Historic sites mark War of 1812 bicentennial

The Sault Star

By Elaine Della-Mattia

The red geraniums at the Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site are the official flower to mark the War of 1812 bicentennial.

The symbolic plant has been a tradition in Niagara-on-the-Lake as the tribute flower to all those who fought in the war.

The geranium is only one aspect of the Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site’s commemorations of the conflict between the U.S. and Great Britain, in which Canada, as a British colony, was swept up in the fray.

Events will take place July 14-21 at both the Sault Ste. Marie and St. Joseph Island sites, including historical encampments with re-enactors, a canoe flotilla, tall-ship tours, military musters, cultural pageantry, storytelling, vendors and more.

The official launch for celebrations is July 14 with the unveiling of the Sault Ste. Marie Museum’s 1812 exhibit, Life at the Sault 1812-1870: A Time of Change.

The following day, the public can participate in traditional events at the Richards Landing Centennial Grounds or have dinner with a group of paddlers completing a canoe flotilla to mark the bicentennial.

The tall ship, Welcome, will dock at the Richards Landing Marina for tours on July 15 and 16.

The signature event of the Algoma 1812 Bicentennial will take place at 11 a.m. on July 17 at Fort St. Joseph National Historic site, marking the time when Fort St. Joseph and its alliance took over Fort Michilimackinac.

Cultural pageantry, military musters, cannon firings, an encampment, re-enactors and music will take place throughout the day.

On July 19, Algoma 1812 Bicentennial will move back to Sault Ste. Marie for HistoryFest at the Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site, where a number of events will take place until July 22.

A full encampment, re-enactors, music, guest speakers and military musters are scheduled.

Soldiers will pillage area businesses in the downtown beginning at 18:12 (6:12 p.m.) as part of Downtown Days activities.

Re-enactors will also participate in the RotaryFest Parade on July 21.

Algoma is one of seven regions in the province to showcase the integral event that shaped Canada. Algoma led the first military manoeuvre in the War of 1812.

Algoma 1812 represents an alliance of British soldiers, First Nations, Metis, francophone and coureur de bois.

The 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 is being celebrated over three years with assistance by the provincial and federal governments and the United States.

All-access passes retail for $13.50 per person and can be used at both sites and to board Welcome for a tour. Passes can be purchased at the Algoma 1812 office, waterfront side of the Roberta Bondar Pavilion.

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