Brock to celebrate namesake’s 250th birthday Friday

St. Catharines town crier Mark Molnar will be on hand Friday as Brock University celebrates the 250th birthday of its namesake, Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock. Brock University photo

Brock University press release – It’s an event a quarter millennium in the making.

On Friday, Oct. 4/2019, members of the Brock community are invited to celebrate the 250th birthday of the University’s namesake, Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock, who was born on Oct. 6/1769.

To properly mark the sestercentennial celebration, a birthday party is planned in front of Brock’s statue on the University’s main campus at noon on Friday, where partygoers will eat cupcakes, sing Happy Birthday and learn more about Sir Isaac.

Along with traditional touches the General would have recognized, such as presentations from Old Fort Erie historical site staff and retired History professor Wes Turner, as well as a proclamation from the St. Catharines town crier, there will also be more modern offerings at the student-led initiative, such as a visit from the cheerleading team and multicoloured chalk birthday messages written by students.

Student Life Assistant and fourth-year Political Science student Kailene Jackson said the birthday party helps students to learn more about Niagara and show their school spirit.

“It’s an important way to remember the life and legacy of our namesake and learn more about the history of the region as a whole,” she said. “We hope everyone comes out and joins in the fun.”

To commemorate the momentous occasion, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to wear red on Friday.

About Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock

Isaac Brock was born on Oct. 6,/1769 on the Island of Guernsey, one of Britain’s Channel Islands. He earned a reputation for being studious, reading works on ancient history, science and military tactics. Estimated to be more than six feet tall, Brock was athletic and excelled in swimming and boxing. He entered the military at the age of 15.

Brock came to Canada when he was 33 years old. Within 10 years, he became commander-in-chief of the army, responsible for defending Upper Canada against the U.S.

When the War of 1812 broke out, Brock’s army was ready. Quick victories at Fort Mackinac and Detroit defeated American invasion efforts.

In the early morning of Oct. 13, 1812, American troops crossed the Niagara River and took the hill at Queenston Heights. In an effort to stop their progress, Brock led the charge on foot up the steep hill. However, his tall stature and distinctive British red coat and white trousers made him an obvious target. A musket ball struck Brock in the chest and he fell. His last pronouncement is reported to be “Surgite!” — Latin for “Push on!” — which was adopted as Brock University’s motto.