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Monday, January 30, 2023
Fireside Fridays commemorate 210th anniversary of Battle of Fort George
Wearing a replica Royal Engineers outfit Molly Bowron

Parks Canada and the Friends of Fort George are commemorating the 210th anniversary of the Battle of Fort George this year, and are kicking things off with a speaker series called Fireside Fridays.

Speakers will detail history and showcase artifacts from the War of 1812 — with specific emphasis on the Battle of Fort George, which was fought from May 25 to 27, 1813.

The series runs from Feb. 3 to 24 at Navy Hall, with four hour-long presentations.

Guests will get the opportunity to see and, in some cases, get their hands on historic artifacts, many of which have not yet been seen in Niagara-on-the-Lake, said the Friends of Fort George in a news release about the series.

Dan Laroche, manager of Fort George, will be speaking on Feb. 3, showcasing artifacts from 1812 during his presentation, “When Antiques Attack: The story of the Battle of Fort George as told through artifacts.”

Some relics that will be included during the series are a bill plate from the 4th Lincoln Regiment, which fought in the Battle of Fort George, an original circa 1812 watch, a Kings 8th Regiment bayonet piece, and most likely a First Nations chief’s pipe axe or pipe tomahawk, said Laroche. 

The second lecture, “The British Army Gets the Blues,” will be led by Parks Canada special events co-ordinator Peter Martin.

The Feb. 17 presentation will focus on the brave men who fought in the war and the uniform colours of the two opposing sides — and how there was some confusion.

Martin said most people think that during the war the British wore red and the Americans wore blue.

“But that wasn’t the case. In the British army the second most popular colour was blue — which can be challenging when you are fighting people wearing blue,” said Martin.

Tickets for the Fireside Fridays in February can be purchased at friendsoffortgeorge.square.site/.

Other lectures include “A Grand Musical Experiment: Reconstructing the Band of the 41,” on Feb. 10, hosted by Fort George’s historic music program co-ordinator Peter Alexander and military animation co-ordinator Gavin Watt, and “Niagara’s Women of War,” led by Sarah Kaufman, managing director and curator of the NOTL Museum.

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