nthony Bumbaco for local2 sault ste. marie
July 12th, 2012
After nearly six years of hard work and planning, the War of 1812 Bicentennial event is set to kick off this weekend in Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding area. The Algoma 1812 Committee along with various other committees and community partners will see their hard work come to life beginning on Saturday July 14th through the 21st with activities being held in Sault Ste. Marie, Fort St. Joseph and Richards Landing.
The event begins this Saturday with the unveiling of a new 1812 exhibit in the Sault Ste. Marie Museum. This will be followed up on Sunday as the Canoe Flotilla will put paddle into water in an effort to recreate the voyage that saw the gathering of the troops and the alliance which was comprised of First Nations, Courier de Bois, the Metis and with local businessmen such as Charles Oakes Ermatinger of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario at Fort St. Joseph. It will represent the three-day trip to from St. Joseph that occurred over the 15th, 16th and arriving at the Fort on July 17th, 1812.
According to Algoma 1812 Regional Project Manager Cindy Ellen Crawford, who came on-board in February 2012, it is this event that gives Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding area such a significant place in the bicentennial celebration.
“The first military offensive manoeuver in the War of 1812 took place in the Algoma region and this was the taking of Fort Michilimackinac by the troops from Fort St. Joseph and the alliance,” explained Crawford. “It was the first maneuver and took place without any bloodshed and occurred on July 17th, 1812.”
In addition, at the Richards Landing Marina the public is invited to take a tour aboard the Tall Ships, which will arrive on the 15th and be available for viewing until Wednesday, July 18th. The festivities will then return to Sault Ste. Marie beginning on Thursday where activities will be held at the Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site and at the Clergue Park site in conjunction with Rotaryfest.
“There will be some of the Military musters, some of our performers singing authentic songs and playing music from that period along with English country style dancing,” said Crawford of the HistoryFest events to be held as part of Rotaryfest. “We’ll also have an area in the Kids Zone where kids can make Shako hats, which were the British soldiers hats that they would have worn at that time.”
In order for this celebration to be a success, a great deal of time and effort has been put into the Bincentennial celebration in order to insure that everything is as accurate as possible and little is overlooked.
“Over the last two or three years various committees, community partners and organizations have all worked together to make sure we do represent the full story of what happened in 1812,” explained Crawford. “All the different cultural groups, the historical and political correctness as well and the copious hours of volunteer time by hundreds of individuals along the north shore area from Sault Ste. Marie to Fort St. Joseph and beyond.”
This year’s event focuses primarily on the land and specific sites but is part of a much larger three-year program that will continue into 2015. The emphasis will shift to the waterways and the ships and vessels involved in the war coming in 2013.
“Most wars are given the moniker of one year as an identifier, such as the War of 1812, but in fact it carried through to 1815,” said Crawford in explaining the reasoning for a three-year program.
Crawford described her role in the event as being, “the conductor of the orchestra. Everyone has their expertise, their role and an understanding of what message they need to bring out to the public. My role is to make sure that it all comes together, and funnels down and presents itself in the proper manner to the public.”
The biggest instrument within this orchestra is the tremendous amount of support that the Algoma 1812 Committee has received from its volunteers. These include those who will participate as re-enactors that eat, sleep and breathe 1812 and those within the community who will be assigned various tasks throughout the events.
“Everyone who is involved with the Algoma 1812 events is certainly integral to the success of the event,” said Crawford. We are very appreciative of the strong support we have received from the communities along the North Shore and I think many of them are just starting to realize the wonderful history we have in this area.”
Those who wish to participate and attend the Algoma 1812 Bicentennial events can purchase an All Access Pass Button for $13 that will allow them to attend all of the events at the Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site, Fort St. Joseph and Richards Landing. They may also attend events at each site where regular admission fees will apply.
Those interested in attending events at Fort St. Joseph are also encouraged to board buses on Tuesday, July 7th for $5 per person/10$ per family that will provide a round trip back to Sault Ste. Marie. Should you wish to drive please be advised that there is limited parking at the Richards Landing Centennial ground or the Mountain View Centennial ground.
There will be much to see much to see during the event from July 14th to the 21st. With activities being held from from 9am to 9pm daily at the Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site, and from 10am to 4pm daily at Richards Landing and again in the evening from 6-9pm. If you plan your schedule well, you should be able to see a little bit of everything and there is definitely something for everyone, of any age group.
“I have no doubt that it will be a success,” said Crawford. “We are confident that with the budget we have, that we are able to produce an event that will, not only enlighten people about our local history, but also provide them with some entertainment in the celebration as well.”
More information and a full schedule of events can be found at algoma1812.ca