Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada

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.

Live History presents “In Time” at Fort Malden

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Live History group brought their tour to Amherstburg over the weekend where the performance of “In Time” was held.

Live History1WEB

The shows were presented in co-operation with Parks Canada at Fort Malden National Historic Site. Show designer Joshua Kitz called it “an interactive experience” that involves the guests that come out to watch the shows.

“When the guests arrived, they get to decide which character they follow,” he said, noting there were four characters in the “In Time” show.

Attendees got to be involved with the show and “depending on the choices of the audience, history can change,” said Kitz.

Live History9

The official description of the show was “Directly following the successful siege of Detroit, General Brock, his aide-de-camp Lt-Col Macdonell and you, his militia, have returned to Fort Amherstburg. The next great victory lies ahead, at Queenston, and morale is high. However, there are a few among you who are not as they appear. The War of 1812 created divided loyalties, and those who would do anything to see victory for their side. The local healer has family on all sides of the war, her loyalty in question as the conflict rises. The young Lt-Col is struggling to find his place in the world around him; a protege on a pedestal he’s not sure he belongs on. General Brock is already eager for his next battle; but will it be a success? It’s up to you, the local militia, to keep the camp safe and help the troops move out within the hour, before disaster strikes. Lives are at stake; history could be changed. Will you be ‘In Time’?”

Live History3

The show was created for Fort Malden as Live History tailors its performances to local venues. Kitz called it a “quest based” show.

“We always try to put (the audience) in the pivotal moment of history,” he said.

Kitz added they were excited to be in Amherstburg and believed it to be “an interesting experience.” It was the first time they had performed at an actual fort.

Live History group planning performances at Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

An Ottawa-based touring group is bringing their live historical performances to Amherstburg.

The group, known as “Live History,” will be featured in over 50 venues in six countries in 2017 with one of those venues being Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada. There will be three performances May 6 and two more May 7.

“It’s probably like nothing you’ve ever seen before,” said Live History founder Jasmine Bowen.

The interactive performance – called “In Time” – will see the audience divided up and go off with one of the actors presenting the show. The description states: “Directly following the successful siege of Detroit, General Brock, his aide-de-camp Lt-Col Macdonell and you, his militia, have returned to Fort Amherstburg. The next great victory lies ahead, at Queenston, and morale is high. However, there are a few among you who are not as they appear. The War of 1812 created divided loyalties, and those who would do anything to see victory for their side. The local healer has family on all sides of the war, her loyalty in question as the conflict rises. The young Lt-Col is struggling to find his place in the world around him; a protege on a pedestal he’s not sure he belongs on. General Brock is already eager for his next battle; but will it be a success? It’s up to you, the local militia, to keep the camp safe and help the troops move out within the hour, before disaster strikes. Lives are at stake; history could be changed. Will you be ‘In Time’?”

In TimeWEB

“It’s completely interactive live theatre,” said Bowen.

There will be four historical characters portrayed during the performances, with each likely not to exceed 30 audience members.

Live History has partnered with Parks Canada and comes to Amherstburg with a story that is geared towards history relevant to the area. They worked with Fort Malden staff to come up with stories they could portray.

“We tell lost stories more than famous stories and it all comes together,” said Bowen.

Live History will travel to such locales as Whitehorse, Yukon, the United Kingdom and Bermuda this year, she added.

The May 6 performances are at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. while the May 7 shows are at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets are $14.70 per person and available by calling 519-736-5416 or 519-562-0408. People can also e-mail ont.fort-malden@pc.gc.ca for details. Tickets are limited and the “In Time” show is recommended for people ages 14 and over.