This year marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812. And we’ve created a list of the top 6 ways you can mark the 200th anniversary of a war that arguably saved Canada.
While Eastern Ontario experienced fewer battles than Niagara, our region was pivotal in defending Canada. From July 1812 to September 1814, the upper region of the St Lawrence River between Cornwall and Kingston led a strategic role in military action. The St. Lawrence River was Upper Canada’s lifeline with Great Britain: a crucial supply line throughout the War of 1812 and a key passage-way to Montreal.
To commemorate our engagement in the War of 1812, communities across the region are hosting stellar events aimed at bringing history to life. Here are 6 events you must experience:
- The Battle of Crysler’s Farm: Two battles prevented the Americans from gaining Upper Canada: Crysler’s Farm and Chateauguay. Had we not won there, things would be very different today in Canada. To commemorate the courage of many local men, the Friends of Crysler’s Farm Battlefield Memorial will host two bicentennial events.Not to be missed is summer re-enactment on July 13-14, 2013. This event features massive military and civilians encampments across waterfront parklands, with battle re-enactments in historic Upper Canada Village. This includes a night battle in the village, where musket and cannon fire flash red in the dusk sky. The best part? Watching Upper Canada Village come alive with an even earlier epoch – a once in a lifetime opportunity.This event will be followed by a more somber commemoration of the Battle on the actual anniversary on November 11, 2013.
- Flight of the Royal George: With 7 Tall Ships, 10 Gunboats, 10 British and Canadian Regiments & 7 American Regiments, this is one naval re-enactment you will want to see. Spanning from Bath to Kingston, watch as Americans attempt to take the HMS Royal George, the largest war ship on the lake at the time. Celebrate Canada Day in style with militia encampments and Kingston’s annual festivities combined, June 29-July 1, 2012.
- Raid on Gananoque: Raids on towns across the St. Lawrence were common throughout the War of 1812. With supplies depleted, raiding an enemy seemed like an easy gain. Join the denizens of Gananoque on August 24-26, 2012, as they prepare to repel the first U.S. attack on the St. Lawrence River. Enlist in the militia and help save Canada!
- Garrison Weekend: Fort Wellington National Historic Site in Prescott will open up its doors in a unique way May 19-21, 2012. Experience Fort Wellington authentically garrisoned with re-enactors including the Canadian Regiment of Fencible Infantry. Visit the rare wreck of an 1812 gunboat. And take in the 1812 Dinner Series with a period menu and talk by Author Dianne Graves on Women in 1812.
- Bicentennial Heritage Fair: The picturesque village of Spencerville is bringing history alive June 1-3, 2012 with the Spencerville Mill’s Heritage Fair. Aimed at encouraging participation, the Heritage Fair offers visitors an exceptional experience. With workshops and talks throughout 2012, you too can get in the action, not just at the Heritage Fair, but all other 1812 events too. Partake in the roughness of an election re-enactment, travel through time on an historic tour with period characters, buy a wife, or step into a Jane Austen novel with a Regency Ball and period supper – the Heritage Fair brings 1812 civilian life to you.
- Tall Ships Festival: The summer of 2013 will bring a fleet of Tall Ships to the region, with major stops in Kingston and Brockville. Explore historic ships in one of the most strategically important regions of the War of 1812. Special events around the festival include a Heritage Wine and Food Festival in Brockville with tastings in the Brockville Tunnel, Canada’s first railway tunnel.
The War of 1812 began on June 18, 1812, when President James Madison declared the United States of America’s first war on a foreign country – Great Britain. This war would ultimately affect the peoples of another fledging nation, Canada. To commemorate the start of the war, join us in Gananoque on June 18, 2012, for a service and unveiling of the Joel Stone Heritage Park.