How Toronto Will Be Commemorating the War of 1812

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How Toronto Will Be Commemorating the War of 1812

Nearly two years of festivities planned for to mark the bicentenary

The official logo of the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration

For the next year-and-a-half, prepare to surround yourself with the War of 1812.

At a City Hall press conference this morning, the War of 1812 Bicentennial Steering Committee announced several major events that will reflect upon the conflicts and legacies from the battlegrounds of two centuries ago. The celebrations, according to co-chair Michael Thompson (Ward 37, Scarborough Centre), “will revitalize our collective memory of a war that shaped our national destiny.”

Following a brief appearance by Mayor Rob Ford to read the official proclamation, Thompson and fellow co-chair Blake Goldring introduced plans for commemorating the war and the long list of supporting sponsors. The official logo was unveiled, with Thompson explaining its colour scheme: “The green leaf represents the young country in the making. The purple stands for valour.”

Five major groupings of events are planned:

Commemorative Launch
June 15–24, 2012

Festivities marking the 200th anniversary of the declaration of war on June 18, 1812. In the streets near St. Lawrence Market, wandering actors in period dress will discuss life and events from that time. St. James Cathedral will hold an all-night vigil to remember those who died during the conflict. There are also at least two tie-ins with Luminato: a free outdoor concert in David Pecaut Square where the Toronto Symphony Orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and a newly commissioned work; and Explore the Encampment, where artists Thomas & Guinevere will install 200 tents featuring stories about civilians affected by the war.


By Sea, By Land and By Air
August 17–September 3, 2012

Mlitary-themed events and exhibits that will tie in with the CNE and the Canadian International Air Show.


History Month
October 2012

A series of activities at Fort York, including an outdoor film festival, lectures, family programming, and a Regency Ball.


Commemoration of the Battle of York
April 27–28, 2013

A sunrise First Nations ceremony, a walk across the battlefield, a commemorative service at Fort York, and a military parade stretching from Queen’s Park to the fort are among the events planned during the 200th anniversary weekend of the Battle of York.


Fort York War of 1812 Festival
June 2013

Historical re-enactors from across Canada will recreate the era.


In terms of legacy projects, the revitalization of Fort York will include grounds improvements and the opening of a new visitor centre. A virtual “heritage trail” is being developed to provide historical context to heritage sites, public art, geography, and street names.

Updates on all events and projects will be provided on an official city website.

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