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Frank, Mark.

Toronto, Red Robin Press, 1987. 48pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-9693148-0-9. Distributed by Red Robin Press, 24 Shields Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5N 2K2. CIP

Grades 7 and up
Reviewed by Jerry McDonnell

Volume 16 Number 3
1988 May

One of the ways we show how we feel about the history of our nation is by the erection of plaques and monuments. Equally important is the attention given to them afterwards. Reasons for neglect can be many and would include the changing ways we look at and feel about past events.

In June of 1938, in the presence of Prime Minister Mackenzie King, the Clifton Pioneer Memorial Arch honouring those who fought and died in the rebellion of 1837 was unveiled at Niagara Falls. In the fall of 1967 the Niagara Parks Commission dismantled the arch and promised to put it in storage until a new site could be found for it. In May of 1974 officials from the Toronto Historical Society found the remaining sculptured sections of the arch carelessly stored in the open. The rest had disappeared or been broken. In 1984 the restored panels were unveiled in the garden of Mackenzie House in Toronto.

Why did Parks officials cause the arch to be removed, and who was responsible for the destruction of components made by some of Canada's better known sculptors? Why was the promised preservation of the monument not carried out, and why was no attempt made to find a new site? In fact, why, was the arch removed from the original site only to be replaced by a parking area? What does this incident tell us about our view of the 1837 rebellion?

This well-illustrated and written booklet attempts to answer these questions and also chronicles a minor but shameful incident in Canadian history. It is recommended as supplementary material in Canadian history for grades 7 and up in school libraries and for all Canadian history collections in public libraries. The material for this book was collected by Mark Frank in the course of preparing a larger work called Stones of Rebellion, which will be a guide book to sites of resistance to a law and order that was unresponsive to public needs.

Jerry McDonnell, F.E. Madill Secondary School, Wingham, Ont.
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