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Who is the first woman to be recognized with a memorial erected by the Government of Canada?

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Canada's first woman to be formally recognized and commemorated by the Government of Canada is Laura Ingersoll Secord (13 September 1775 – 17 October 1868) who was known as Canada's "heroine of Beaver Dams" during the War of 1812. She is known for having walked 12 miles (20 kilometres) through fields and forests in American-occupied territory on 22 June 1813 to warn the British of a planned attack by Americans. Laura Secord was 37 years old at the time. Depicted in the photograph is the twelve-foot-high granite pedestal looking down the escarpment to the town of Queenston that was erected by the Government of Canada with a contribution of $2,000 towards its cost. As inscribed on the face of the monument, it was dedicated "TO LAURA INGERSOLL SECORD WHO SAVED HER HUSBAND'S LIFE IN THE BATTLE, ON THESE HEIGHTS, OCTOBER 13TH. 1812, AND WHO RISKED HER OWN IN CONVEYING TO CAPT. FITZGIBBON, INFORMATION BY WHICH HE WON THE VICTORY OF BEAVER DAMS".

The Government of Canada also recognized this "ultimate heroine of Canadian history" by issuing a stamp to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her shining moment in 1813. The stamp is one in a series of four by Canada Post to recognize the best-know heroes of the War of 1812. The three others feature General Sir Isaac Brock and his main ally Chief Tecumseh, the Shawnee warrior chief and leader of the First Nations confederacy, as well as Charles de Salaberry, the French-Canadian commander who was victorious at the Battle of Châteauguay near Montréal.

On this day, 13 September 2021, we commemorate the 246th anniversary of the birth of Laura Secord.

André M. Levesque

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