Battle of Lundy’s Lane bicentennial celebrations will be a community event

‘We want to do something a little different,’ museums manager Clark Bernat says

Niagara This Week – Niagara Falls

NIAGARA FALLS — The city’s War of 1812 Bicentennial committee is hoping to see a battlefield awash in red and blue come July.

Residents are being encouraged join in celebrations on what remains of the site of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, which happened 200 years ago come July 25.

“When most people thing of commemorations they think of re-enactments,” said Clark Bernat, manger for Niagara Falls Museums. We want to do something a little different.”

Instead, special blue (representing American forces) and red (British) t-shirts have been created for the event and are and will be provided to participants in a memorial walk meant to recreate the arrival at the battlefield. Entry fees for the two-kilometre walk are $12 for adults and $6 for children and include a t-shirt. The first 500 people who register will also receive commemorative Battle of Lundy’s Lane coin. About the size of a silver dollar, the colour coin features a silhouette of a soldier on one side and the memorial to the fallen located at Drummond Hill cemetery on the reverse.

The walk is meant to recall the trek soldiers from both sides took to get to the site of what is called the bloodiest battle ever fought on Canadian soil.

“This involves the community,” Bernat said. “It’s a really fun family event.”

Once at the battlefield, participants will be joined by members of the costumed members of Next Company Theatre of St. Catharines for an event filled with the sights and sound of war, meant to give participants an idea of what it was like on that spot 200 years ago.

“Five thousand soldiers met on this battlefield,” Bernat said. “We want to help recreate that. They (Next) will be working with the participants, moving up and down the field.”

After a day of free admission to the museum, a memorial service will be held at the monument at Drummond Hill at 7:30 p.m. before the walk. Action swings back to the battlefield for the performance and a candlelight vigil.

“It’s been really exciting,” said Don Jackson, chair of the fundraising committee for the Niagara Falls Board of Museums. “July 25th, 2014 will be a really significant event in the city of Niagara Falls.”

Meanwhile, Gales Fuels have jumped on board as a sponsor.

Owner Bob Gale said it was a natural fit and an extension of his company’s commitment to teaching youth about history first with a donation toward the cost of expansion of the history museum and now the bicentennial of the Lundy’s Lane battle.

“I’m proud to see students and youth engaged in learning what happened here 200 years ago,” Gale said.

The Battle of Lundy’s Lane claimed the lives of 84 British troops and 117 Americans. Wounded numbered in the hundreds for both sides.

More information on events to mark the bicentennial of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane can be found at niagarafallsmuseums.com

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