By Ron Giofu, Amherstburg Echo
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 12:51:50 EDT PM
Dignitaries gather around the marker at Fort Covington holding the new sign designating it as an 1812 Bicentennial Peace Garden. The ceremony was held at the location, just south of the Amherstburg police station, Saturday, October 13.
AMHERSTBURG — A site of an American encampment during the War of 1812 has now been dedicated as an 1812 Bicentennial Peace Garden.Fort Covington, located just south of the Amherstburg police station, was dedicated Saturday morning with a ceremony at the site. The peace garden is the second in Amherstburg, with the first having been dedicated in the King’s Navy Yard Park in 2010.
Robert Honor, a member of the town’s heritage committee, said the committee has recognized the Fort Covington site “for quite a while.” He said few sketches and notes exist about the site but they do have some by David Botsford from the 1960’s.
“It was basically an earthworks,” said Honor.
Honor said the site was protected from the east by earthworks and by wetlands to the west. The Americans used it as an encampment before constructing a new fort at Fort Amherstburg, which is now known as Fort Malden.
American General William Henry Harrison lands at Bar Point in Amherstburg Sept. 27, 1813 with a force of 3,000 men. Before proceeding to Fort Amherstburg, the men dug a traverse for shelter in fear of British advancement as a temporary fortification. The site was named Fort Covington, after General Leonard Covington. Covington was an American commander of the War of 1812.
The trenches remained visible until approximately 1960 when they were filled in as the town expanded.
Mayor Wayne Hurst said Fort Covington was an important historical site and it is important to maintain such sites.
“It’s important we take the time to recognize our history,” he said. “It’s important we understand it.”
Arlene White, executive director of the Binational Alliance and project manager of the Peace Garden trail, said the Fort Covington site was the 21st out of 24 Peace Gardens dedicated this year alone. White credited manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota for getting the process started in Amherstburg.
“Our history is a very important thing to share with other people,” said White.
The Peace Garden project started in 2008 thanks to arts councils on both sides of the border. She said it helps show 200 years of a peaceful border between Canada and the United States.
White said sites like Fort Covington will eventually host youth performers demonstrating their interpretation of the two nation’s binational relationship.
Of all locations with 1812 Bicentennial Peace Gardens, White said the bulk of them are in this region.
“Southwestern Ontario has ten Peace Gardens,” she said. “You have the most in Ontario.”