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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Passion for history comes alive at the Battle of Fort George
Hundreds of re-enactors from across North America came out to the fort for the bi-annual Battle of Fort George re-enactment. Along with front-line soldiers roles included surgeons, fur trappers and more. DAVE VAN DE LAAR
Before going into "battle," re-enactors use tactics that mimic stage direction to plan out their every move for the final product. JULIA SACCO
Hundreds of re-enactors from across North America came out to the fort for the bi-annual Battle of Fort George re-enactment. Along with front-line soldiers roles included surgeons, fur trappers and more. DAVE VAN DE LAAR
Terry Sanderson portrayed a fur trader at last weekend's Battle of Fort George. A background knowledge of leather works and a love of history combine perfectly for his re-enactment career. JULIA SACCO.
Of the various different roles available during a large re-enactment like The Battle of Fort George, naturally most choose to go on the line and re-enact in the battle. JULIA SACCO
James Rolston lectured eager ticket holders on the ins and outs of the Battle of Fort George from the perspective of the Lincoln Militia. JULIA SACCO
Shannon Bigham is a veteran re-enactor, participating in demonstrations all across North America including Colonial Williamsburg and New Orleans. He visited Fort George from Detroit last weekend for the Battle of Fort George re-enactment. JULIA SACCO.
Hundreds of re-enactors from across North America came out to the fort for the bi-annual Battle of Fort George re-enactment. Along with front-line soldiers roles included surgeons, fur trappers and more. DAVE VAN DE LAAR
Hundreds of re-enactors from across North America came out to the fort for the bi-annual Battle of Fort George re-enactment. Along with front-line soldiers roles included surgeons, fur trappers and more. DAVE VAN DE LAAR

For those that come out to every bi-annual celebration of the Battle of Fort George, the re-enactment is a fun tradition or getaway with the family  

For the hundreds of re-enactors that come out from all over North America though, this day is the culmination of months of planning and years of studying.

This past weekend was no exception.

Chris McKay has been re-enacting for over 20 years now and works closely alongside Peter Martin in many of the major demonstrations at Fort George. 

“The short story is that my dad was always interested in history and he took me to my first re-enactments when I was young,” McKay told The Lake Report. 

He explained that shortly after a visit to Old Fort Erie, he fell in love with history and hasn’t looked back since. 

His background and interest in history come in handy when helping plan a battle re-enactment. 

“For a lot of us history, especially 1812, is very well known,” he said. 

The other leads meet weeks in advance and come up with a loose script of how everything will be conducted, he said, walking the field and mapping out the re-enactment. 

“At the end of the day, the story of history is what we’re trying to tell. That’s sort of the basis of what we do,” he said. 

Linda Hanna’s role in the re-enactment was a little bit different, but just as intensive. 

Hanna is a completely self-taught seamstress who creates uniforms in costumes for historic sites all over Niagara, including Fort George, Mcfarland House, the Laura Secord Homestead and Old Fort Erie. 

“I started doing this 34 years ago. There was nobody in Canada doing clothing then, so I just started making things for my family.”

Hanna’s interest in the 1800s, specifically 1812, has lent itself to her craft. She cites Jane Austen movies as some fashion inspirations.

Phil and Debby Mozel portrayed the role of a surgeon and wartime nurse during the weekend’s reenactment. 

For the Mozels, real life lent itself seamlessly to the characters. 

Now retired, Phil Mozel had a career as a science teacher and his wife worked as a nurse. 

“If you join the re-enactment community you need a jab. Most of the guys will go into the line, that didn’t interest me,” Phil said. 

With his background in science and love of history, portraying a surgeon made perfect sense. The Mozels refer to online sources for their information and collect books on history.

“The ones I like the best are first-person accounts,” Phil told The Lake Report. 

Phil Mozel added that the main focus of re-enactments like this is the storytelling, emphasizing that after the battle, soldiers “didn’t just go home.”

“It’s quite gratifying. A lot of people don’t know their history in general and certainly not to this specificity,” he said. 

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