Fort Malden

Fort Malden opens its doors for candlelight tours



By Christian Bouchard


Fort Malden was open to the public past dusk for candlelight tours this past weekend.

Tours ran every 45 minutes from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. Groups of around 20 people were led by a tour guide with a candlelight to explore the fort after dark.

The sold-out tours allowed tourists to view candlelit buildings and listen to stories of the soldiers that lived in the fort over 180 years ago. Tourists explored the fort, learning of heroic war stories about Sir Isaac Brock, Chief Tecumseh and even Boblo Island’s involvement in the War of 1812.

While the tour had a large aspect of storytelling, there were also re-enactors dressed in uniform playing games, cooking in the cookhouse, and on guard duty.

Caitlyn McClure gives a candlelight tour at Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada Oct. 13. (RTT Photo by Christian Bouchard)

“This area became a prominent terminus for the Underground Railroad,” said Caitlyn McClure, a tour guide leader at Fort Malden. “During the 1850s there were about 30 people crossing every day and a lot of them would take refuge at the blockhouse on Boblo Island.”

Of the many notable stories shared from McClure, one included one of the first victories of the War in 1812, which happened near Fort Malden.

McClure explained when war had been declared between the British and the Americans that the British had let riders out to all their forts to let people know war had been declared. The United States, however decided to use the United States Postal Service as a means of communicating that war had been declared. Unfortunately for the folks at Fort Detroit, their notice got lost in the mail.

According to McClure, General Hall, who oversaw Fort Detroit was making his way from Ohio to Detroit. He knew that war was probably on the way, but it hadn’t been declared yet. At about the Maumee River in Ohio, Hall decided he didn’t want to walk anymore and hired a ship called the Cuyahoga. He sent this ship right along the Detroit River about a few weeks after war had been declared.

“His memo that war had been declared was lost in Philadelphia by the United States Postal Service,” explained McClure. “When the Cuyahoga came sailing along with its American flags, the soldiers at Fort Malden immediately sent out a ship loaded with muskets and captured the Cuyahoga. That was the first victory of the War of 1812.”

A soldier stands on guard at Fort Malden during the candlelight tours. (RTT Photo by Christian Bouchard)

The candlelight tours at Fort Malden were to indulge tourists with factual historical stories of the past and enjoy the site after dark. Although some sound “spooky” says McClure, none are considered “ghost stories.”

The next event at Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada starts this weekend. The House Youth Centre is bringing its “Haunted House” back to Fort Malden Oct. 19, 20, 26 and 27 from 6:30-10 p.m. each night with the last admission being 9:40 p.m. That event features spooky scenes by local students and is a fundraiser for the House Youth Centre. No pre-registration is required for the House Youth Centre “Haunted House” as tickets are sold at the door. Tickets are $9.80 with half of the proceeds going to The House.

For more information on Fort Malden and its programming, visit

New event highlights town’s fur trade history



By Jolene Perron


With the help of a Canada 150 grant, an event based on the local history of the voyageurs and the fur trade came to Fort Malden National Historic Site, free of charge to the public.

Reenactors from the Maidstone and area historical society­­­ showcased what life was like in the 1800’s during Rendezvous 2017 at Fort Malden National Historic Site over the weekend.

Victoria Beaulieu, president of Maidstone and Area Historical Society got in contact with Alex Dale, interpretation officer at Fort Malden Historic Site, and asked if Fort Malden would like to partner with them. Once they agreed, they contacted the town and the event came together. The idea is to show off a period of history that is often overlooked at Fort Malden. With this, the Rendezvous 2017 event was born.

Adam Veldhuis with Archery Windsor Sportsman’s Club demonstrates how to properly shoot an arrow at Rendevous 2017 at Fort Malden National Historic Site.

“We talk a lot about the military side of things here at Fort Malden with the War of 1812 and the Rebellions of 1837, we often forget that this was such an important stop on the trade routes at the time throughout the late 18th century and the early 19th century,” explained Dale. “It’s a period of time that other sites and other museums like the Park House Museum in Amherstburg do a wonderful job of showcasing, but particularly here at Fort Malden we don’t go on a lot about it. The Maidstone and area historical society came up with this idea of showcasing that time period.”

Reenactors from the Maidstone and area historical society­­­ showcased what life was like in the 1800’s during Rendevous 2017 at Fort Malden National Historic Site over the weekend.

On site over the weekend was the Ontario Fur Management Association, showcasing furs as well as the traps to catch the animals in order to collect them. They were able to talk about the pelts, how they were used, and the fur craze of wanting beaver pelts from the Canadian wilderness.

Also happening over the weekend was Tibert the Voyageur and storyteller, knife smithing demonstrations by Daniel Linkenheld, canoes on the river, a camp pea soup competition and so much more.

“There’s something for everybody, with the town having their Culture Days event, and us doing this, it’s a really great family event,” said Beaulieu. “We have a lot going on. Re-enactors from all over Ontario have come in, we have people from the other side of Toronto, Peterborough. It’s a fun thing and everyone is very excited about it. We may have to do it again.”

Harvest Fest brings local wine, beer, spirits and food to Fort Malden with new rock music twist


By Jolene Perron


When a local businessman took over Harvest Fest, he promised some new aspects to the festival while keeping it’s key components in mind – strengthening the local wine, spirit and craft brewery exposure.

He delivered.

“We’re trying to keep it small and make sure our vendors make a lot of money, that’s what this is about,” said event coordinator, Chris Mickle. “It’s about local vendors, and injecting that cash income into our local businesses. They are doing very, very well. We have a smaller amount of vendors, that was on purpose though.”

Mickle brought together six local craft breweries, three local wineries and Windsor and Essex’s only distillery. They also brought out seven food vendors.

My Son The Hurricane took the stage Saturday night, with brass instruments and a high energy performance bringing a crowd to dance in front of the stage.

“This is the most beautiful spot in all of Essex County and you can’t have a better view than this,” said Laura Moore, certified master taster for Coopers Hawk Winery. “One of the best things about involving ourselves in festivals is the exposure. People don’t often come out to the wineries and see who we are but when they come to the festivals they see who we are they get a chance to taste some of the fine wines and hopefully it’s going to bring them out to the wineries.”

Harvest Fest brought together six local craft breweries, three local wineries and Windsor and Essex’s only distillery. They also brought out seven food vendors.

The festival brought an estimated crowd of 7,500 people to Fort Malden over the span of three days. Mickle said their pre-sales went better than expected and were higher than the previous years.

“We had a great start Friday night, it was a nice warm up for the vendors, wineries, breweries and distilleries,” said Mickle. “Great music too – everything has been fantastic. Everybody loves the layout, the new style of music, with the international headliners and touring bands. We tried to stay a little bit more easy listening during the day with the blues, the folk and the jazz and kick it up with a little rock and roll at night.”

Melissa Hunter and Justin hunter enjoy a drink along the waterfront during Harvest Fest Saturday evening.

Greg Grondin from G.L. Heritage Brewing Co., which has only been open nine weeks, said that being a new brewery in town, events like Harvest Fest allows them to get their name out to the public and “the response is great for the beer and for the whole town.”

“We’re learning as we go, we’re taking notes for next year,” said Mickle. “Being an Amherstburg boy, born and raised, I’m proud to be able to throw this event and I’m very happy the town has shown their support for this event. I’m very happy the town and the community have our backs.”


Maidstone & Area Historical Society pair with Amherstburg and Fort Malden on event



By Ron Giofu


Add another event to Amherstburg’s calendar thanks to the Maidstone and Area Historical Society.

The Maidstone and Area Historical Society is teaming with the town of Amherstburg and Fort Malden National Historic Site to present “Rendezvous 2017 – A Voyageur and Fur Trading Encampment.” Victoria Beaulieu, president of the Maidstone and Area Historical Society, said they also worked with the Windsor-Essex Community Foundation and the Community Foundations of Canada and that partnership resulted in a $7,500 Canada 150 grant.

The two-day event will be at Fort Malden Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 and feature canoes on the Detroit River, a camp frying pan competition, a camp pea soup competition, presentations and storytellers which will include the likes of Seamus Gunn, Tibert the Voyageur, author Rob Malo among others.

The Maidstone & Area Historical Society is teaming with Fort Malden and the town of Amherstburg on an event Sept. 30-Oct. 1. From left: Lambert Wybernga, society president Victoria Beaulieu, Mason Hillier and Amherstburg’s tourism co-ordinator Jennifer Ibrahim.

The Maidstone & Area Historical Society is teaming with Fort Malden and the town of Amherstburg on an event Sept. 30-Oct. 1. From left: Lambert Wybernga, society president Victoria Beaulieu, Mason Hillier and Amherstburg’s tourism co-ordinator Jennifer Ibrahim.

Re-enactors and participants that are currently scheduled include Provincial Marine Amherstburg, the Niagara Metis Council Voyageurs, the St. Clair Voyageurs from Michigan, the Windsor-Essex Canoe Club, the Ontario Fur Management Federation, Archery Windsor and the Maidstone Voyageurs.

“There’s going to be a lot of activities going on,” said Beaulieu.

Fur trading was a key component in the settling of the area centuries ago with Fort Malden and the Park House Museum being “instrumental in the fur trade industry,” said Beaulieu.

“The Maidstone and Area Historical Society has always had a good relationship with the Provincial Marine and Fort Malden,” said Beaulieu. “They come out to our encampments to help. It’s nice to have two areas working together.”

Jennifer Ibrahim, visitor information centre manager with the town of Amherstburg, said this will be another “signature Canada 150 event” for the town. She said it is a historical event that presents “fun and interactive opportunities for our guests.”

There are other events planned that weekend in the downtown core, Ibrahim added, including art demonstrations, plein air artists, concert bands and other events.

“It will complement what Fort Malden and the Maidstone and Area Historical Society are doing,” said Ibrahim.

Events will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. For more information, e-mail or

Amherstburg does well in TWEPI’s “Best of Windsor-Essex” awards



By RTT Staff


Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) announced the winners of the second edition of the “Best of Windsor Essex” awards last Wednesday with Amherstburg doing well in the balloting.

The awards, a campaign by TWEPI that ran from January to February 2017, tried to put together the most comprehensive list of the “Best Of” things to see and do in the region. According to a media release put out by TWEPI, this year’s campaign drew on the success of last year’s inaugural campaign and was able to draw “an even more enthusiastic response from local residents and visitors eager to share their favorite attractions.”

TWEPI states that in the first phase of the campaign, over 785 unique Windsor-Essex locations were nominated for the 43 awards. Those nominations were then pared down into the top five in each category.

The second phase then began with over 7,000 people voting again on the top five in each category for their favorite spots in Windsor-Essex.

TWEPI states this campaign “has created an authentic list that is expected to resonate with visitors, giving TWEPI the opportunity to highlight some of the best of what the region has to offer.”

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Fort Malden won TWEPI’s “Best Local Attraction - Historical” award.

“This year’s campaign drew an even higher engagement rate than last year from both businesses and their fans alike. Locals are justifiably proud of our area and we anticipate that this list will inspire locals and visitors alike to explore our region’s iconic experiences, hidden gems and everything in between,” says Gordon Orr, CEO of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island.

Amherstburg businesses, attractions or historic sites made the list 18 times with three being named as winners. Wolfhead Distillery won for “Best Distillery Experience” while Fort Malden National Historic Site captured the “Best Local Attraction – Historical” award. Armando’s won for “Best Pizza,” with that award covering all Armando’s locations in the area.

The Gibson Gallery, a winner of a “Best of Windsor Essex” award in 2016, was a finalist for “Best Art Gallery or Art Space” in 2017. The Amherstburg historical district was a finalist in the “Best Cultural or Historic District” category while Fort Malden was also a finalist in the “Best Museum or Heritage Space” classification.

The Libro Centre was a finalist for the “Best Local Attraction – Sports.”

Wolfhead was also a finalist in another category as well, that being the “Best Craft Cocktail” grouping. Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery was a finalist for “Best Winery Experience.”

Smashed Apple Gourmet Catering were finalists in the “Best Chef-Inspired Dining” and “Best Sandwich Shop” categories while Maria’s was a finalist for “Best Breakfast.”

There were four Amherstburg-related finalists as it pertains to outdoor adventure categories. The River Canard Canoe Company was a finalist for the “Best on the Water Activity” award while Navy Yard Park finished in the running for the “Best Park or Garden” award. Holiday Beach Conservation Area was a finalist in the “Best Picnic Spot” category while the Cypher Systems Greenway was nominated in the “Best Two-Wheel Adventure” category.

There were two local businesses in the “Best Cottage or Campground” group including Wildwood Golf and RV Resort in McGregor and Willowood RV Resort.

Visitor information manager Jennifer Ibrahim said it’s a great sign for Amherstburg that so many locations within this community either won an award or were in the running.

Many finalists were Amherstburg organizations and it goes to show you that a smaller community like Amherstburg can hold its own,” said Ibrahim.  “Being a ‘Best Of Windsor Essex’ winner means the region likes what these businesses are doing and wants them to keep doing what they do best!  Our local winners, Fort Malden National Historic Site, Armando’s and Wolfhead Distillery are examples of three completely different organizations that deliver valued unique experiences to their guests.  If someone hasn’t been to any of the listed nominees, they should check them out and see what all the excitement is about.”