Tuesday, July 10, 2012 by:SooToday.com Staff
Museum exhibit and ceremonial paddle-in-the-water kicks off War of 1812 Bicentennial
SAULT STE. MARIE (July 9) – A historical museum exhibit that captures life in Sault Ste. Marie from the War of 1812 to 1870 and a ceremonial paddle-in-the-water will kick off the Algoma 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration.
The War of 1812 Bicentennial will run from July 14 to 22 in Sault Ste. Marie and on St. Joseph Island.
“Life in the Sault 1812-70: A Time of Change” will officially open on Saturday, July 14 at 2 p.m. at the Sault Ste. Marie Museum.
The public is welcome to attend the opening of the exhibit and admission will be waived during the 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. opening.
“The museum is hosting an exhibit on life in the Sault 1812-1870 which provides a brief glimpse of Sault Ste. Marie at a time of change. Daily life in the Sault area was impacted for First Nation people and the Voyageurs of the North West and Hudson Bay Companies by war, treaties and a rebellion,” says Kim Forbes, curator – Sault Ste. Marie Museum.
At the opening, members of the public can also ‘meet’ Charles Ermatinger, Captain Charles Roberts and Chief Shingwauk – as portrayed by actors from Algoma 1812 Animated.
These historic characters played an important role in the first offensive military maneuver in the War of 1812 which was the taking of Fort Michilimackinac.
Their gathering of people for a common cause resulted in a canoe flotilla of supporters, in 1812, which will be depicted by members of the Algoma 1812 Bicentennial Canoe Flotilla.
This Saturday representatives from that re-created Alliance will gather to portage from the Sault Ste. Marie Museum, along Queen Street East, to the Ermatinger∙Clergue National Historic Site and then over to the St. Marys River.
Once there, there will be a ceremonial paddle-dip into the river prior to the next day’s actual departure at 8 a.m. from Bellevue Park for Richards Landing.
“Overall, we have a total of 80 paddlers participating in this historic journey which covers almost just over 100 km of paddling in the big North and Montreal canoes,” says Mark Crofts, chairperson Bicentennial Canoe Flotilla Organizing Committee. “The people who have volunteered to paddle love the water take great pride in participating in this historical voyage.”
Paddlers will be setting out from Sault Ste. Marie for Richards Landing, St. Joseph Island on Sunday, April 15 for the first leg of a three-day journey to re-create the historical gathering of an Alliance of First Nation, Metis, coureur de bois and area businessmen (including Charles Ermatinger) who met up with Fort St. Joseph troops to take over Fort Michilimackinac on July 17, 1812.
They’ll have a traditional encampment at the Women’s Institute Park (just west of the Richards Landing Marina) that is available for tours.
The tall ship “Welcome” will also be available for tour from July 15-18 at Richards Landing.
On Tuesday, July 16 the paddlers will make their way down the west side of the island for an overnight encampment prior to arriving in time for the Algoma 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, July 17.
“We’re hoping that people will gather along the river to cheer on the paddlers during their journey,” says Cindy Ellen Crawford, Algoma 1812 regional project manager. “Attending the Bicentennial Commemoration, and its associated events, is a great way to show pride of place.”
Algoma 1812 is an organization that was created to develop and implement signature events pertaining to the War of 1812.
Commemorative activities and events will take place from Sunday, July 15 to 18 on St. Joseph Island and then, in Sault Ste. Marie from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, July 22.
Events include a canoe flotilla to recreate the historical voyage, a tall ship tour, military musters, cultural celebrations, dances and music, pageantry, re-enactors, historical encampments and participation in RotaryFest.
Algoma 1812 All Access Passes or event information is available at the Algoma 1812 office at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion (telephone: 705 949-1812), the Ontario Travel Information Centre at 261 Queen St. W., the Sault Ste. Marie Canal or Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site.
Algoma 1812 events are in the process of being finalized and regular updates can be found at this website.