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December 8, 2011
Toronto's War of 1812 Bicentennial program announced
A series of major events and legacy projects will define the City of Toronto’s two-year-long War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration, which kicks off next month.

From January 2012 until June 2013, hundreds of events and programs will take place at locations across the city.

"I encourage everyone to come and visit the city to take part in the bicentennial events and celebrate this important milestone in our history," said Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre) and Blake C. Goldring, co-chairs of the City's War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration Steering Committee, presented the bicentennial lineup this morning at Toronto City Hall.

Councillor Thompson, who chairs the City’s Economic Development and Culture Committee, and Mr. Goldring, Chairman and CEO of AGF Management Ltd., spoke on behalf of a committee composed of prominent members of Toronto's business, heritage and cultural communities.

"Over the next two years, the Bicentennial Commemoration will revitalize our collective memory of a war that shaped our national destiny,” said Councillor Thompson. “Equally important, it will leave behind an historic legacy for generations to come.”

Among the bicentennial’s key historical heritage projects is the ongoing revitalization of Fort York National Historic Site, a major battleground during the War of 1812, which now contains the largest collection of authentic 1812-era buildings in Canada. In addition, a virtual heritage trail network is being built.

“The trail will take visitors on a tour of key historical town of York locations, guiding them to the places where our War of 1812 history was made,” Councillor Thompson said.

Toronto will mark the anniversary of the official declaration of war on June 18, 1812 by hosting a number of free events from June 15 to June 24.

• In David Pecaut Square, the Luminato festival will present a free outdoor concert by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra featuring Tchaikovsky’s "1812 Overture".

• At Fort York, artists Thomas & Guinevere will create "The Encampment," an interactive installation of 200 tents, each detailing the stories and lives of civilians touched by the war. The installation is presented by the City of Toronto and Luminato.

• Courtesy of the St. Lawrence Market Business Improvement Area (BIA), visitors to Toronto's Old Town will have the opportunity to meet actors dressed in period costume who will relate events of the day.

• In St. James Cathedral, an overnight vigil, starting on Saturday June 16, will honour those who died during the war and reflect on the meaning of their sacrifices.
• From August 17 to September 3, members of the Canadian Forces, Canada Company, the CNE, Exhibition Place and the Canadian International Air Show will collaborate to produce events under the banner of By Sea, By Land and By Air.

• In October, as part of a national focus on the War of 1812, Fort York will feature family programming, an outdoor 1812-related film festival, a lecture series about the untold stories of the War of 1812, and a Regency Ball.

• The Battle of York will be honoured on April 27, 2013 at Fort York with a sunrise ceremony led by First Nations representatives followed by a commemorative service. On April 28, a large military parade will travel from Queen's Park to City Hall to Fort York.

• In June 2013, the Fort York Festival will feature Canada's best re-enactors, who will recreate life at the Fort at the time of the war.

"This massive commemorative program is the result of partnerships with many community, corporate, cultural, heritage, media and military organizations supported by the Governments of Canada and Ontario," said Mr. Goldring. "This investment in our history will leave a valuable dividend of knowledge to all Canadians."

Further details on Toronto's Bicentennial Commemoration programs and events will be announced in the coming months. For more information visit

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.7 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Shane Gerard
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