On the morning of October 13, 1812, Major General Sir Isaac Brock was killed while leading a charge against American forces at the Battle of Queenston Heights, during the War of 1812.
The Canadians and British eventually won the battle, and Brock and his fallen aides-de-camp Lieutenant-Colonel John Macdonell became martyred heroes. In 1824, a large Tuscan column was built atop the battle site, and Brock and Macdonnel were interred underneath. In an act of “monumental terrorism” the column was seriously damaged in 1840, when an anti-British agitator named Benjamin Lett was believed to have rigged the column with an explosive device. The column was taken down and the remains of Brock and Macdonell were moved to a nearby cemetery.
In 1859, a new column was unveiled that put the old one to shame. Designed by architect William Thomas, this 185-foot limestone column was carved by Charles Thomas Thomas. The bodies were reinterred under the column in crypts in the limestone walls. A plaque on the monuments base reads:
“Here lie the earthly remains of a brave and virtuous hero, Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, Commander of the British forces, and President Administering the Government of Upper Canada, who fell when gloriously engaging the Enemies of his Country, at the head of the Flank Companies of the 49th Regiment, in the Town of Queenstown, on the morning of the 13th October, 1812, aged 42 years.”
In 1929, a lightning strike damaged the column, and huge chunks of the monument fell to the ground. The column was repaired once again and today, visitors delight in going into the small platform underneath the statue, where porthole windows offer spectacular views of Lake Ontario.