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The Kedge Anchor – A relic of the War of 1812 in Holland Landing

March 2020

The small community of Holland Landing, Ontario, played an important part in the early history of Upper Canada, now known as the Canadian province of Ontario.  Today, it has a monument in a community park that has an interesting history.

Holland Landing was the northernmost point of the original alignment of Yonge Street, an important element in the planning and settlement of Upper Canada in the 1790s.  The original intention was to connect Yonge Street northward to Penetanguishene Road in Simcoe County, providing access to the Upper Great Lakes at Penetanguishene. 

With the Holland River being easily navigable north of Holland Landing, plans were made for the creation of an inland port at Holland Landing for transporting goods further north to Lake Simcoe, prior to the construction of the land route.  Howerer, this plan never fully came to fruition.  The closest Holland Landing came to serving this function was during the War of 1812, when the Royal Navy established the Royal Naval Depot at Soldier s Bay (Holland Landing), which worked in conjunction with the newly established Royal Naval Yard at Penetanguishene.  

In addition to housing a naval garrison and supply depot, the Penetanguishene Naval Yard also served as a construction facility for gunboats, steamers, schooners and brigantines.  In the summer of 1814, Sir James Yeo sent orders to the Royal Military and Naval Foundry at Chatham, England, to send to him in Upper Canada the hardware needed for a 44-gun frigate, which was to be commissioned at Penetanguishene.  Included in this order was a 4000 lb Kedge Anchor.

Lieutenant Brock, a distant cousin of General Sir Isaac Brock, was tasked with transporting these supplies northward from Fort York, in current day Toronto.  A specially designed sleigh to transport the anchor to the Holland Landing, a task that took only a week, but by this time, the mild winter made the ice route across the Holland River and Lake Simcoe dangerous.  While awaiting further orders, the war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in Belgium on 24 December 1814.  As there was no longer a need to complete the frigate, the anchor was simply left at the Soldier s Bay Depot, even long after the depot had closed in the 1830s.

In May 1872, the Kedge Anchor was moved to what is now known as Anchor Park, where it remains to this day as a reminder of the War of 1812 and Holland Landing s military past. 

Anchor Park now includes a picnic shelter, sports fields and a children s playground.  It is adjacent to the Holland Landing Conservation Area, which has a series of hiking trails through the forested property.

Sources: http://ontarioplaques.com/Plaques/Plaque_York32.html, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penetanguishene_Naval_Yard, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holland_Landing, https://redtruckpro.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/the-holland-landing-anchor-of-1812.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/the-kedge-anchor-a-relic-of-the-war-of-1812-in-holland-landing/

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