Throughout an early autumn bike journey out to the Niagara Parkway I stumbled onto the Ridgeway Battlefield Website.
At the moment, it’s a Nationwide Historic Website of Canada and one of many extra distinctive navy points of interest close to Niagara Falls.
Personally, I’m a fan of the Conflict of 1812 and the entire historical past surrounding that. After all I used to be within the Battle of Ridgeway Park after I handed by.
At first I used to be stunned by the standard and element put into the signage and amenities right here on the park.
On this put up we’ll check out what you possibly can count on visiting the Ridgeway Battlefield Website and a fast primer on the Fenian historical past right here in Ontario.
Who Are the Fenians?
The Fenians had been members of various Irish nationalist organizations within the UK, Canada, and the US.
The group grew to become fashionable with the rise of the push for Irish independence from the British.
They didn’t maintain any grudges in opposition to Canadians personally and their goal was to push Britain into granting Eire their very own independence.
The title “Fenian” was coined by their very own founder, John O’Mahony, after the traditional Irish warriors often called the “Fianna Eirionn”.
For essentially the most half, the Fenian’s had been made up of veterans and younger Irishman with an intense sense of nationalist pleasure.
The result of the Fenian raids in Canada result in the provinces becoming a member of collectively in a confederation. This could result in forming the Dominion of Canada in 1867.
What Occurred on the Battle of Ridgeway?
The Battle of Ridgeway is an fascinating and essential a part of Canadian historical past.
On June 1st 1866, a bunch of Fenian raiders crossed the Niagara River from Buffalo.
These had been principally Irish-American veterans of the U.S. Civil Conflict and had the expertise to launch a small-scale assault on Canada.
Their objective was to pressure Britain to provide Eire its independence. The Fenians weren’t excited about capturing Canada.
As a substitute they had been hoping to succeed by inciting violence and scaring the native inhabitants.
There was no resistance as they crossed the Niagara River with greater than 1,300 males touchdown close to Fort Erie.
At this level the Canadians had been conscious of the invasion. Just a few militias had been shortly put collectively to defend in opposition to the Fenians.
On the morning of June 2nd the Fenians assumed a defensive place on a Limestone Ridge, near the small city of Ridgeway.
Almost 9 hundred Canadian militia from Toronto, Hamilton, Caledonia, and York marched in opposition to the Fenians to begin the battle.
All through the day skirmishes had been fought within the space with cavalry fees, riflemen assaults, and hand-to-hand guerrilla fight happening.
Sadly, the Canadian militia was poorly skilled. Key errors had been made that result in the Fenians capturing the small city of Ridgeway.
Anticipating British reinforcements to reach shortly, the Fenians gave up Ridgeway after just a few hours and retreated again to Fort Erie.
One other battle came about, the Battle of Fort Erie, with the small group of Canadian militiamen holding the city in opposition to the Fenians.
Regardless of their fast victories and overwhelming pressure in the beginning of the battles, the Fenian’s had been left with no selection however to return again to the US. A bigger pressure of British and Canadian’s had been shortly approaching.
Upon arriving again within the US greater than 850 Fenians had been arrested by the American authorities.
The Canadians and British Military had been prevented by American gunboats from retaliating.
The Final result of the Battle of Ridgeway
If it weren’t for the Fenians it’s uncertain that Canada would have turn into a confederation simply over a yr later.
Politicians and native newspapers significantly exaggerated the Canadian defeat at Ridgeway.
There have been numerous claims that Canadians or unable to defend themselves with out relying closely on the British military for help.
The simple Canadian defeat at Ridgeway added a large amount of disgrace to Canadian nationwide navy heritage. It took virtually 25 years for the Canadian authorities to acknowledge the veterans of the battle and reward them for therefore graciously defending the nation.
The speedy want for native protection and elevated Canadian nationalism result in the Confederation be negotiated.
The outcomes? The Dominion of Canada being created on July 1st, 1867 – unity amongst the entire provinces for the primary time in Canadian historical past.
The Battle of Ridgeway is without doubt one of the most essential elements of Canadian historical past. This occasion actually outlined the trail for Canada to take transferring ahead sooner or later.
Ridgeway Park and the Ridgeway Battlefield Nationwide Historic Website
Yow will discover the Ridgeway Battlefield Website on Freeway three simply outdoors of Fort Erie.
The park is situated in Ridgeway, Ontario on Garrison Street.
Visiting the park you’ll discover numerous outside interpretive panels that share the historical past of the Fenian Raids.
These panels clarify the explanations of the raids, the completely different authorities responses, and the ultimate end result that these raids had on Canada.
To be sincere, I had not even heard in regards to the Fenian’s till I occurred on this park.
It’s unbelievable to me that such a key piece of Canadian historical past can go unnoticed and unprecedented by so many Canadians.
Among the different highlights of the park embrace:
- A commemorative cairn with details about the raids and a plaque devoted to the troopers that perished through the assault
- A sequence of interval work that give a visible account of the battle
- Interpretive indicators and a coated gazebo for picnics and stress-free
Suggestions for Visiting + Extra Data
These of you curious about studying extra in regards to the Battle of Ridgeway will wish to pay a go to to the native historic Museum.
The museum is situated at 402 Ridge Street and gives much more perception into the Fenian Raids.
The spectacular historic Fort Erie is situated close by – undoubtedly value a go to as effectively for those who’re excited about Conflict of 1812 historical past.
Parking on the website is free though it would be best to watch out turning off of the freeway into the park (there may be high-speed site visitors going by).
Don’t neglect to take a look at the massive mausoleum subsequent door. This mausoleum is devoted to the troopers and veterans from the battle.
There aren’t any amenities close by though Fort Erie and Niagara Falls are a brief drive away.