Less than three months until the calendar page is turned to 2012. Throughout many parts of Canada and the United States, re-enactors and historians have been planning for many, many months for the various events for the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The North American based War of 1812 was a war between the Americans and the British over maritime trade issues spinning out from the Napoleonic Wars but American interests in acquiring territory of then Upper and Lower Canada lead to many skirmishes along the shores of the St Lawrence River and the Great Lakes.
This week, the US Embassy previewed a documentary of the War at Canada’s War Museum in Ottawa. It is expected that the documentary will be aired on many PBS channels in the upcoming months. Some Canadian TV vignettes will also be aired over the same period.
In August 2011, I visited Fort Niagara in Upper New York State and, in the previous year, I visited Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Both of these forts were the site of significant skirmishes during the War of 1812. While photographing them, I found myself reflecting back on what fort life might have been like in the two years of on-again off-again battles at those locations located in sight of one another across the Niagara River where that river enters into Lake Ontario.
Although Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture was written to commemorate the Russian defeat of Napoleon in 1812 and had nothing directly to do with the North American based War of 1812, the overture made for interesting background music while I was working on my Fort Niagara blog today (retroactive posting of my August 20, 2011 trip to Fort Niagara)
Considering that the War of 1812 included the burning of some pretty significant buildings in Washington, DC and the burning of Fort York (Toronto), it will be interesting to see what the many communities have in store for the bicentennial.
I’m looking forward to photographing many forts and re-enactments in the coming year and sharing them on our website. Could be an interesting year.