Adolphustown’s UEL Park, St. Alban’s to host 240th anniversary of Loyalist Landing on June 16

Historical re-enactors portrayed the Loyalist Landing in June of 2023. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

On June 16 the Landing of the United Empire Loyalists at Adolphustown will be remembered and celebrated for the 240th time.

A Loyalist descendant, balladeer Stephen Bruce Medd will provide musical insights through the words of his songs before and after RMC historian Dr. Tanya Grodzinski speaks on the challenges these Revolutionary War survivors faced in building a new country from wilderness. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A traditional tea will be served in the nearby Old Adolphustown Town Hall following the event.

History tells us the road to Ontario, as we know it today, began in June 1784 when United Empire Loyalists rowed heavy bateaux upstream to the head of the St. Lawrence River at Kingston, and then another 30 miles west, to Adolphustown on the Bay of Quinte along Adolphus Reach. The location is owned by Bay of Quinte Branch of the United Empire Loyalists and home to the UEL Heritage Centre and Park, which includes the 1784-vintage Old UEL Burying Ground.

Since surveyed by John Collins and his crews in mid-1783, Adolphustown had existed only on paper, ready for the arrival of Loyalists which followed the end of the American Revolution in 1783. It was named for Adolphus (1774-1850), the 10th child of King George III. Neighbouring towns and townships were named for other of King George’s children, including Fredericksburgh, Ernestown, Marysburgh and Ameliasburgh.

Back then, the lands and waterways of Adolphustown were part of the British Colony of Quebec and had been since 1763. It became Upper Canada in 1791 when split off from the French-speaking lands to the East, then Canada West in 1841 and finally became the Province of Ontario in 1867 when the Dominion of Canada was born. Adolphustown was the site of the first town hall meeting held in Upper Canada, in 1792. The province’s official motto is ‘Loyal She Began, and Loyal She Remains’; June 19th is officially United Empire Loyalist Day in Ontario.

Loyalists came from 27 national origins, all loyal to the British Crown because it had promised and delivered religious freedom lacking in a Europe riven by sectarian violence and wars.

St. Alban’s Centre is located at 10419 Loyalist Parkway (Hwy 33) in Adolphustown village, now part of Greater Napanee.  Friends of St. Alban’s was formed by local volunteers to preserve the historic former St. Alban’s Church, with dedicated windows and tiles, built as a tribute to the Loyalists 100 years after their arrival; it’s an open group, with new volunteers always welcome.

St. Alban’s Centre recognizes and celebrates the achievements of the local pioneers who helped create and shape Canada’s largest province, and the country itself.

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