Essex County’s role in the War of 1812 highlighted

by Garrett Fodor

Residents of all ages gathered to celebrate and learn about this area’s rich history and culture this past weekend, during the 14th annual Essex County in the War of 1812 event, at Fort Malden.

  The Maidstone Bicentennial Museum, in partnership with Parks Canada and Fort Malden, host the event annually. This year’s edition of the event is the first time the festivities were held at Fort Malden. In the past, it was held at the Maidstone Bicentennial Museum grounds.

  The three-day event began Friday with a children’s education day. Over 400 school-age children enjoyed up-close and hands-on learning about the historic era. Some of the students were offered a chance to ‘suit-up’ and, with the guide of reenactors, participated in skirmishes.

  The event featured historic weapon demonstrations, period cooking displays, period puppet shows, historical re-enactments of period skirmishes, and period encampments.  

  One of the encampments showcased and involved in the event was that of Niagara Region Métis. Derrick Pont is the President for the Niagara Region Métis Council. He said the event is one of many they are involved in and hopes to continue to educate the public and share the stories and history with the public.

  “We don’t say we’re re-enacting because we are Métis,” Pont said. “We’re setting up a historical education encampment. Everything you see was how it was like and handmade by us. So, we look at these encampments as a chance to be involved with the activities, but as well as a chance to educate people that the Métis were around during the battles, and we are still around today.”

  Victoria Beaulieu, Curator for the Maidstone Bicentennial Museum, said she was ecstatic to be partnered with Parks Canada and have the event held at Fort Malden this year. 

  “It’s important because the kids touch on it in school and history, if they can actually see living history, it sticks with them a little more,” Beaulieu said. “But it’s very important that this type of event continues on because it is such an important part of our community in history. It helped form the country we have today. As reenactors, it’s beautiful to camp and just watch everything on the river. We are right on a historic river that played a big part of Canada’s history.”

  Beaulieu said she is hopeful they are able to continue to work with Parks Canada and educate the public with this event for years to come.