Crysler is a small village located south of Highway 417 in Eastern Ontario, on the banks of the South Nation River. It has French Ontarian (its Catholic church) and English (its red-bricks buildings) influences.
I have to say that even if I leave nearby, I didn’t know much about Crysler. While doing some research and taking some time to explore the village, I was surprised to learn that the village has a direct link with an important event of the Canadian history: the War of 1812.
The War of 1812 is that war that opposed the British to the Americans, when the latter tried to conquer Canada. In 1813, the Americans attempted to seize Montréal, which led to a series of battles along the St. Lawrence River. One of these battles took place near Cornwall, on the lands of John Crysler, a politician and businessman born in the United States, but deeply Loyalist. In what would later be known as the Battle of Crysler’s Farm, the Americans attacked with a force four times greater than their opponents, but the layout of the land played against them, and they eventually had to retreat.
John Crysler himself fought in the battle that was taken place on his land as the local militia captain.
A few years later, John Crysler moved on the banks of the South Nation River, near the village that bears his name today. He built there a sawmill and a flourmill, before dying in 1852. John Crysler is buried in the Anglican cemetery of the village.
Ironically, John Crysler’s land on which the famous battle took place doesn’t exist anymore. The land was flooded when the dam was built in Cornwall. The village of Crysler is therefore preserving, so to speak, the memory of a small part of Canadian history.