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Niagara Falls
Sunday, May 26, 2024
Historical tour of Fort Mississauga offers a rare indoor glimpse
Friends of Fort George. president Tony Chisholm and his dog Lake outside Fort Mississauga. The historical site will have a rare public opening May 24. RICHARD WRIGHT

For one day later this month, the Friends of Fort George will unofficially become the Friends of Fort Mississauga in order to bring back to life one of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s premier historical sites.

On Friday, May 24, the public will get a one-time pass to go inside the more than 200-year-old structure located near the mouth of the Niagara River and surrounded by the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club. 

President of the Friends of Fort George Tony Chisholm said the fort was built to replace the original Fort George that U.S. troops burned to the ground in the War of 1812.

“Although it was built — started anyways — in 1814, it really wasn’t finished until the 1820s,” he said.

It is a simple square building made mostly of brick and enclosed by a moat-like berm.

Left derelict since its last incarnation as a Second World War training site for Canadian soldiers, in recent years Parks Canada has restored it.

“Very few people are aware of what was accomplished there,” said Chisholm.

“So, we have been bugging Parks Canada for about a year saying, ‘If you’re finished (with the restoration), let us have an event there and show people around.'”

Parks Canada agreed to the proposal so Chisholm and his team set to work on making it a reality.

He is quite certain there is an appetite for a showing like this.

“There is a lot of curiosity in this town,” Chisholm said.

“Anyone who wants to can go to Fort George and get a tour, but you can’t do that for Fort Mississauga. It is just sort of sitting there as this beautiful old structure that represents a big part of the history of this town.”

Along with tours of the fort’s interior, attendees will also be able to learn more about the site and what life was like there, thanks to a number of information booths set up around the exterior.

A portion of the program will also be set aside to acknowledge the Indigenous Peoples of the area.

Tickets will be sold for two separate one-hour viewing times on May 24 at 6 and 7 p.m. A rain date has been set for May 31.

“Because the entrance is so small, only a certain number of people are allowed in the building at a time,” said Chisholm.

Tickets are available via the Friends of Fort George website at friendsoffortgeorge.square.site.

wright@niagaranow.com

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