Dedication of the Bells by Rev. Martin R. Jenkinson

Dedication bells
View of the Bells in the Carillon Tower of the Rainbow Bridge by George Bailey. Photo courtesy Niagara Falls Public Library Digital Collections

It stands amid floral splendour,
Its feet firmly set on the sod,
Its tower upreaching to Heaven,
Like a finger, pointing to God.

Though it stands on Canada’s soil,
It looks to America’s shore,
And the common music to both,
Is the sound of the river’s roar.

And out from that beautiful shrine,
There will come melodious knells;
The cause of this musical flood?
The tower is a Chapel of Bells.

They’re the fruit of a people’s pride.
A means of showing their praise;
In honour of two of earth’s great,
Who led them through dark, dreary days.

Their words gave balm to the weary;
Then they rallied their nations’ power.
To battle the hosts of darkness.
And give freedom one shining hour.

Their words defied the defiant,
And imparted strength to the brave,
And like some heavenly trumpet,
Aroused man’s shy hopes from the grave.

Held in high respect by earth’s great,
And loved by the humble as well,
We will be hearing their voices, when
We list to the song of the bell.

Your songs are the art of blending,
By the touch of a master’s choice.
May all who hear, catch the meaning,
Who stand within sound of your voice.

So cast on the air your message,
May if come again and again.
In notes of comfort and uplift,
Like a benediction to men.

Source:  Bridges – Rainbow – Carillon Vertical File. Niagara Falls, Ont. : Niagara Falls Public Library.

Read on the occasion of the dedication of the carillon bells, June 16, 1947.

Niagara Falls Coat of Arms and Motto

 

 

Niagara Falls Coat of Arms
Niagara Falls Coat of Arms. Used with permission of the City of Niagara Falls

On May 15, 2006, the Canadian Heraldic Authority issued a new Coat of Arms to the City of Niagara Falls.  At the same time, a new motto was chosen, Tread the Smoother Ways of Peace, which was taken from the poem Niagara by Dr. Arthur William Fisher which was found on this website. The description of the coat of arms is reproduced below.

Blazon

Arms

Argent three pallets wavy Azure, on a chief enarched three pallets counterchanged;

Supporters

Two lions Or each holding a lightning bolt Argent and standing on a rocky mound proper;

Crest

Issuant from a mural crown Argent masoned Azure charged with maple leaves Gules and hurts bearing mullets Argent, a thunderbolt Or;

Motto

TREAD THE SMOOTHER WAYS OF PEACE;


Symbolism

Arms

The design is a symbolic representation of the Canadian, or Horseshoe, Falls, the City’s most famous feature and one of the natural wonders of the world. The top part indicates the flowing water of the Niagara River, the division line the shape of the Horseshoe Falls, and the lower part the tumbling water as it goes over the Falls.

Supporters

The lions have been used by the City since 1939, and the lightning bolts refer to the importance of hydro-electric power generated by the Falls. As gold lions are found in the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom and of Canada, they also allude to the important role the Niagara region played in the defence of Canada during the War of 1812, such as at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane in what is now Niagara Falls. The rocky ground on which the lions stand alludes to the Niagara Gorge.

Crest

The mural crown is a traditional symbol of municipal authority. The maple leaves and stars indicate Niagara Falls’ status as a border city, across from the city of the same name in New York State. The thunderbolt is a symbol derived from classical mythology. It alludes to the name Niagara, thought to mean “thunder of water” in the aboriginal Neutral language. It also reinforces the idea of electrical power as expressed in the lightning bolts held by the supporters.

Motto

This sentence is taken from Dr. Arthur William Fisher’s poem “Niagara”, published in 1924. As Niagara Falls is the most famous border city in Canada, this alludes to the peaceful relationship with the United States, valued particularly in a region that saw terrible battles in the War of 1812. This motto can serve as an exhortation to all citizens to advance the cause of peace.

The Test of Cantilever by James Walton Jackson

Sketch of the testing of the cantilever bridge 1883
Sketch of the testing of the cantilever bridge 1883 Courtesy Niagara Falls Public Library

Lo! Cantilever stands the test,
See! see! it bears upon its breast
Fully twenty locomotives’ weight,
Nor bends beneath the heavy freight.
See! twenty engines safely ride
Across Niagara’s seething tide –
Across the mystic iron span –
Last product of the god-like man.
“The Cantilever bridge is strong!”
Exultant shout the wondering throng.
Lo! fifty locomotives screech,
Two nations’ praise blends each with each,
Resounds the East, resounds the West,
The matchless triumph each attest.
The loud applause – the palm each yields
To Cantilever and to Fields.

First published May 10, 1884 in …ridge Journal

MacDonnell On The Heights by Stan Rogers

Too thin the line that charged the Heights
And scrambled in the clay.
Too thin the Eastern Township Scot
Who showed them all the way,
And perhaps had you not fallen,
You might be what Brock became
But not one in ten thousand knows your name.

To say the name, MacDonnell,
It would bring no bugle call
But the Redcoats stayed beside you
When they saw the General fall.
Twas MacDonnell raised the banner then
And set the Heights aflame,
But not one in ten thousand knows your name.

You brought the field all standing with your courage and your luck
But unknown to most, you’re lying there beside old General Brock.
So you know what it is to scale the Heights and fall just short of fame
And have not one in ten thousand know your name.

At Queenston now, the General on his tower stands alone
And there’s lichen on ‘MacDonnell’ carved upon that weathered stone
In a corner of the monument to glory you could claim,
But not one in ten thousand knows your name.

You brought the field all standing with your courage and your luck
But unknown to most, you’re lying there beside old General Brock.
So you know what it is to scale the Heights and fall just short of fame
And have not one in ten thousand know your name.

Written and recorded by Stan Rogers. Copyright Fogarty’s Cove Music 

N.B. Although written in the song as MacDonnell, the correct spelling is John Macdonell.

Click to see more poems about the Battle of Queenston Heights and other Poems of the War of 1812 in Niagara

 

The River None Believe by John B. Lee

 

John B Lee
John B. Lee / theOntariopoetrysociety.ca

I think of the Niagara
and if I say
“the river it seems remembers nothing”
and you might say
“What?” you might say “are you crazy?”
and if I say
“well, the War of 1812 was fought here
from mouth to source
and it was
the worst conflict, the most violent
ever fought by Europeans
right here on Canadian soil…
not as ‘remember the Alamo’
but as ‘remember Lundy’s Lane'”
the heat of battle
to the death–the worst in North America
until the Civil War
yet if you travel now
to the sight
it’s like hardening of the arteries
of history
it’s carnival traffic, tarmac
and the roar of a frothy falls
full of whisky barrel values
like empty thread spools
dangling from a mad tailor
and all you see
is Blondin on his tight rope
over the rapids
not the red wind
of a single crimson night
how many summers ago
and gone
and if I say
“go to the heights above Burlington Bay
and listen for those headless ghosts
of eight men hanged
go to Queenston
and watch the far banks
for the bad boats
go to Newark/Niagara
and look for the conflagration
listen for the hiss of torches
and the crash of blackened rafters
go to little St. David’s
ride there on a dead horse
trample the vineyards
watch for the wine stain
in the blight of fire and ink
and if by
the echo of a wet rock
if by the strangled cry
of some turning eddy
foaming round in eternal rubble
wearing the shape of the flow
perilous enough
to the jarred heel
to spin a man’s craft
and crack his memory loose
as quick as a war club will
and if I look
to this land
and see
how a man is missed
as if he were never there
how his shape might drop away
like a walker in the fog
some phantom colour fading in the mist
with a ragged twin
of someone watching from the other way
what of this
this earth that holds us
this deeper gravity
this float of stones
these stories
dead tongues tell?

 

Source: The Author, 2001.

John B. Lee. From In the Terrible Weather of Guns  [manuscript]