Tuesday, October 2, 2012 5:42:31 EDT PM
The Niagara Parks Commission heritage director was all set to run down the Battle of Queenston Heights moment by moment Tuesday. His speech to delegates and media was aimed at introducing a massive re-enactment set for the weekend of Oct. 13.
But with the crack of musket fire, he was interrupted first by re-enactors garbed as American soldiers, then more dressed as British redcoats.
“You need to clean up your act, Hill,” warned an in-character Daryl Learn, portraying an American trooper, before going on to accuse Hill of being in league with the British.
He didn’t get much better from Peter Martin, garbed as a redcoat.
“I’m keeping my eye on you, Hill,” he warned.
“And if I catch you talking to any more Americans, I’m turning you over to my friends from the Grand River. And you know what they do to traitors.”
The show came with Niagara gearing up for the 200th anniversary of the battle, in which Sir Isaac Brock was killed. A weekend of festivies from Oct. 12 to 14 will be capped Saturday with what officials say will be the largest re-enactment in Niagara history, with around 1,000 volunteers involved.
“I think it’ll be the largest one in North America, this year, related to the War of 1812,” Hill said.
Fittingly so, he said. When it comes to battles, Queenston Heights is one that looms large for Canadians.
“It reinforces, certainly, that Niagara was the hub of the action for the War of 1812.”
The re-enactment is set for Saturday, Oct. 13 at 3 p.m., with re-enactors marching to the Heights from Fort George starting at 10 a.m. And on Sunday at 12:30 p.m., old town Niagara-on-the-Lake will host a re-enactment of Brock’s funeral procession.
Niagara 1812 Bicentennial Legacy Council CEO Brian Merrett welcomed the weekend of festivities as a unifier. He said there’s a strong interest in the celebrations.
“The whole event, the whole re-enactment, is kind of the culmination of the whole year of bicentennial celebrations that we’ve been building up to,” he said.
“Niagara really is the focal point of the whole bicentennial, for the whole country.”