Military Heritage Days

Feds to invest almost $1.2 million to revitalize Fort Malden National Historic Site

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Visitors to Fort Malden National Historic Site got a glimpse of over 2,000 years of military history over the weekend but the Fort itself will soon have its own history re-invested in.

Fort Malden will be receiving almost $1.2 million to reinvest in the fort’s heritage structures and visitor facilities. According to Elizabeth LeBlanc, public relations and communications officer for Parks Canada’s southwestern Ontario field unit, the investments “will protect our heritage and strengthen their appeal as destinations to celebrate our nation’s achievements.”

Work should start next year, she indicated.

The gun crew from the 34th regiment fire the cannon as part of Military Heritage Days at Fort Malden Sunday afternoon.

The gun crew from the 34th regiment fire the cannon as part of Military Heritage Days at Fort Malden Sunday afternoon.

“Starting in 2017, we are going to do an assessment of the site,” said LeBlanc.

Exteriors of buildings, windows, pathways, and lighting will be part of the assessment process in order to see what opportunities there are to reinvest and restore the historical site. Actual construction and renovations would occur in 2018 during off-peak times, she added.

LeBlanc said the money is coming through the Federal Infrastructure and Investment program.

It is not the first investment in Fort Malden in recent years, LeBlanc added, as $815,000 was invested in order to add to structures on the site in order that storage of materials could be accommodated better. There was also additional office space created, she said.

Military Heritage Days saw a bit of a different layout this year, she noted, as Fort Malden staff moved artillery and weapons demonstrations to the southern portion of the grounds, along the Detroit River. The new layout helped accommodate a “Seneca run,” an obstacle-course type of event where participants also fired muskets as part of it. People could also get a “birds-eye” view from one of the bastions onto the range.

Re-enactors with the 34th Regiment fire during a mock battle Sunday afternoon.

Re-enactors with the 34th Regiment fire during a mock battle Sunday afternoon.

“They changed it up a bit this year,” said LeBlanc.

The parade square was geared towards youth activities and attractions for younger age groups.

In addition to the grounds and buildings themselves, Fort Malden has also revitalized its programming, LeBlanc noted. A theatrical production was held last month with another planned for Aug. 19-20, the latter one to feature the story of the rebellion.

“It’s a great way to get this amazing story out to people,” said LeBlanc.

Roman re-enactor Joe Perz places a chainmail vest onto Elijah Morin during Military Heritage Days.

Roman re-enactor Joe Perz places a chainmail vest onto Elijah Morin during Military Heritage Days.

A murder mystery was held Saturday night and an “escape room” will be held Aug. 6 and Aug. 13 to allow people to decipher riddles and escape from a soldier’s barrack. There is also a day camp for youth planned for Aug. 8-12 as well.

“Hopefully there is something for everyone,” said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc added the programming team at Fort Malden is also looking at additional events for the fall months.

For further information on the new programs, call 519-736-5416 or visit www.parkscanada.gc.ca/fortmalden.

To see additional photos from the July 30-31 Military Heritage Days, please visit our our Facebook album.