Niagara Gazette


December 28, 2011

GLYNN: Cannon fire to open War of 1812 events

COLUMN BY DON GLYNN — The cannons will boom at Fort George and Fort Niagara on New Year’s Day — a salute to peace between the two nations — to mark the first event for the War of 1812 Bicentennial.

Ontario Lieutenant Gov. David C. Onley will be host of what is known as a Levee at the Fort George National Historic Site that will be open to the public Sunday from 1-4 p.m. A cannon firing to signal the official start of the year-long events is set for 3 p.m.

Old Fort Niagara, across the river, will return the salute. The fort will be closed that day but plans have been made to fire the cannon.

The two forts had key roles in the conflict that some historians call the second war of independence. Fought on several fronts, including the Niagara area, it lasted 2 1/2 years before ending with the Treaty of Ghent in 1815.

Visitors will be invited to tour the Fort George buildings, watch the military and music demonstrations, and ask staffers at the fort about its history and role in the War of 1812.

Onley will be joined by Niagara Regional Chairman Gary Burroughs, the town’s Lord Mayor David Eke and local officials from communities on both sides of the border.

With many local government officials on the U.S. taking their oath of office  Jan. 1 — a tradition not observed that day in Canada — some will be unable to attend the Fort George program. Light refreshments will be served and the Fort George Fife & Drum Corps will perform.

Brian Merrett, chief executive officer of the 1812 Bicentennial Legacy Council, said Wednesday that upwards of 1,000 people are expected for the signature event.

“This will be a toast to our continued prosperity and the start of celebrating 200 years of peace between nations, since the conflict of the War of 1812,” Merrett said.

The lieutenant governor’s levee originated during the 18th century reign of King Louis XVI. The Royal Governor of New France, who brought the tradition to Canada, would sit on the doorstep of his Quebec residence on New Year’s Day to greet the citizens and usher in the new year.  

The inaugural event is a collaborative partnership between the Friends of Fort George, Parks Canada, Niagara Region, Niagara-on-the-Lake Bicentennial Committee and the Town of Niagara-on-the -Lake.


AULD LANG SYNE: Why bother traveling out of Niagara County  to celebrate New Year’s Eve?

A ball drop is scheduled  at the crack of midnight in the heart of Ransomville. (In case you wonder, Dick Clark can’t make it.)

The first-ever such event was apparently proposed during a recent discussion at Johnston’s Restaurant on Academy Street.

Lou Black has helped to coordinate the logistics.


STARK SCENE: Where’s the white stuff?

According to the National Weather Service, just three inches of snow has been recorded this season at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

For the record, “normal” for this time of the year is 32 inches.

By the way, don’t you hate it when some passerby on the street says, “We’re going to pay for this!”


 SAFETY RECORD: While there’s still a couple days left in 2011, it appears the year may end with the lowest total number of passenger deaths in modern aviation history.

To date, the figure is 401, despite a sharp increase in the number of flights and passengers around the globe.

The report was released Wednesday by Ascend, a London-based consulting firm.


A MATH PROBLEM: Overheard at Augie’s Sunrise Diner, Military Road: “Why should I pay $9 for movie tickets when I can see the same movie on TV for $40 a month?”


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