March 29, 2012
“Things are going great as we gear up for the big hockey game, and I think this is going to be the hottest ticket in town,” said the committee’s project co-ordinator, John Johnston, who added he expects the game to sell out the Leisureplex with no trouble.
“It’ll be a fun night. We’ve got a really great symphony lined up to do both national anthems and kids who come dressed in Canada apparel will get in for free,” said Johnston.
The game will feature current junior and college-level players from both sides of the border slugging it out in a ceremonial re-creation of the battle between Canada and America.
“People keep asking me what hockey has to do with the war,” said Johnston. “The answer is nothing; it’s just a fun way to celebrate the 200 years of peace between our two nations, and the good-natured rivalry that’s existed between us ever since.”
He said the committee also continues to plug away on preparations for the Grande Military Parade in June.
“I think we’ve put together what is going to be the biggest single-day celebration of the War of 1812 found anywhere in North America,” he said of the massive parade which will feature more than 50 military bands and 1,000 war re-enactors.
|All in all, the committee expects about 300,000 people will make their way through Fort Erie during the parade, though there’s one group Johnston said he’s been having trouble getting on board.
“I’ve been expressing concern over the non-involvement of the schools,” lamented Johnston, who said beyond contributing some floats, he’s been having trouble getting the schools interested in participating in 1812 events.
“I’ve attempted to reach out to the schools for a number of things and the response has been quite disappointing,” he added.
On the upside, he said participation and involvement from the Native community has been very strong.
Last week, the committee also got word of an extra bit of funding, about $50,000, coming its way.
Johnston said that he was “very gratified at the announcement which confirms the first segment of our Commemorate Canada grant request allowing us to complete much of the reparation work for the Bicentennial.”
He also emphasized that the second segment of Commemorate Canada funding will be essential to the actual staging of events and he is looking forward to that announcement.”
The puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Leisureplex on April 7 and if you’d like to get involved as a volunteer for the game, or any of the other 1812 events, check out forterie1812.ca for more info.