Wednesday, June 08, 2005

How We Stayed Canadian

Here in North America there is a constant and subtle conflict between neighbors. The constant tongue in cheek battle between Canada and America has rolled on for almost 200 years, like a bizarre kind of sibling rivalry. We each have our good and bad points so it's not like anyone is way better than any other. They have their rednecks and we have the French, it's sort of a trade off. I think it all began when the British settlers had a drink of the watery American beer and made a derogatory comment about it, unwittingly triggering The War of 1812.

Officially the War of 1812, waged between Canada (Britain) and America, was the result of a fallout in trade disputes in Europe. We here in North America know that it was a combination of the dispute over beer and our excessive politeness that pushed them over the edge. It was like living next to children's entertainers with all the nicey nicey and they eventually snapped. They decided to eradicate us and make North America entirely American.

June 1, 1812 war was declared and the fights raged over 2 years. After several unsuccessful attempts to enter Canada the Americans finally made their way in by way Niagara and got all the way to Stoney Creek. They camped down for the night on June 5th, 1813 and their plans were discovered by a local boy by the name of Billy Green. Billy was 19 and now that he had reached the legal drinking age he was terrified that it would take him a cask and a half of ale to get a good buzz instead of just a tankard. He ran to the British troops stationed nearby and they deployed immediately to face this threat. For 40 minutes, in the pitch black of night, a fierce battle raged between 700 British loyal troops and more than three times the number of Americans troops. Using the element of surprise and solid tactics they were able to rout the American forces and drive them back, causing their eventual retreat to their home country. With the victory at hand the British forces had the mother of all bush parties and tapped a few kegs and drove the Americans home with all their loud partying and shouting.

Every year, historians and hobbyists descend on a park built to honour this battle from Canada, America and even Europe. Each dedicated to their craft, they construct and acquire all their own supplies for full period re-enactment. These amazing people set up an entire encampment that is a shining example of living history to preserve the memory of this event. They eat sleep and live in the park for the duration of the event. All uniforms, weapons, tents and equipment are carefully restored and fabricated to be as authentic as possible resulting in a fantastic weekend in the park. People of all ages come to the park to marvel in the life of the past all culminating in a re-enactment of the actual battle itself.

The actual battle re-enactment is a sight to behold. Men marching in tight precision, firing and reloading powder muskets by hand at a rate that numbs the mind. Warfare of old was a far different animal than that of today. The initial strike force of the British crept up to the American scouting party and killed them with muskets so as not to alert the American forces of their arrival. The resulting firefight was deafening and dazzling. Spectators see this in the dwindling light of the day and can only imagine how troops stayed focused with all the flashing and smoke in the pitch black of night.

Hats off to these re-enactment participants for creating and maintaining this fantastic event to keep us grounded in our own history, while providing entertainment at the same time. I had a great time and got some great pictures.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, that's very interesting and new to me! Good photos, too. Thanks for the history lesson today! (I love history)

8:28:00 AM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I LOVE stuff like this (although I'm more partial to the medieval jousts and they way the people lived from that time).

There's a HUGE following here of the Civil War re-enactments. I've been to them and they do basically the same thing (as far as how the people lived and fought). I enjoy watching stuff like that.

Great pics, by the way.

9:04:00 AM  
Blogger mrhaney said...

it is good when you can go to a blog site and learn some thing. how is it going today. thanks for commenting at ramblin on. i will be on vacation for a while so you may not hear from me. i have added you to my xtra favorite blog list. have a great weekend. talk to you soon.

9:10:00 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

wow i loved this post and the pix. thx

11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Hick said...

Great post.

However, I think I am offended by the rednecks and French comments. We rednecks are not nearly as embarrassing as the French are. We throw stinky cheese away...the French eat it. EWWW.

11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

Thanks for the refresher course - I haven't seen this stuff since high school!

4:35:00 PM  
Blogger jon said...

I did learn something. I always thought Canada was one of the fifty states.

As for your comment on my last post: BRILLIANT! Wipe my mouth on the drapes! I should have thought of that. I have written it down for future reference.

6:26:00 PM  
Blogger Martini Love said...

OMG that was so cool, I did my Sophmore paper on The War of 1812 .. that isn't a lie either, I was really interested in wars. Anyways most of the girls did there papers on anorexia or teen pregnancy and I did mine on the War of 1812 everyone thought I was a freak, but my teacher loved it.. haha how cool. I haven't thought about it since but now you brought it back up that is so cool!!

6:27:00 PM  
Blogger SquirrleyMojo said...

fantastic post!

thanks for reminding me what *real* blogging looks like.

I love those colors, ehem, colours. The red against the green background--blood against nature (blood is nature, ironically).

so sorry for the French, but everyone keeps apologizing for them I notice . . .

1:38:00 PM  
Blogger glomgold said...

Ahh. It was over beer! Damn these revisionist US textbooks; screwed me agin!

11:22:00 AM  

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