St. Joseph Island residents along with guests from near and far gathered to honour the past and the effort of many to participated in the War of 1812, hosted by the St. Joseph Island 1812 Bicentennial committee.
Into its second of a three year celebration, a gathering of alliances began at Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site and continued throughout the weekend in Richards Landing at the St. Joseph Township Centennial Grounds, the Women’s Institute Park and the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 374.
“The committee, represented by various community residents has tried to get the festival going for the past couple of years,” said committee chair Carol Trainor. “It’s also has a different flare, a celebration of cultural alliances.”
At the fort, the Healing Lodge Singers marked the kick off followed by a four gun salute which signals the pipes and drums. During the ceremony at the historic for chimney, visitors witnessed the military salute of 1813 to 2013 by the 49th Field Regiment of Foot.
A commemorative wreath laying recognized those who sacrificed their lives by the Royal Canadian Legion.
The concept began with the War of 1812 re-enactment and the bicentennial events of last year.
“After the success of that (2012) event, which the war lasted three years, the committee wanted to continue with the tradition of the 1812 celebration, but make it more than that,” Trainor said adding the two-day event included other cultures, music, various activities and interactive games that would bring the whole family out.
Events included cricket, golf, archery, traditional Highland games such as stone throw and caber toss.
“Those are games people normally don’t get to try, because they are heavy events and done by big burly guys at the Highland Games,” she said. “We combined a little of that culture with those games with the 1812- Voyageur and British soldier theme.”
At the WI park, numerous visitors took the opportunity to ride in a Montreal canoe.
For Quinn Clement and Ben Fisher with the Royal Newfound Regiment, Armstrong Company, the event furthers their appreciation for history and the opportunity to meet people.
“I’ve broadened my knowledge and vision about the War of 1812,” Clement said who only been with the RNR for about one year.
Fisher has been re-enacting since he was six years old.
About three years ago, Fisher began “red coating”
“I love to do it, it’s fun and you get to travel around Ontario,” Fisher said adding he enjoys shouting the muskets. “That’s a lot of fun.”