Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

February 10, 2012 15:46 ET

Minister MacKay Announces Initiatives to Mark War of 1812 Bicentennial

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 10, 2012) - Following the launch of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence announced a number of initiatives that the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces have developed to support the Government of Canada's effort to mark the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.

"The War of 1812 represents a key milestone in our nation's history, and I am proud of our Government's efforts to raise awareness and to create an enhanced understanding of Canadian military history," said Minister MacKay. "The initiatives announced today are an important way to recognize and celebrate the role played by Canada's citizen soldiers, as well as to commemorate the contributions made by the regular and militia soldiers, provincial marine and the aboriginal allies who participated in the War of 1812."

The Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force are planning to participate in several dozen community-led events over the course of the summer of 2012 through to 2015, which marks the anniversary of the final battle of the War. The majority of the activities and events will be in 2012, and most activities will take place in the Niagara-Great Lakes corridor region. Other Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces-related initiatives include:

  • the presentation of a War of 1812 Commemorative Banner, approved by Queen Elizabeth II, to CF units, formations and establishments whose heritage embraces service in the War of 1812 as well as First Nations and Métis communities. Aboriginal warriors fought alongside British and Canadian soldiers and sailors in all theatres of the war and were the deciding factor in many battles. The identification of First Nations and Métis recipients is principally the work of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada;
  • participation by Royal Canadian Navy ships in 18 visits to ports in Canada and the U.S. throughout the Great Lakes, as well as in five U.S. Navy signature events in the Great Lakes and along the East coast during the summer of 2012;
  • participation in several Colonial Sailor Program re-enactment events during 2012-2015, including "tall ships" used for sail training and historical demonstrations, fitted with appropriate ensigns and colours, with crews in historical dress. This program is conducted by the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces and will be supported by Parks Canada;
  • a War of 1812 commemorative pin to be worn by all Canadian Forces members; and
  • the examination of other ways to formally recognize and honour the British and Canadian units whose heritage embraces service in the War of 1812.

The Commemoration of the War of 1812 will ensure that all Canadians are aware of the importance of the events which unfolded 200 years ago. The War of 1812 not only established Canada's path toward becoming an independent and free country but it also defined the relationship we now have with our greatest ally, the United States. The Canada-United States border is now the longest, undefended border in the world and serves as a great example of nations coexisting peacefully with mutual respect and friendship.

Note to editors:

For additional information on DND/CF's contributions towards the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration, please consult the following backgrounder: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=4085

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