For the past few years, Fort Erie and Buffalo have simultaneously lit a bonfire at the water’s edge of the Niagara River, to commemorate the burning 200 years ago. This year will be the exact anniversary and on a larger scale on both sides of the border.
Buffalo will have activities all day long, including Tea With Dolly Madison at 10 a.m., tours of the USS Trippe at the Buffalo Marine Centre, a lecture presented by Chris Brown on the War of 1812, a tree-lighting in Market Square and -of course–the big fire at 6 p.m. at Squaw Island.
Non-perishable food items are graciously accepted, to be given to the Black Rock Food Bank.
A reception with refreshments will follow at St. John’s Church – 85 Amherst Street in Black Rock.
Fort Erie’s fire will be lit at the Old Coal Docks (corner of Jarvis St. and the Niagara Parkway) at 6 p.m. There will be a walking art exhibit along Jarvis Street that will start at 1 p.m.
The night before, on Dec. 6, a camp-out fundraiser begins, where 10 local community celebrities will brave the cold and spend the night in an 1812 encampment to raise money and supplies for local charities.
On both days, the public is asked to bring non-perishable food items and gently-used unwanted clothing to be donated locally.
Down the river in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the public is invited to visit Market Square and the courthouse on Queen Street between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., where a sound and light show will be projected onto buildings to simulate flames.
A dramatic film, Niagara On Fire, will be premiered at the courthouse. The film documents the burning of the town now called the “prettiest town in Canada.”
The film will be shown every half hour from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Hot cider will be served and the evening will conclude with fireworks.
Niagara on Fire is free to attend, and local shops and restaurants will stay open to offer visitors respite from the cold.
Most activities are free, or offer a reduced admission.
These events are part of a signature 1812 package, identified by the Niagara 1812 Legacy Council. The Legacy Council is a cross-border, nonprofit organization, established to commemorate the War of 1812 and celebrate the 200 years of peace between nations that has followed.
For the full schedule of events, go to www.discover1812.com or call 905-685-4225 ext. 3456.