Sault Star, Local News
Tall ships - There will be a lot to celebrate in 2012 - War or 1812 one of
three major celebrations
By Dan Bellerose, Sault Star
Friday, October 22, 2010 6:13:46 EDT AM
Be prepared to revisit the past as Sault Ste. Marie and area celebrates three
events historical significance in a couple of years.
The Sault will be the first of seven Ontario regions launching War of 1812
Bicentennial celebrations in the summer of 2012, the same year the Ermatinger
Old Stone House, one of the oldest stone structures northwest of Toronto,
celebrates its 200th anniversary and the city marks its 100th year of
The city and Fort St. Joseph, a British military outpost on the southeast tip of
St. Joseph Island, played significant roles in the conflict between America and
Britain, from fort and schooner captures to a settlement burning over the three
"The most significant event coming to mind would be the capture of Fort
Michilimackinac at the outbreak of the war but there was also the nearby capture
of two naval vessels and the burning of the Sault," said Kathy Fisher, co-chair
of the Algoma 1812 planning committee.
Fisher's group, including about 75 volunteers from throughout Algoma
District, as well as area First Nation, Metis and State of Michigan
representatives, have been brainstorming on the bicentennial for the past two
"We've got a few ideas we're working on, significant characters of the era, in
costume, circulating throughout the downtown, a re-creation lacrosse event
(lacrosse being the sport of the era) and a re-creation of settlement fur
traders setting off to join the Michilimackinac raid.
"We have yet to finalize a signature kick-off event . . . . We hope the Governor
General (the Sault's David Johnston) can accept an invitation to attend the
The committee is hoping to attract some 1812-era tall ships into the area in
2013, two such historical sailing vessels drew about 4,000 visitors over a
couple of days this past summer, as well as Canadian and American Navy vessels.
Moments of historical significance in 2014 would include the 200th anniversary
of the nearby capture of two American war schooners and the burning of the
"I think we've been gradually building momentum, it's still a couple of years
The first significant date is July 17, 2012, the 200th anniversary of the
capture of Michilimackinac by an attacking force of about 500, including nearly
50 British Army regulars and Sault fur trader Charles Ermatinger.
The attack, about a month after the outbreak of the war, saw the fort, with a
garrison of about 60 troops, surrendered without a shot being fired - it was the
first land battle of the war of U.S. soil.
About two years later, on July 23, 1814, a American raiding party, including
about 150 soldiers and sailors, burned the undefended settlement at the Sault,
including the North West Co. post, a sawmill and a 38-foot wooden lock.
Nearly two months later, in September, 1814, a British raiding party from
Michilimackinac, aboard canoes, captured the USS Tigress, a 15-metre armed
schooner with a complement of 27 crew off of St. Joseph Island.
Two days, on Sept. 9. 1814, the Tigress was used to capture the USS Scorpion, a
19-metre armed schooner with a complement of nearly three dozen at the mouth of
the Thessalon River.