This year, Ontario has a host of events and activities marking the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.
From Sault Ste. Marie to Georgian Bay; from Windsor to Niagara; from Toronto to the St. Lawrence and the Quebec border; north to south, and east to west through the province, significant events have been planned.
Visitors can get the chance to relive a landmark event in Ontario's history that dramatically shaped the culture, society and politics of the province, as well as the nation. 2012 to 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.
On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war on Great Britain by invading British North America's Upper Canada (what is today's Ontario) and Lower Canada (Quebec).
Much of the conflict was waged in Ontario, at numerous sites and locations, until December 24, 1814, when the Treaty of Ghent was signed ending the war and restoring peace.
The end of the war helped lay the groundwork for 200 years of continuous peace between Canada and the United States. It also created an alliance among the different groups of people defending and protecting their homeland such as First Nation peoples, French, British, African-Canadians and recent settlers. It was also the first step in the formation of the Canadian federation fifty years later in 1867.
There will be lots of dynamic War of 1812 experiences to choose from, ranging from festivals and events, to battle re-enactments, to exhibitions and shows, as well as enhanced war heritage sites and other cultural initiatives.
Some highlights this year include the following;
War Of 1812 Re-enactment.
A two day event on September 10/11, 2012 held at the Backus Heritage Conservation Area on the north shore of Lake Erie about two hours southwest of Toronto and witness their annual historical re-enactment.
Morrisburg: The Grand Encampment of the War of 1812
The largest War of 1812 re-enactment in North America is held annually on the grounds near the Battle of Crysler's Farm and at Upper Canada Village and this year takes place on July 9/10, 2012 www.uppercanadavillage.com
Three hours east of Toronto, is a National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The massive fortification was built between 1832 and 1837 and was the principal stronghold of Upper Canada. Re-enactors display the way military life would have been in Canada in 1812.
This year Fort Henry is taking part in a number of signature events marking the 200th anniversary including a signature event in partnership with the St Lawrence Bicentennial Alliance on June 30th called the 'Flight of the Royal George and Evening Military Tattoo'. The event includes re-enactments and military music and marching culminating in a spectacular firework display. www.forthenry.com/index.cfm/en/activities/war-of-1812-events/
The city of Toronto is commemorating the War of 1812 with more than a hundred events in 2012 and 2013 ranging from concerts and art exhibits to educational programs and historical re-enactments. The city has strong connections with the war throughout its museums. One such is Fort York National Historic Site, site of the Battle of York in 1813, and holds the largest collection of authentic 1812 era British military architecture in Canada.
To find out more about what is happening in Toronto log on to www.toronto.ca/1812
The beautiful location of Niagara-on-the-Lake has a number of War of 1812 bicentennial events planned throughout the year including commemorations and celebrations. It celebrates the official Bicentennial Grand Opening a four day festival from June 15-18 including military bands, musket and cannon demonstrations and a military ball.
October 12-13 will also see hundreds of re-enactors recreate the Battle of Queenston Heights, the famous battle that helped form the Nation of Canada. www.1812niagaraonthelake.ca
The city's annual Canada Day celebrations in the capita at Parliament Hill on July 1 will have a War of 1812 theme to them this yea. Elsewhere in the city, The Canadian War Museum commemorates the 200th anniversary with an exhibit 'Four Wars of 1812' which explores the conflict from the British, American, Canadian and First Nation perspectives and runs until January 6, 2013.
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