This past weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to attend several of Niagara’s War of 1812 bicentennial events. At each of these events, and even on the shuttles back and forth, I was able to speak to a lot of great people. They all had their views and opinions about the event and were happy to share them with me.
Denis (D.D) is a young man who seemed enthralled by his experiences at Decew Park. Riding the shuttle back with family members, he was anxiously looking through the pictures that he had taken on his camera. “My favorite part was seeing the soldiers and being able to take their pictures,” he said.
Nadia Raj had not been in Thorold’s downtown core for some time and was pleasantly surprised by all of the positive changes that it has undergone. She was volunteering to direct visitors to historic downtown buildings and said, “I had no idea that Thorold was so historic. It’s so nice to see all of the beautiful changes that are happening in Thorold.”
Gail and Rose had just arrived in Thorold on one of the shuttles from Decew when I spoke to them. “We did the walk from Pelham Road to Decew,” they said. “We’ve enjoyed everything, especially learning about the history. We just feel that the communication hasn’t been the greatest,” added Gail.
While buses were clearly labeled from one venue to the next, there was a great deal happening and many options to choose from, so it is easy to see how there might have been a bit of confusion. However, overall, I believe that the events ran more smoothly than most would expect considering what a huge undertaking it was.
With plenty of advertising for the big weekend, it was a shame to talk to people who were not aware of the events that were happening. “I didn’t know it was happening and wouldn’t have really thought about going anyway,” said one Thorold resident.
To me, this was a sad statement as there is so much in the Niagara region to discover and to be proud of. Not only were the events immensely educational and fun, but they were also free for residents to partake in. Hopefully the positive word of mouth that will result from the events will be enough to encourage more residents to take part in activities in their own backyard.
The War of 1812 bicentennial events provided a great opportunity to revel in local culture and history, talk to some wonderful people and to enjoy a beautiful weekend.