Laura Secord: A Great Canadian
Jennifer's Weekly Feature
The name Laura Secord is a familiar one to
chocolate lovers, and a timely one to remember as Valentine's
Day approaches on February 14. But as few know of the personal
valour of this great Canadian, and the role she played in
saving the lives of British soldiers in the War of 1812, it's
valuable to stop here to consider the life of this
The War of 1812 began with France and
Britain, but soon the Americans became involved and declared
war on the British. In 1813, Laura's hometown of Queenston,
Ontario was American-occupied. Forced to provide food for
enemy soldiers late one summer's evening, she stole outside to
listen to what they said. She learned that shortly the
Americans were to ambush British troops at nearby Beaver Dams.
Someone had to warn the British, quickly.
As her husband was convalescing from another
battle, Laura decided to go herself. In the dark of the early
morning, Laura slipped into the woods to begin her long
journey, alone, on foot, and unarmed. The route by the main
road would have been much faster, but American sentries were
posted everywhere in the town. Her capture would have meant
her death; that was the penalty for spies. Intense summer
heat, thick brush and weary, clinging kilometres of swampland
threatened to overwhelm Laura, but she persevered, pushing on
through a long, 18-hour trek.
Finally, aided by some First Nations guides,
she arrived at Beaver Dams, where she was brought before
Lieutenant Fitzgibbons. She blurted out her news before
finally succumbing to exhaustion at his feet. Her flight saved
the British outpost and more; the British were able to reverse
the battle and take several hundred American soldiers captive.
Laura Secord was a great Canadian and a powerful illustration
of the adage that one person can make a difference— then, even
For more information, including quizzes,
animated GIF battles and Video Clips on the War of 1812, go
Battles and Video Clips
For more on Canadian women in history, try
Library of Canada
More on Laura Secord
To investigate February as Black History
Month, look at:
Month (click on "Canadian Heritage,"
then Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women),
then "Canadian Heritage Multiculturalism,"
and finally "Black History Month"