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Aug. 25, 2019 | Sunday
Local News
Laura Secord Walk supports War Child Canada charity
Caroline McCormick, president of Friends of Laura Secord. (Brittany Carter/Niagara Now)

The annual Laura Secord Walk, which lets you follow in the footsteps of Canada’s first female trailblazer, will support the War Child Canada charity this year.

The walk offers an opportunity to raise money for women and children who are victims of war while honouring and acknowledging Secord’s contribution to Canadian history. It also provides a chance to collect steps in NOTL’s June Step Challenge.

On Saturday, June 22, the anniversary of Laura Secord’s 32-kilometre walk in 1813, Betty Disero, the first female Lord Mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake, will read a proclamation declaring the opening of Laura Secord Weekend.

Secord’s famous walk 206 years ago from Queenston to Beaver Dams, in what is now Thorold, warned the British contingent and their allies that the Americans were planning a surprise attack.

However, Secord is more than just a strong historical figure, said Caroline McCormick, president of Friends of Laura Secord and a descendant of Canada’s national heroine.

“She’s enabling. She’s still a great metaphor for courage, determination and fortitude, for bravery and strength. That’s why we just keep pushing on – to perpetuate her legacy and all that she stands for.”

Opening ceremonies will begin at 8 a.m. at the Laura Secord Homestead in Queenston and the official walk will depart at 8:30 a.m.

The seven- to eight-hour walk will take participants through the Laura Secord Legacy Trail, about half of which is in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The legacy trail is one leg of the Great Trail, which is a cross-Canada system of trails, waterways and roadways spanning 24,130 kilometres. 

The first sign for the cross-branded Laura Secord Legacy Trail and the Great Trail will be symbolically installed before the walk begins on Sunday by Valerie Pringle, chair of the Trans Canada Trail Foundation and honorary chair of Friends of Laura Secord.

Adding adventure and excitement to the walk this year, Friends of Laura Secord will be participating in the Great Trail Treasure Hunt, a Canadawide contest featuring caches hidden along the trail for walkers to find. The caches will be hidden from June 19 until Aug. 18.

There will be shuttles running throughout the day for anyone not wanting to walk the entire 32 kilometres.

The trail traverses through four municipalities in the region: NOTL, Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Thorold, ending at DeCew House Heritage Park in Thorold, where Secord delivered her message to Lt. James Fitzgibbon in 1813. DeCew House is also where Friends of Laura Secord created the First Nations Peace Monument for the Canada 150 celebrations.

McCormick said through Secord’s story, many other important stories can be told. The connection to the First Nations and their contribution to Canada’s beginnings is just one of them.

Secord’s story relates to that of War Child Canada as well, McCormick said, which is why it was chosen as the recipient for the money raised through the walk this year.

“We decided that we would try raising funds for something related to Laura Secord’s story. Laura Secord was the victim of war. She was a veteran and the wife of a grievously wounded veteran. The parallels of her story can relate.”

War Child Canada helps children in war-affected areas get back to school and tries to lift the families out of poverty.

The organization’s founder, Samantha Nutt, said in a media release that the partnership between the Laura Secord Walk and War Child Canada “makes sense.”

“The story of Laura Secord’s walk is inspirational and I recognize her courage in the women and girls War Child serves in warzones across the world,” Nutt said.

* This year, registration for the Laura Secord Walk is $30, and participants can sign up online at friendsoflaurasecord.com by setting up a pledge sheet. The fundraising goal is $12,000.

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