|April 19, 2012
Planning events while waiting to hear back on funding applications can be a tricky thing.
The Niagara 1812 Bicentennial Legacy Council is scaling back events planned in Niagara-on-the-Lake after funding has been denied for three events that were set to take place during the opening ceremony weekend in June.
The Horse Guard parade, a military sunset performance and the Niagara Symphony performance at Fort George were all affected by the denial of funding through the Department of Canadian Heritage’s 1812 Commemoration Fund.
“The feds clearly outlined their reasoning and indicated that there were hundreds of submissions asking to fund concerts and symphonies; they told us they decided to not fund any, and the main guideline was ‘what does this [event] teach people about the War of 1812?’,” explained Katie Farr, media and communications for the Legacy Council in an e-mail to The Crier. “The important thing, is that the Opening Ceremonies Weekend are action-packed with over 15 events being planned.”
While Farr said a schedule of events and logistics are still being worked out, the council is going full-steam ahead in planning.
“It’s a tough time for everyone in the funding game,” she said.
The opening ceremony weekend takes place June 15-18 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the declaration of war. While planners were careful to say all events depended on funding, news of the funding denial surprised many in the community.
“I was a little surprised,” said Regional Chair Gary Burroughs. “What they had planned was such a nice way to kick off the whole project.”
While Burroughs admits he’s still looking forward to the ceremonies that are going ahead as scheduled, he’d like to see some other way for funding to come together to make the original plans go forward.
Lyle Williams, communications officer for the Niagara-on-the-Lake Bicentennial Committee, said the committee’s planned events, such as the Battle of Queenston Heights and burial of General Isaac Brock re-creations, and Sailors on the Lake, will still be taking place. The funding difficulties, he noted, only affect the Legacy Council.
“We are disappointed, because if we had known this was a possibility, we could have planned in advance to make sure something big would be happening,” he said. “It’s too bad because they worked very hard on this; It’s really a disaster.”
|The funding difficulties does not mean Niagara-on-the-Lake will be without an event on opening weekend. The Brock Ball, a sold-out military-themed ball organized by the Niagara-on-the-Lake Historical Society and Museum will still be taking place on Saturday, June 16. Peter Martin, site supervisor at Fort George, said the Parks Canada property will be open all weekend with regular programming happening each day. On Monday, June 18, the 200th anniversary of the declaration of war, Martin said Fort George will be abuzz with activity.
“It will be like it would have been when the fort first found war was declared,” he said. “It will be very animated.”
The weekend will also serve as the launch for a new museum installation at the fort which includes “The Cube,” a four-sided video screen that will show a high-definition movie filmed at the fort about the Battle of Fort George.
Martin said if the Legacy Council’s planned events do not go forward, he has a few ideas that he could “pull out of his pocket.”
“I’d like to see something happen,” he said.
Farr said once plans are finalized for the opening ceremonies weekend, an official announcement will be made.
In the meantime, details about planned events can be found at www.discover1812.com or by calling 905-984-3626.