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Thursday, May 23, 2024
Fort George is finally back to pre-COVID normality
Dan Laroche, site supervisor at Fort George, is ready to welcome the public back to the fort seven days a week starting Saturday. (Somer Slobodian)

Fort George is leaving COVID-19 in the past and staff are looking forward to the summer season. 

Starting Saturday, the national historic site will be open seven days a week — a schedule it hasn’t had since 2019. 

“We’re finally getting back to a full season and we’re also getting back to the larger scale special events,” said Dan Laroche, site supervisor at Fort George. 

During the summer 2022 season, the fort was open five days a week with a limited program schedule due to the pandemic. 

This summer, it’s full steam ahead. 

Visitors can expect musket demonstrations at a quarter to every hour starting on Saturday at 10:45 a.m.

As of July 1, Laroche said visitors will find the fort’s activity-packed schedule back in full force beginning with a flag-raising at 10:30 a.m. daily.

Visitors will get to see multiple musket plus fife and drums demonstrations throughout the day and a variety of feature presentations done by senior experts at the fort. 

“That topic will change daily so there’s a variety of different topics (each day),” he said. 

Members of the Shaw Festival will also be there daily to perform a history-based puppet show.

Activities will run about every half-hour until 4:20 p.m. when the flag is lowered.  

“To get back to that busy schedule again, it’s very exciting,” said Laroche. 

Amanda Gamble, executive director of the Friends of Fort George, is as excited as Laroche and hopes it will be just as busy, if not busier, than last year. 

“We were quite busy only being open five days a week,” she said.

“So I’m hoping that we see that continue,” she added. 

Laroche and Gamble look forward to welcoming people back to the fort to celebrate Canada Day on July 1.

“During COVID we did the takeaway Canada Day packages that people can buy and last year we had a scaled-down Canada Day (celebration),” she said.

“So this will be the first big one like how we used to do it pre-2019,” she added.

They’re also excited for the Battle of Fort George War of 1812 re-enactment on July 15 and 16, with about 300 re-enactors on hand. 

“(It) hasn’t been since before COVID that we’ve had our summer re-enactments, so we’re excited to see everybody come back,” said Gamble. 

Also, this coming Saturday, the fort is hosting its War of 1812 Officers’ Day, which will include dancing, re-enactors and demonstrations throughout the day. 

Visitors will get to experience what life was like in 1812 for the “upper class.”

On Sunday, the Friends of Fort George will have a book signing for “Fort George: A History” at the gift shop from 1 to 2 p.m.  

The fort will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from May 20 until Sept. 4. 

From Sept. 4 to Oct. 31, it will operate from Wednesday to Sunday. 

A full list of activities can be found at Parks.canada.ca/lhn-nhs/on/fortgeorge/activ/calendrier-calendar.

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