Gord and I did the Bicentennial Commemoration of the Battle of York - Walking in Their Footsteps walking tour this morning. It was organized by Fort York.
Saturday April 27, 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of York. Beginning at 10 a.m. close to where the disembarked Americans began their advance, the public will be led by historical interpreters, stopping at several significant points, arriving at Fort York by 12:30 p.m.
This was the battle in which the Americans attacked York (aka Toronto) and had control for a few days.
It was a 5km walk ... we started at Palais Royale and finished at Fort York.
Tim Hortons provided everyone with free coffee and pastries before the walk started.
There were five stops on the walk and each was well-marked.
The walk started with welcome remarks by John Moore, host of Newstalk 1010's Moore in the Morning.
Then we were off to Stop 1 - Coming Ashore.
There was an unveiling of an American landing plaque.
Richard Gerrard, an 1812 historian, told us about the lead-up to the Battle of York, the arrival of the U.S. fleet and the approach of their forces to the landing site.
Then we were off to Stop 2 - Amphibious Assault.
Richard Haynes, Site Coordinator at Fort York, told us about the U.S. landing and offensive, British and allied First Nations resistance and the beginning of the withdrawal to the Garrison.
Can you imagine fourteen American ships sitting out there about to attack and take over York?!
Then we were off to Stop 3 - Fighting in the Clearing.
Richard Feltoe, a War of 1812 historian and author, was quite entertaining. He told us about the action between the combatants before retreating to the Western Battery.
Then we were off to Stop 4 - The Western Battery.
Ken Purvis, Site Coordinator at Montgomery's Inn, talked about the disaster at the Western Battery, as part of the last-ditch defence of the area west of the Garrison.
Ken played Yankee Doodle, a song the British had written mocking of Americans.
These kids were dressed in the spirit of the Battle of York.
Then we headed to the final stop, Stop 5 - Advance Towards the Fort.
Ron Williamson, Archaeological Services Inc., talked about the final phase of the battle, specifically the explosion of the Grand Magazine and the capitulation of the Garrison and town. The British blew up their magazine (gun powder, etc.) before they
surrendered Fort York, killing many Americans and injuring many more.
To that point, it was the largest man-made explosion in the world.
They found this a few years ago ... it's from the explosion.
This was on a fella's teeshirt, making reference to the explosion.
John Moore gave the closing remarks.
It was a very interesting walk. It was fun to experience the walk and hear about what happened from the experts. There were hundreds of people on the walk ... probably as many who lived in York at the time.