Guide to Visiting Brock’s Monument
When trying to figure out family friendly things to do in Niagara Falls; Brock’s Monument usually is overlooked. Families often choose to spend their time in the more touristy area of Niagara Falls directly next to the falls, mainly the Clifton Hill area..
Consider taking a day away from the arcades, fun houses, haunted houses, miniature golf, and crowds that the Clifton Hill has to offer and check out Brock’s Monument National Historic Site.
Great views. No crowds. Affordable. An enjoyable quite day away from the craziness that is Niagara Falls!
While in Niagara Falls, if you look towards the north you’ll see tower. If you’re eating lunch at the Silo in Lewiston or spending the day at Artpark look towards the south. That tower you see is Brock’s Monument and you can go up to the top!
Most locals on the American side of the Niagara Gorge don’t even realize that this monument to the ‘War of 1812’ hero Isaac Brock is actually one of the best places to view the Niagara Gorge. When you visit this national historic site it’s very likely you’ll have the tower to yourself. We went on one of their busiest days (over Canada Day weekend) and we only saw three other groups.
Brock’s Monument is inside Queenston Heights Park; about a 10-minute drive north from Niagara Falls in the small town of Queenston, Ontario. It’s right next to the Queenston-Lewiston International Bridge. Some of the tourist buses will make stops here on their way to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Location: Queenston Heights Park, 14184 Niagara River Parkway, Queenston, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada
Park Fee: No charge
Parking: No charge
Climb to top of Monument: Adults $4.50 Can. and Children are $3.50 Can. (5 years or younger are free)
Hours: 10am – 5pm daily from May till the 1st Weekend in September
Public Restrooms: Available in building adject to monument and in the Queenston Heights Restaurant
History behind Brock’s Monument
Quick history lesson refresher – The USA wasn’t always on friendly terms with their neighbor to the North; Canada. In 1812 to US declared war on Canada (then a British colony) and invaded their territory in 1812 after many years of growing tensions; the ‘War of 1812.’
In 1815, an agreement between the two countries was reached and the war was ended – both countries agreed to stop fighting and return all boundaries to their prewar locations.
Isaac Brock was a Major-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian forces. In the 1812 ‘Battle of Queenston Heights’ he led British forces to a victory but was killed in the battle. He is considered to be ‘The Hero of Upper Canada.”
Brock’s Monument is not only a reminder of Brock’s heroism but it’s also his final resting place.
Entering the Tower
Upon entering the tower’s base, you’re greeted by a historical costumed staff member. If you plan on climbing to the top you can buy tickets at a small window on the left, they take cash and credit cards.
If you choose not to climb the monument, you are still welcome to go into the base of the monument and tour the small museum and gift shop area.
Climbing the Monument
Completed in 1856, at 185 feet tall, Brock’s Monument is 235 steps to the top observation platform.
There is a single, (very!) narrow, steep, winding staircase that goes to the top. It’s a strenuous hike up, definitely not for those in poor health, claustrophobic, or afraid of heights. My 7-year-old daughter had no problem with it; we stopped multiple times on the way up to catch our breath but that was more for me than her. It’s a workout, but it’s very do-able.
The staircase has a small metal railing to hold on to, in parts it was even on both sides. Even so I was nervous about my daughter tripping, so we had her walk between us.
Don’t forget a water bottle!
As you climb there are random small windows to look out of. I would guess they’re less than a foot wide. You weren’t able to see much, but we enjoyed them even if it was just to give our legs a rest.
At the Top
Once at the top, the staircase opens up to a small enclosed platform with windows. It’s small, about 12 feet in diameter – just enough room for myself, my husband, and our daughter. The windows are rather high. We had to lift my daughter up to see out of them. The 360° view of the Niagara region was incredible. We spent about 10 minutes up there finding all the local landmarks before we began our trip down.
Park staff only allows three groups of people in the tower at the same time. And it gets very tricking when you cross paths with a group going the opposite way. You literally have to stop and figure out a plan with the other group. Basically one person has to hug the wall, while another squeezes by. Not exactly a comfortable situation, but we made it work.
Back on Ground
Once we made it back to the base of the monument, we explored the small museum – which is actually a narrow room with several informative displays. Brock is actually buried in the walls surrounding the museum area. Then we had a quick look at the gift shop – which is actually just a few shelves along one wall.
Don’t leave without taking a picture with one of the period costumed staff member.
We left, happy to be in the sunlight again. I was surprised that my legs weren’t complete noodles and we had the strength to continue exploring the park. After leaving we continued the workout and went for a hour long ‘Battle of Queenston Heights’ self-guided walking tour thru the gorge area – the trailhead is right past the gardens that surround the monument.
After all this hiking we were ready for dinner. Across from the monument is the Queenston Heights Restaurant but after our climb and gorge hike, we decided to pass on the slightly formal restaurant. We drove to a nearby restaurant with a patio for dinner; Boston Pizza.
Let me know what you think of Brock’s Monument and leave me a comment below. Have you visited before? What did you think of the experience? Do you plan on going and have questions? Go ahead and ask away.
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