Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Cliff Site National Historic Site of Canada, located on Brant Hill in Port Dover, Ontario, overlooks Highway 6, along the north shore of Lake Erie. The site is marked by a large memorial cross. A cross on a pedestal resting on octogonal steps, this monument bears a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque, as well as a secondary plaque, commemorating a 1670 cross raising of which there are no extant remains. Official recognition refers to the current site of the cross surrounded by a five metre radius.
Cliff Site was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1920 because:
- On March 23, 1670, two Sulpician priests, François Dollier de Casson and René de Brehant de Galinée, laid claim in the name of France to the north shore of Lake Erie, an important episode in the development of the Canadian nation.
On 6 July 1669, French missionaries François Dollier de Casson and René Bréhent de Galinée departed from Montréal as part of an expedition into the interior led by Robert Cavalier de La Salle. Part of an original party of twenty-two Europeans and Algonkian interpreters, Dollier and Galinée split from the party shortly after travelling through present-day Hamilton. Dollier and Galinée were accompanied by seven men and three canoes and, in late October 1669, they set up a winter camp at the present day community of Port Dover. Having chosen the site for its aesthetic appeal and abundant food sources, Dollier and Galinée declared this area territory of France in the name of King Louis XIV. On 23 March 1670, three days prior to the group’s departure, a large cross was erected with the arms of France, thereby marking an important episode in the development of the Canadian nation.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1920, December 2008.
Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- its location in Port Dover, along the north shore of Lake Erie;
- its setting on Brant Hill overlooking Highway 6, and monument, consisting of a cross on a pedestal resting on octagonal steps, which represents the form and symbolism of the original cross raised by Dollier and Bréhant;
- the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archaeological remains, which may be found within the site and related to the original cross-raising;
- viewscapes from the site to the surrounding community of Port Dover.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1669/01/01 to 1670/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Commemorative Monument
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection