The untold story of Point Frederick, where early nineteenth-century Canadians built warships that stopped invasion and brought peace.
Warriors and Warships brings to life a much neglected part of Canada’s military history, covering the warships and the people who built them at Point Frederick from the late eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century. Opposite Kingston, Point Frederick was the 1789 dockyard home of the Provincial Marine on Lake Ontario and the headquarters of Britain’s Royal Navy from 1813 to 1853. Today, it is the home of the Royal Military College of Canada.
In this detailed narrative, with over one hundred colour archival maps, aerial views, photographs, and 3D reconstructions, Banks recounts Point Frederick’s building of great sail and steam warships and the roles these vessels played in conflict on Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and Niagara. Among the conflicts is the War of 1812, when French Canadian and British shipwrights made warships that forced the U.S. Navy into port and led to the American withdrawal from Canada. Banks also covers the role of the ships in the settlement of Upper Canada, the rebellion of 1837, the early planning of the Rideau Canal, and the beginning of the undefended border.
Along the way, Banks introduces an array of people from Upper Canada, such as Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe and his wife, Elizabeth Posthuma; Governor General Lord Dorchester; General Isaac Brock; Sir James Yeo, and even Charles Dickens. He also describes the day-to-day activities at Point Frederick, beyond shipbuilding and military campaigns, such as skating parties, sleigh rides, theatricals, disease and death, and crime and punishment.
Banks shares the moments of hardship, triumph, and tragedy of both the warriors and the warships in this important contribution to Canadian history.