Governor General marks War of 1812 bicentennial
Posted: Jun 16, 2012 11:51 AM MT
Last Updated: Jun 16, 2012 5:12 PM MT
Gov. Gen. David Johnston says the War of 1812 is the perfect time for Canadians to reflect on the peace the country has enjoyed on its soil.
"This is a very blessed country," he told CBC News during an event at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., to mark the bicentennial of the war's declaration. "And because we've enjoyed peace so long, because our freedoms seem to be so readily available, I think we have a tendency sometimes to take that for granted."
He said that remembering the war reminds Canadians that they had to fight for freedom, liberty and democracy and they should "work constantly to improve and enhance" the country.Gov. Gen. David Johnston said the war "gave Canadians a sense of shared experiences." (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government is spending more than $28 million on the war's bicentennial commemoration, complete with a special silver dollar coin, a new national monument, funding for historical re-enactments, and upgrades for historic sites and museum exhibits.
The war paved the way for what would become Canada. Monday marks the anniversary of the day the Americans declared war on the British Loyalists in Upper Canada. The Americans, boasting a superior military force, invaded Upper and Lower Canada several times.
But the colonies' British defenders and First Nations allies held the territory through a series of plucky defences and bold counter-moves, creating a new spirit of Canadian nationalism in the process.
Battle foreshadowed multiculturalism
"The war gave Canadians a sense of shared experiences in relationships, opening up possibilities for Confederation half a century later," Johnston said.
The diverse groups who fought in the war foreshadowed Canada's multicultural society, he said.
"They were a cross-section of early Canadians, including British soldiers and First Nation warriors, local volunteer militias and freed slaves," he said. "In other battles, French-speaking militias joined the fight to fend off the American forces."
The bicentennial is also being marked with a number of events in Toronto this weekend.
Two hundred white canvas tents have been set up at the city's Historic Fort York, which will be the site of music, dancing and storytelling.
On Sunday, bells at St. James Cathedral will play 200 versions of a song from 1812. During the service, people will read accounts from witnesses who saw the battle in Toronto, and pray for those who lost their lives.
Latest Calgary News Headlines
- How much do Alberta senators cost?
- There are six senators in Alberta including Liberal Claudette Tardif, deputy leader of the Opposition. Senators are allowed to charge for office expenses, travel and living in Ottawa. Here's an interactive looking at how much they cost tax payers. more »
- S.E. Calgary man missing since February
- Police are asking for help from the public as they search for a man who has been missing since February. more »
- Peewee hockey bodychecking faces national ban
- Hundreds of delegates arrive in Charlottetown Wednesday for the Hockey Canada annual general meeting, where they will vote on whether bodychecking should be banned nationally in minor hockey. more »
- Animals rescued from shelter in SPCA probe
- As the Alberta SPCA investigates an animal rescue operation west of Calgary, other shelters are stepping in to care for its displaced animals. more »
Top News Headlines
- Harper 'not consulted' about Duffy Senate expense repayment
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that not only did he not know about his chief of staff's "gift" to repay Senator Mike Duffy's expenses before the story broke in the media, he was not consulted and did not sign off on Nigel Wright's decision to write a personal cheque. more »
- Mayor Ford stays silent while his brother defends him
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford continues to stonewall the media over allegations that he was recorded on video smoking what appears to be crack cocaine, but his brother Coun. Doug Ford told reporters Wednesday that the story is untrue. more »
- 'You will see him again in heaven,' Sharlene Bosma tells daughter
- Sharlene Bosma told more than 1,000 people at the public memorial service for her slain husband, Tim Bosma, about the love they shared. more »
- Obama to visit Oklahoma following deadly tornado
- Rescue workers raced to complete the search for survivors and the dead in the Oklahoma City suburb where a mammoth tornado destroyed countless homes, cleared lots down to bare red earth and claimed 24 lives, including those of nine children. more »
- Danielle Smith slams Redford at Calgary leader's dinner
- Brooks celebrates hockey win with parade
- Graphic anti-abortion leaflet campaign expands
- Mount Norquay gets approval to expand
- 10 must try food truck street eats
- Deadly tornadoes can strike Alberta, say experts
- SPCA investigates animal rescue farm near Calgary
- Ranchers spotting grizzlies in southern Alberta
- Driver too drunk to stand, says mom of toddler killed on patio