This celebration kicked off with a bang. Literally

SooToday.com

Saturday, July 14, 2012   by:Jordan Allard

War of 1812 bicentennial activities kicked off on Saturday with a bang in the region where offensive action was first taken some 200 years ago.

The District of Algoma played a key role in a battle that went a long way towards the formation of our home and native land.

A celebration with a strong historical feel was launched this weekend at the Sault Ste. Marie Museum in honour of the War of 1812 bicentennial anniversary.

“The Algoma region has the claim to fame of initiating the first offensive maneuver in the entire War of 1812,” said Cindy Ellen Crawford, regional project manager for Algoma 1812. “The war itself was really the first time people in this country were united and working together towards a common cause.”

The first attacking action of the War of 1812 occurred when British troops and their alliance of First Nations and Metis peoples took over Fort Michilimackinac (near present day Mackinac Island).

“The war itself is considered a formative event which contributed strongly to the creation of our country,” Crawford said.

“What these people did was truly incredible,” added Mark Crofts, a volunteer with the event. “We all should be grateful, especially towards the First Nations who helped lead our efforts. Without their successful contributions we wouldn’t be here today.”

Crawford said historians credit the war with creating an alliance between Canadians and gave the yet-to-be-formed country an identity.

“It was really the first time people in this country were united and working together towards a common cause,” she said.

In honour of the bicentennial anniversary, events paying tribute to the War of 1812 will run from July 14-22 in the Sault and on St. Joseph Island.

“This wasn’t just a matter of throwing a party,” said Crawford. “We made every effort to make sure this is all as historically accurate as possible.”

To help ensure a precise historical retelling, Crawford said detailed probing was done by their research committee over the past five years to provide information for their events and reenactors.

“We’ve had a committee in place for a number of years that’s gone through general information and broken it down to specific areas related to the different characters and events,” she said.

Five-years-plus of planning was done by different committees and organizations working together and their hard work has culminated in nine days of events and activities.

“We wanted to recreate what daily life was like back during the War of 1812 through the use of period actors, artifacts and related activities,” Crawford said.

The activities are highlighted by a canoe flotilla recreating the historic voyage undertaken to take over Fort Michilimackinac that will see reeactors paddle nearly 100 kilometres from Bellevue Park to Fort St. Joseph from Sunday through Tuesday.

Encampments with several hundreds of reenactors giving a taste of everyday life in 1812 will also be set-up.

“People will find out what it was like to be in the military, to be a businessman or a woman at the time,” Crawford said.

Below is a full breakdown of the events throughout the next nine days.

For more details visit www.algoma1812.ca

Sunday, July 15

  • Canoe Flotilla Launch – 8 a.m. Bellevue Park, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
  • Tour the Tall Ship “Welcome” – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Richards Landing Marina, St. Joseph Island, Ontario
  • Arrival of Canoe Flotilla – 5 p.m. (tentative) Women’s Institute Park, Richards Landing, St. Joseph Island, Ontario
  • Dinner at the Royal Canadian Legion – 5:30 p.m. Tickets $12/person (must be purchased in advance) Rendezvous over beef, bannock, and beans with the paddlers

Monday, July 16

  • Tour the Tall Ship “Welcome” – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Richards Landing Marina, St. Joseph Island, Ontario

Tuesday, July 17 – ”Re-live the moment”

  • Mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Parks Canada Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site, St. Joseph Island, Ontario
  • Algoma 1812 All Access Pass or Admission Shuttle buses departing from Ermatinger/Clergue National Historic Site as well as on St. Joseph Island
  • Tour the Tall Ship “Welcome” – 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Richards Landing Marina, St. Joseph Island, Ontario

Wednesday, July 18

  • Tour the Tall Ship “Welcome” – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Richards Landing Marina, St. Joseph Island, Ontario
  • Algoma 1812 All Access Pass or Admission

Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, July 22

  • HistoryFest meets RotaryFest Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
  • HistoryFest at Ermatinger/Clergue National Historic Site – Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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