The Mace of Upper Canada
Upper Canada’s Mace was introduced in 1792 when Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe convened the first meeting of the Parliament of Upper Canada (now Ontario). It is made of wood and painted gold with brass strips used to form a crown.
The Parliament of Upper Canada met in Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake) until 1796, when the capital was moved to York (Toronto). The Mace was then used in the new Parliament at York until the War of 1812. To avenge the heavy losses and injuries suffered during the Battle of York in April 1813, American troops and sympathizers destroyed and looted many of York’s public buildings. Upper Canada’s parliament buildings were burned to the ground and several war trophies were taken, including the Mace of Upper Canada. In retaliation, the British marched on to the American capital in Washington D.C. in August of 1814. The British troops overwhelmed the American defences and set fire to many public and military buildings in the city, including the White House, but they did not recover the Mace.
Ontario's first Mace was kept in the United States Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis, Maryland, along with other war trophies captured by American troops. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt returned the Mace as a gesture of friendship between the two countries.
As an important parliamentary symbol, the return of the first Mace was a momentous occasion for Ontario. Today, it is on display at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario at Queen's Park, Toronto.