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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Sunday, October 2, 2022
Fort pays tribute to Summer Games with Soldier’s Field Day
These pictures highlight one of the soldiers’ “Dressed for Duty Competition,” in which two soldiers remove their tunics, lie in a bed covered with a blanket
(in temperature feeling like 34C). Then on a drum roll they both spring to their feet and race to get their tunics and belts and bayonet belt, hat, etc., to see
who can dress the fastest. The action was narrated and explained by Jim Hill of Niagara Parks and Peter Martin of Parks Canada.
These pictures highlight one of the soldiers’ “Dressed for Duty Competition,” in which two soldiers remove their tunics, lie in a bed covered with a blanket (in temperature feeling like 34C). Then on a drum roll they both spring to their feet and race to get their tunics and belts and bayonet belt, hat, etc., to see who can dress the fastest. The action was narrated and explained by Jim Hill of Niagara Parks and Peter Martin of Parks Canada. TONY CHISHOLM

Weekend demonstrations featured re-enactors and the first Soldier’s Wife Challenge

Muskets firing, fife and drum demonstrations, and the first edition of the Soldier’s Wife Challenge filled Fort George last weekend for the Soldier’s Field Day – a tribute to the Canada Summer Games.

The two days of demonstrations by re-enactment soldiers and historical interpreters were designed to help spectators see elements of life at the fort over 200 years ago.

In the spirit of the demonstrations and competitions that Fort George has put on for past field days, the women are now getting involved because they are a big part of what makes up the garrison, said Dan Laroche, the site supervisor at the fort. 

“We have to recognize that women were part of the regiments, a part of the family – as I like to put it – of the regiment,” he said.

“And although they’re not necessarily combatants, they still are an integral part of what makes a regiment run.”

As a part of the friendly competition, three women who are historical interpreters at the fort took part in an obstacle course-style race that exhibited different responsibilities that soldiers’ wives would have at the fort.

“Because the soldiers can’t have all the fun at Fort George here today, we’ve developed our soldier’s wife challenge, representing all the things that soldiers wives would have to do here at the fort on a daily basis,” Peter Martin, events co-ordinator at the fort, told the spectators before the games began.

Paloma Wapinski-Webb, Emily Bordin and Christine Rier took turns being timed as they ran through the course where they had to do things like wring out and hang clothing, fill and push a wheelbarrow with firewood and search through a pile of buttons for one that belonged to the 41st Regiment.

“It is a little bit different than the normal stuff that we do on a day-to-day basis, but everyone has a competitive spirit. Everybody kind of wanted to get involved in some way or another,” Laroche said. 

He credited Martin, “who came up with different things that involve every element of the operation of the fort.”

“Everything that’s represented had a huge, an important role to play in the operation of the fort 210 years ago.

Grats Gazolla was at the fort on Saturday with his wife Joan and four grandchildren where they watched the demonstrations by the historical interpreters

“We spend a lot of time coming down to Niagara-on-the-Lake and always make sure we take the kids down to Fort George at least once a year,” Gazolla said.

His grandchildren said it was fun to watch the Soldier’s Wife Challenge but some of them weren’t sure they could do it faster than the women who had competed.