A new memorial in the nation's capital and a series of commemorative events are among the plans announced Tuesday by the federal government to mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
Heritage Minister James Moore released details of the government's plans at an event in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., and they include an education campaign to raise awareness among Canadians about the historic struggle.
"We don't do enough in this country to protect our past, to teach our past, to get kids involved and to learn about this country's brilliant history and the important moments of our past," Moore said. "There is no greater example of that than the War of 1812. Not enough Canadians know about the importance of the War of 1812. It was the fight for Canada."
The federal government wants to mark the 200th anniversary of the war in 2012 in a big way and over the next four years it will spend $28 million on the following:
- An educational campaign on the war.
- Supporting up to 100 historical re-enactments, commemorations, and local events.
- A permanent 1812 memorial in Ottawa.
- Interactive tours, six exhibits, and improvements to three national historic sites across the country.
- Investing in infrastructure at key 1812 battle sites, including Fort Mississauga and Fort York in Ontario.
October 2012 will also be designated as a month of commemoration and Moore named Sir Isaac Brock, Charles-Michael de Salaberry, Tecumseh, and Laura Secord as some of the heroes that will be honoured during that time.
Moore said the War of 1812 was a defining moment in Canada's history and had the English and French militias and Aboriginal Canadians not worked together with British military forces, the American invasions would not have successfully been repelled.
"Without the War of 1812 Canada as we know it would not exist," said Moore.
A new website has also been launched as part of the educational initiative.