Muskets were firing last weekend as residents and visitors had a chance to relive the historic Battle of Fort George.
Organized by Parks Canada, the two-day event commemorated the 206th anniversary of the battle. It involved 400 re-enactors and around 1,200 people visited Fort George during the weekend.
Re-enactors recreated the battle and showed what life was like at the camp. Even the tents, which re-enactors brought with them and stayed in overnight, were set up according to the organization and military rules of that time, said Peter Martin, a special events co-ordinator for Parks Canada.
Fort visitors were able to watch the battle unfold in front of them, starting from the initial landing of the Americans and finishing with the British army retreating and Americans capturing the fort.
Visitors also had a peek inside the camp life and listened to music provided by the 41st Fife and Drum Corps.
The Battle of Fort George, which was one of the important battles during the War of 1812, occurred on May 25-27, 1813. The Americans attacked the fort and won the battle, forcing the British troops to retreat to Stoney Creek, where they stopped the Americans from advancing.
“The War of 1812 and the Battle of Fort George was a part of what defined us as Canada,” Martin told The Lake Report. “Had the war gone differently, this might not even be Canada.”
Martin applauded the re-enactors as they can spend a lot of money on costumes or muskets and they’re very “particular” that they get everything historically right.
“I love the fact they’re so into it. They’re so passionate about what they do and want to represent these men and women who, in some cases, lost their lives,” he said.
One of the re-enactors, James Rolston, said he has been doing it for 12 years and the best part of such events is meeting people all over the world. Fellow re-enactor, Joe Deschamps, said participating in the re-enactment taught him more about the history and the battle than he ever learned at school.
“It is such a forgotten war,” he said, “especially for Canada. It made us a country.”
Another longtime re-enactor, Mike Campbell, said he enjoys the camaraderie among the re-enactors and said the fort is also a “beautiful site” to visit.
“It’s well-organized, very well put together. And the volunteers here do a phenomenal job supporting us,” he said.
Adelaida Kintana was in Canada for the first time on the weekend. Kintana, who came from Basque Country in Spain, said she found the demonstrations and the life of soldiers at the camp really interesting.
“I’m very lucky because I have an opportunity to learn more about this war,” she said.
Niagara Falls resident Carl Delazzari said he’s visited the fort since he was a kid. He said he liked that it was interactive and presented “good information” about the war.