a third the eastern portion to General Commercial.

The R5A zoning would permit the development of 30 apartments in the former school building, directly atop the path taken by the US 21st Infantry in the pivotal minutes of the climactic battle of the War of 1812.  The area zoned R5A encompasses much of what Canadian military expert Don Graves referred to his, the definitive account of the battle, as the “killing ground.”

The General Commercial zoning is intended to permit the expansion of parking for a funeral home onto this “killing ground.”  The lands slated for General Commercial zoning and conversion to a parking lot have always been green space.

The rezoning is intended to allow the majority of the school property, long held in public ownership, to be sold to private interests.  Lands central to the US position would be lost to intense multi-residential and commercial use – just as the 200th anniversary of the battle approaches.

Visitors’ ability to experience the battlefield from the US perspective would be lost.  The view of the US position from the British-Canadian position on the hill would be severely constrained.

Graves describes, in Where Right and Glory Lead! :  ’Drummond saw at a glance that the ground would make a good defensive position.  The gentle southern slope of the hill would allow his artillery to transform the cleared fields in front into what a later generation of soldiers would call a “killing ground.”’

Future visitors standing where Drummond stood would be severely challenged to envision the “open sunlit area” into which Scott’s forces emerged.  They would see parking lots and an apartment building where those forces charged and fell.

Both the R5A and General Commercial zoning by-laws are under appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

By popular demand, a petition has been created:

petition

What else?

Friends of the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield, a registered public foundation, is currently accepting contributions to the Battlefield Defence Fund.  These contributions will provide professional representation in support of our Ontario Municipal Board appeal.

Tax receipts will be issued for contributions of $10 and up               

Public Foundation Registration Number 869831396RR0001

Send cheques payable to Friends of the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield to:  5993 Barker Street, Niagara Falls, ON  L2G 1Y5

What alternative did the City ignore?

The Friends of the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield have developed a project confirmed to be eligible for federal funding.  They need only a long term lease to return the school footprint to green space, as it was at the time of the battle, and create the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield Commemorative Park in its place.

Phase I:   Long term lease for lands containing the redundant building from the City of Niagara Falls.  Secure six months liability insurance and a formal demolition estimate.

Phase IIDemolish the building to reclaim the U.S. position and a key troop corridor.  Restore the land (grading and hydroseeding).

Phase IIIUnder the guidance of a War of 1812 military heritage expert, aboriginal advisors, and Black History advisors, create the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield Commemorative Park:  

i) Main memorial:  To commemorate the U.S. experience at the battle and the outcomes of the war (200 years of peace and friendship along the world’s longest undefended border; the genesis of the Canadian identity);

ii) Monuments commemorating the Aboriginal, Black and Women’s History associated with the site;

iii) Celebration Place to recognize the importance of the picnic the Niagara Black community held on the battlefield on the first anniversary of the battle in 1815 and invite visitors to recreate that experience.

The project will allow the Battle of Lundy’s Lane to be interpreted from the US position for the first time in 135 years! 

Visitors will be able to follow the path of the US 21st Infantry in the pivotal minutes of the battle. It will become possible to interpret the 21st’s daring advance upon the British guns on the hilltop, which resulted in the turning of the tide that night. 

This will greatly enhance the worth of the site to all visitors.

The project will open the vista from the British-Canadian position, dramatically improving interpretive capabilities.

The site will be far less constrained than it is today.  Its appeal will be greatly enhanced.

The project will permit historically accurate re-enactments of the battle:  Reclaiming this key troop corridor will allow accurate battle reenactments in 2014 and beyond.

The project will provide monuments, landscaping, and public artwork to increase visitors’ interest in learning about the battle and the peoples associated with it.

The Celebration Place will encourage visitors to picnic on the battlefield in recreation of the Black community’s experience on the first anniversary of the battle, complimenting other nearby Black heritage sites.

Celebration Place in grove of mature trees to be preserved:

US period flag to be flown on central US position:

More of the benches which Friends of the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield placed throughout the battlefield lands during a previous project:

How can you help?

1)  Become a member of Friends of the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield

Membership dues only $10 per year!

2)  Donate! 

Contributions to the Battlefield Defence Fund will provide professional representation in support of our Ontario Municipal Board appeal.

Tax receipts will be issued for contributions of $10 and up                

Public Foundation Registration Number 869831396RR0001

Send cheques payable to Friends of the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield to:  5993 Barker Street, Niagara Falls, ON  L2G 1Y5

You can also donate via PayPal:


Interested in learning more about the commemorative park we’re developing and its historic environs?  See our “Plan Your Visit” section!

 

2 comments on “The Current Project

  1. I’ve enjoyed reading through your website … I’ve been researching the War of 1812 for over 3 years and I am happy to see your site is full of great, authentic details. The easy-reading style is a pleasure. I look forward to seeing the development of the Lundy’s Lane preservation … this area could be as beautiful as Forest Lawn in Buffalo … but with even more green spaces to draw locals and visitors. Good luck with all your endeavours.

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