Fort Erie, Buffalo and Niagara-on-the-Lake will be ablaze with activities on Dec. 7, as the three towns will commemorate the treacherous burnings that took place in December of 1813 as an attack during the War of 1812-14.
Most activities are free or offer a reduced admission.
For the past few years, Fort Erie and Buffalo have simultaneously lit a bonfire at the water’s edge of the Niagara River to commemorate the burning 200 years ago. This year will be the exact anniversary, and on a larger scale on both sides of the border. Buffalo will have activities all day long, including Tea With Dolly Madison at 10 a.m., tours of the USS Trippe at the Buffalo Marine Centre, a lecture presented by Chris Brown on the War of 1812, a tree-lighting in Market Square and, of course, the big fire at 6 p.m. at Squaw Island.
Nonperishable food items will be graciously accepted and given to the Black Rock Food Bank. A reception with refreshments will follow at St. John’s Church, 85 Amherst St., in Black Rock.
Fort Erie’s fire will be lit at the Old Coal Docks (corner of Jarvis Street and the Niagara Parkway) at 6 p.m. There will be a walking art exhibit along Jarvis Street that will start at 1 p.m. The night before, on Dec. 6, a camp-out fundraiser begins, where 10 local community celebrities will brave the cold and spend the night in an 1812 encampment to raise money and supplies for local charities. On both days, the public is asked to bring nonperishable food items and gently used unwanted clothing to support the cause.
Down the river in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the public is invited to visit Market Square and the courthouse downtown on Queen Street between 6 and 10 p.m., where a sound and light show will be projected onto buildings to simulate flames. A dramatic film, “Niagara On Fire,” will be premiered at the court house; documenting the burning of the now “prettiest town in Canada.” Movie times are every half hour from 6:30- 8:30 p.m. Hot cider will be served and the evening will conclude with fireworks. “Niagara on Fire” is free to attend, and local shops and restaurants will stay open to offer respite from the cold.
This is a “Signature Niagara 1812 Event,” identified by the Niagara 1812 Legacy Council. The Legacy Council is a cross-border nonprofit established to commemorate the War of 1812 and celebrate the 200 years of peace between nations that has followed.