Tall ships. Military bands. Battle re-enactments.
All of these attractions and more will be on display in Hamilton this summer as part of the continuing observances surrounding the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.
A signature event on this year's program will be the bicentennial re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek on June 1 and 2. Over 600 participants are expected in the mock skirmish, which will recall one of the key turning points in the British-American conflict.
In the early hours of June 6, 1813, British forces launched a surprise assault on American troops who had set up camp in what's now Stoney Creek. During the 40-minute clash, the British captured two opposing generals and forced the Americans to retreat. U.S. forces never advanced that far into the Niagara Peninsula again.
Sightseers will have the opportunity to board multi-mast sail ships, the kind that might have sailed the Great Lakes during the War of 1812. At least five such vessels, including one whose home port is in Norway, will be stationed at Pier 8 on the weekend of June 28.
Mayor Bob Bratina expressed his excitement for the summer's activities at a media launch at Battlefield House Museum in Stoney Creek on Wednesday.
"For some reason, I've grown up believing that Hamilton has a unique destiny," he told CBC Hamilton. "The sweep of history that's gone through here, including the formation of a new country following the defeat of the Americans following the war — and the fact that these events that took place in my own backyard - it always captivated me even as a youngster."
For a full schedule of Hamilton's War of 1812 anniversary events, go to 1812Hamilton.com.