Published Tuesday, August 13, 2013 7:04PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 13, 2013 7:11PM EDT
Historic tall ships will mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812 in Penetanguishene next week.
And a brand new exhibit is being unveiled ahead of that for an up-close look at history. For the first time, the hull of the original HMS Tecumseth will be on display next week.
“It was under shelter here for the last 50 years,” says Katherine McCracken, with Huronia Historical Parks. “It was moved around the site a few times but until now it has never had a permanent home.”
Now it does.
A new room had to be built to accommodate the large hull. It was done with the help of an $87,000 grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage. From start to finish the project happened fast.
“The first kick off meeting was on Jan. 16 with the exhibit team and now we are opening in August,” McCracken says.
The original ship functioned as a transport schooner on the Great Lakes for most of its life. It sank in 1828 and stayed submerged in the Penetanguishene harbour until 1953. It was then brought to surface using a barge and crane and stored on site here until now.
There is a lot to see, including the original deck lights that worked as skylights for below deck, and other artifacts from the time.
There are also interactive stations that allow you to see the ship’s logs and floor plans. Many people say they think the display will be a great addition.
“It gives them a hands on and real life experience and understanding what our pioneers and military experienced during those days,” says Kingsville resident Kim Frias.
Toronto resident Dora Yeow says, “I think it’s important for the history of what’s happened in the past for just helping to pass along an understanding for the kids and future generations.”
For an even closer look at what the ship might have been like, there is a replica in the harbour.
“We’ve redone the below-deck area of it based on plans that date from 1815 so people will have the opportunity to see how the original Tecumseth vessel looked when it was in service in the 1800s right up until the 1820s,” says Larry Ford, program coordinator at Discovery Harbour.
The HMS Tecumseth centre will be open to the public staring Monday as part of the regular admission. And the tall ships will be landing here the following weekend.
The tall ships will be in the area for the next couple of weeks starting Friday.
The ships will be in Collingwood and Owen Sound Aug. 16 to 18 and Midland, Penetanguishene and Discovery Harbour Aug. 24 and 25
You can buy a pass for a tour on board.
The tall ships are sailing into 15 Ontario ports this summer to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812.