Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada

Friends of Fort Malden seeking new members

The Friends of Fort Malden is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with Parks Canada to preserve and promote the heritage of Fort Malden Historical Site and the value of local history. Through special events, the Friends of Fort Malden generate awareness and funding to support summer student employment at Fort Malden as well as other local historic programs.

We are seeking to increase our membership to continue our important mission of supporting the rich local history found here in Amherstburg Ontario.

Local historical gems found here locally like Fort Malden NHS and Park House Museum are organizations we are trying to promote. Most recently we are doing a cross promotion contest offering a Lantern made at Park House Tin Smith Shop to one lucky winner.

The Friends of Fort Malden, in cooperation with Park House, is excited to announce our 2018 membership campaign drive. How would you like to win this extraordinary “Star” Lantern? This lantern is made locally by a talented Tin Smith at the Park House Museum Tin Shop here in Amherstburg Canada? This handsome fully functional Lantern measures 13″ Tall X 4.5″ X 4.5″ and retails for $95 CDN.

This is an exceptional prize to “Get-Involved” and have “History Start with you!” Please stop by the Park House Museum to see this fantastic Lantern.

Photo courtesy of www.friendsfortmalden.org

While you’re at Park House take a tour of the museum. The Park House Museum is a year-round museum catering to the needs of visiting school children, seniors and the general public; they bring the story of Amherstburg and its people to life through programs and exhibits that are created to engage and inspire all who visit. They are located at 214 Dalhousie St. in Amherstburg.

You have three possible entries to win our contest. First, at no cost to you, simply go to our web site and register your name and information. This will give you your first entry into the contest as well as receive our free newsletter.

Would you like to receive two more entries? Join the Friends of Fort Malden at a yearly cost of $12.00 for two more entries.

For more information, visit www.friendsfortmalden.org or e-mail director/webmaster Randy L. Hall at info@friendsfortmalden.org.

 

(Editor’s Note: Non-profit groups and churches can submit write-ups to the RTT for free. People can e-mail Ron at mail@rivertowntimes.com or drop their info off at the office.)

 

Candlelight tours showcase Fort Malden in new “light”

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

Guests had a chance to see Fort Malden by candlelight Saturday evening, a new tour idea, which their interpretation officer hopes will continue.

“We decided to do the candlelight tour this year to really showcase some of the evening stories of the history of The Fort,” explained Alex Dale, interpretation officer at Fort Malden Historic Site. “Not just the military history but some of the other stories, from the lunatic asylum period, to the establishment of the historic site itself, a lot of the stories that we really don’t talk about during the day. We focus more on the actions and the battles and events of the War of 1812 or the Rebellions of 1837 and the daily lifestyle of the soldiers, we don’t really talk about a lot of the evening aspects.”

Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada offered a candlelight tour last Saturday night. Their next event is this week’s Haunted Fort, run in conjunction with the House Youth Centre.

Dale explained, the tour didn’t just involve storytelling but there were even re-enactors on the grounds in period uniforms playing games, cooking in the cookhouse, and on guard duty. He said it’s very different from what they’re doing next week, which is the Haunted House Tours with The House Youth Centre. While that is more of a spooky, jump out at you sort of thing, this weekend’s events were more educational while still casting a new “light” on the stories of Fort Malden.

One of the stories Dale shared was the mass desertion of soldiers from the 89th regiment. He explained, soldiers were on guard duty, which was a standard, 24-hour shift. Their job was two-fold – to watch out for anybody who might be approaching The Fort and also to try to stop any soldiers who might desire to run away from deserting.

“Little did anybody think the guards themselves would be doing the deserting,” Dale said.

At quarter to one in the morning Feb. 24, one of the guards, shouted “all is well.” It was repeated all the way along. Then the next 15-minute interval he shouted “all is well” and there was nothing. There was no return, so he then shouted “all is not well” and the sergeant of the guard came running. A total of 12 soldiers had deserted that night, and as far as they have found with any documents they have tried to research, they were never found.

“I enjoy storytelling,” said Dale. “It’s my passion, as an interpreter. It also helps me with my own learning and my own passion in historical research because now I can find other stories and share them in a different light than some of the more normal stories we tell. For me it’s a new and exciting, and fairly enjoyable event. I’m hoping that it’s something we can carry on and do in the future as well.”

Public Alternative Secondary School students tour local historic sites

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Students from Public Alternative Secondary School (PASS) students from Amherstburg, Windsor and Leamington got a chance to experience local history.

As part of the schools’ “History in our Backyard” program, about 40 students from the three PASS sites toured Fort Malden National Historic Site and the Amherstburg Freedom Museum.

Caitlyn McClure and Katie Davidson tour Public Alternative Secondary School (PASS) students through Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada.

“It’s an experiential learning program. You learn through experience,” explained Darina Sleziak, a department head with the PASS site that is located within General Amherst High School. “We’re getting private tours. We’re learning the history of the Fort and the history of the town. We’re learning about the Underground Railroad.”

Sleziak said students are also obtaining course credits for participating in the day. They hope to have a series of similar events and include Windsor and Leamington sites.

“When you group them together, it’s a special program we’re doing this year,” she added. “We’re growing the program for this year and for down the road.”

Will Sampogna, a PASS student from Amherstburg, said he was “a little nervous and excited” to participate in the program. He said he was eager to learn about history and what has happened in his hometown “before we used to live here.” He said he knew about the historic sites, but hadn’t previously visited them.

“It’s always something that’s been in my hometown but never actually visited them,” said Sampogna. “I think this will spark my interest to visit some of the other sites.”

 

Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats coming to Fort Malden Aug. 5-6

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Canuck It Up Festival isn’t the only event happening Aug. 5-6.

Fort Malden National Historic Site will be hosting “Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats” that weekend with re-enactments and activities based around the Rebellions of 1837. Alex Dale, interpretive officer at Fort Malden, noted it is a “rebellion site” as the original fort was burned during the War of 1812. He said concentrating on the rebellion period was appropriate and also allows them to rejuvenate what Fort Malden offers during the Civic Holiday weekend.

Fort Malden usually offers Military Heritage Days that weekend and while they feel it is still a good event, the Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats event will put some new excitement into that weekend.

“We thought it might be a neat way to rejuvenate the event,” Dale stated.

The tall ship Appledore V will be docked off Navy Yard Park, he said, but it will also participate in battle re-enactments. Battles will be re-enacted daily, including a major battle at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5 complete with pyrotechnics and rebels “firing” at the shore.

Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats coming to Fort Malden Aug. 5-6. (RTT File Photo)

Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats coming to Fort Malden Aug. 5-6. (RTT File Photo)

“We’re basically going to recreate the Schooner Anne incident,” said Dale.

Dale said it was the first time shots were actually fired at Fort Amherstburg, noting it was a big moment in the Fort’s history.

While Parks Canada sites are free for Canada 150, Dale pointed out there will be a minimal fee to come in for the Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats event. He said $1.90 will be charged so Fort Malden can recoup costs but wristbands will be given to attendees so that they may re-enter free of charge if going to the neighbouring Canuck It Up Festival.

A Tavern on the River Saturday night, complete with a Celtic band, will carry a $5 cover charge, added Dale.

“I think it’s going to be pretty cool,” he said. “It’s going to be a neat event. There could be as many as 100 tents in the Fort.”

Whether it becomes an annual event remains to be seen, but Dale added Fort Malden can offer a diversity of events.

“I think it’s time for a bit of a change to show we can offer so much more,” he said. “Our students are super-excited. They’ve heard of re-enactments at distant places and to have a fairly large scale battle re-enacted here is an exciting thing for them.”

Dale envisions re-enactors hitting the downtown streets that weekend during the Canuck It Up Festival as part of some cross-promotion initiatives.

Hours will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Aug. 5, with the gates re-opening at 6:30 p.m. for the battle followed by the Tavern on the River. Hours on Aug. 6 will be 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

CWATS celebration tour comes to Amherstburg

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

An annual celebration of Essex County’s trail and paved shoulder network ended with a bang in Amherstburg.

Amherstburg was one of the stops on the County-Wide Active Transportation (CWATS) celebration tour with every municipality in Essex County participating. The celebration in Amherstburg occurred last Thursday afternoon in Toddy Jones Park with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, members of both county and town administration and Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) officials helping to lead the walk. The walk left Toddy Jones Park, went through Fort Malden National Historic Site, proceeded south on Laird Ave. and returned to the park.

Const. Steve Owen instructs local students on bicycle safety as part of the County-Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) celebration. It started and ended at Toddy Jones Park with a walk through Fort Malden in between.

Const. Steve Owen instructs local students on bicycle safety as part of the County-Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) celebration. It started and ended at Toddy Jones Park with a walk through Fort Malden in between.

“It’s great to be here to reinforce active transportation through CWATS,” DiCarlo told the crowd of roughly 300 students that participated.

Students came from both Amherstburg Public School and General Amherst High School.

DiCarlo outlined paved shoulders and trails that have been installed in Amherstburg in recent years, including paved shoulders on County Road 5 (the portion of Concession 2 North between Middle Side Road and Texas Road), County Road 18 and the launch of the Cypher Systems Greenway.

“All of these will support cycling, walking and more active transportation in Amherstburg,” said DiCarlo.

Jane Mustac, manager of transportation planning for the County of Essex, said it was a chance to celebrate with their partners including the seven county municipalities, ERCA, the WECHU, Ministry of Transportation and others.

Students from General Amherst High School walk through Fort Malden during the June 8 CWATS celebration in Amherstburg.

Students from General Amherst High School walk through Fort Malden during the June 8 CWATS celebration in Amherstburg.

There are approximately 150 kilometres of trails in Essex County, said Mustac, noting that it took since 2012 to create that much. The widening of County Road 18 from Meloche Road to Concession 6 South to include bike lanes means people can get from the Willowood campground to Fort Malden on bicycle, Mustac pointed out.

The County of Essex dedicates about $1 million per year towards CWATS and partners also contribute. Not only does it go towards infrastructure, but education and outreach are included. The celebration in Amherstburg was the largest, Mustac added.

Students participating in the CWATS celebration walk along the Detroit River inside of Fort Malden National Historic Site last Thursday afternoon.

Students participating in the CWATS celebration walk along the Detroit River inside of Fort Malden National Historic Site last Thursday afternoon.

“We went out with a bang,” she said. “This is our last stop and they made it count.”

Mustac encouraged people to get out and use the trails.
“Try them out,” she said. “Let us know what can be improved. We are looking forward to the next phase.”

For more information on the County-Wide Active Transportation System, visit www.cwats.ca.