Chippawa Village along the Niagara Parkway is the site of the Chippawa Battlefield Park. It is hard to imagine that this serene and picturesque park was once the site of a bloody battle during the War of 1812.
On July 5, 1814, the Battle of Chippawa was fought between the British, Canadian and Native forces on one side and the American troops on the other. An American army crossed the Niagara River from Buffalo to mount the attack on Upper Canada, and the battle took place on the fields of Samuel Street’s farm near the banks of the river. Major-General Phineas Riall led the British, Canadian and Native forces while Major-General Jacob Brown commandeered the American forces.
It was the first time that British and American regulars fought each other in the open, and it is said that this battle led to the formation of the modern American army. About 200 people died during the encounter that started early morning and went on till the evening. The bodies of most of the dead are believed to have been buried at the site. While the Americans won this battle, they were subsequently defeated in the battle of Lundy’s Lane later in the same month.
In 1995, the Niagara Parks Commission obtained the site and transformed it into a historical park spread over 300 acres. A self-guided walking tour enables visitors to understand the battle through informative panels. This tour was launched in 2000 by military historian Donald Graves. It gives a step by step recreation of the events of the battle as well as the details of the participants. You can also see maps of the routes taken by the soldiers during the battle. One of the prime attractions of the Battlefield Park is a memorial cairn dedicated to the soldiers on both sides who fought the battle. Made from dolomite limestone, the cairn also celebrates the peace that exists between Canada and the USA today. The Canadian, British and American flags flutter proudly beside each other nearby. On July 5 ever year, a memorial service is conducted to honour the men who took part in the battle and sacrificed their lives.
Entry to the park is free and is available throughout the year. Do head to the Chippawa Battlefield Park to understand an important chapter of Canadian history.