Historic fun at Fort Malden’s Military Days

By Joel Charron

Fort Malden Historic National Park was home to a tour through the ages this past weekend.

Fort Malden hosted their annual Military Days. Many eras were present at the Fort Malden, including Vikings, natives, World War One and Two, War of 1812 and Ancient Romans.

This is the 14th year Fort Malden has hosted Military Days.

Heritage presenter Kalia Hawksworth shows a group of children how soldiers in 1800’s would load their weapon.

All eras made demonstration of their tactical, musical and dance rituals, displaying how cultures have differed and changed over the ages.

“Military Days covers 2,000 year of military history,” said Interpretation officer Daena Shaw.

Reactors from all over Ontario and some parts of the United States took part in the two-day event.

Shaw said the enactments and the demonstration are a great way for people to learn what the staff does at Fort Malden as well as learning some important history.

“We really try to make history accessible to people,” she said. “Our number one goal is to the educate people. As a Parks Canada agency we want to celebrate as well as educate and preserve history.”

Shaw added with all the artifacts and the knowledge the staff is armed with, the task of informing people of the history that is in “our own backyard” becomes fun and fulfilling.

There were many things for children to enjoy during Military Days, which included a chance to live and dress like War of 1812 British.

Robert Norton fixes his Roman Armour as he prepares to demonstrate some Roman weapons to a group of spectators.

Wearing the British uniform, Kaila Hawksworth, a heritage presenter, taught a small group of children how to properly load and fire an 1812 musket. Hawksworth then demonstrated how the British would approach their enemy, then “charge” when ready to attack.

“It’s good to see Fort Malden have hands-on activities like this,” said Martha Goodard. “I think the information tends to soak in better when the kids are actually doing demonstrations themselves.”

“It’s a great way to reach out and get people involved,” said Shaw.

Shaw said one of the reasons why Military Days is such a successful event is the enactor.

“The enactors do such a great job in making history come to life and engaging the visitors,” she said. “Everyone is out here to have a great time.”

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