Posted May 25, 2012

The Niagara 1812 Legacy Council will be commemorating the official “Declaration of the War of 1812” during their Opening Ceremonies Weekend, June 14-18th.  Almost 20 events both hosted and showcased by the Legacy Council all across Niagara make up the Opening Ceremonies weekend.

On the evening of Thursday, June 14th teachers from across Ontario and Western New York are invited to a partnered event at Brock University for an educator’s forum and panel discussions, in association with WNED showcasing their 1812 teaching guides.

On Saturday June 16th, at 10:00 a.m., the public is invited to gather at Queenston Heights, to commemorate the Declaration of War, and reflect on the beginning of the conflict that helped shape Canada. Join community leaders for this historic occasion under the shadow of Sir Isaac Brock’s monument, with a presentation by the Six Nations Legacy Consortium to follow.

Also on June 16th at Queenston Heights, there will be a Heritage Fair from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. with historical vendors and merchants and free entertainment all day.

From 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on June 16th will also see a re-dedication of the Grimsby 1812 Peace Garden will take place, launching a commemorative series 1812 peace garden dedications across Ontario and New York state, and as far away at St. Mary’s Georgia.

On Sunday, June 17th, a multi-denominational church service will be held at the Chippewa Battlefield in Niagara Falls at 1:00 p.m.

Later in the evening on Sunday at 9:00 p.m., a special viewing of WNED’s documentary The War of 1812 will be shown on an outdoor HD cinema at Oaks Garden in Niagara Falls, followed by the bursting, brilliant fireworks over the falls.

Monday, June 18th, the 200th anniversary of the Official Declaration of War, a special Canadian Citizenship Ceremony will take place at 11:00 a.m. at Mather Arch in Fort Erie. That evening, Parks Canada will showcase their blockbuster event at Fort George.They’ll be premiering the (Son et Lumiere) Sound and Light show, “Forged in Fire” at 7:00 p.m.; a video projected onto the buildings at the fort. Also, they’ll have a documentary premiere and the grand opening of their new museum and interactive experience.

Niagara’s 2012 Cultural Capital of Canada funding from the Federal Government and Niagara Region is helping to ensure an action-packed Opening Ceremonies, bringing the weekend to life and showcasing the bicentennial across the region. The assistance of partners like The Niagara Parks Commission and Parks Canada are instrumental in the success of the many activities of the Declaration weekend.

“The fact that so much of the war unfolded right here in our backyard is of utmost significance,” says Brian Merrett, CEO of the Legacy Council.  “Some Niagarans know very little about the War of 1812 and we want to change that by inviting everyone to commemorate its importance with us. Our weekend’s events are free to the public and will open their eyes to the history that shaped Canada and North America, long before Canada was a country,” Merrett explains.

Activities in Western New York during the Opening Weekend also add to the schedule of events for Niagara’s 1812 Legacy Council, including an event at Old Fort Niagara on June 16th to commemorate Betsy Doyle; the heroine counterpart to Laura Secord.There will be activities all day at the fort, including: musket demonstrations, tours, a flag raising ceremony, children’s games and more.

The three 1st place winners of the Legacy Council’s colouring contest will be the “VIPs” at Opening Ceremonies. The contest started May 8th, with submissions due May 25th for grades 4-6 students. See for info and to download.

View the Opening Ceremonies schedule on our website.

The Niagara 1812 Bicentennial Legacy Council is a bi-national not-for-profit organization established to commemorate the War of 1812 and celebrate the 200 years of peace between Canada and the United States.