19 June 2012

Anniversary: War of 1812, Part 2 of... more than 2

Today's wry note is from Internationally Acclaimed Game Maestro™ Brian Train

The Canadian government announced in late 2011 that it would be spending $28 million over the next four years to commemorate the War. There will be funding for re-enactments of battles (e.g. Fort George and Queenston Heights) and significant events (e.g. the burial of Sir Isaac Brock, the journey of Laura Secord, the occupation and burning of Newark), as well as commemorative events, restorations or improvements to 40 historical sites in the Niagara Peninsula, an educational campaign and of course, websites (e.g. www.eighteentwelve.ca).

The irony of spending this amount of money on bicentennial celebrations of the start of the War (normally, don’t we commemorate the ends of wars?) has not gone unnoticed, when recent “austerity” budgets by the current neoconservative government have cut funding for the national library and archives, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Statistics Canada, research councils that fund historical inquiry, Parks Canada, and the development of Canadian Studies programs in countries outside Canada.

October 2012 will be declared a national month of commemoration for the war, capped somewhat later by the unveiling of a permanent monument to the War in a prominent position before the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. No word yet on whether the monument will be in the form of a triumphal arch, but the choice of site is curious – Ottawa did not exist in 1812 and is itself actually a byproduct of the War. It was originally called Bytown, named for Colonel John By, who in 1826 began construction of the Rideau Canal as a secure route between Montreal and Kingston on Lake Ontario, so bypassing the stretch of the St. Lawrence River that borders New York.

- Brian Train, 11 June 2012

By: Brant

1 comment:

Brian said...


Though some American states have established War of 1812 Bicentennial Commissions, and the US Navy plans some events, currently the U.S. Government has no formal organization or committee to coordinate commemorations of the War of 1812. The "Star-Spangled Banner and War
of 1812 Bicentennial Commission Act" passed Senate at the end of 2005 but was not passed by the House.