Last month, we took a look at the War of 1812 commemorative events that are taking place in Canada, the U.S. and the UK to mark the bicentenary of this historical conflict. Around Toronto, the War of 1812 is popping up in the news and a number of special exhibits and reenactment have been taking place. With a full slate of War of 1812 events planned in Toronto and other parts of Ontario between now and June, 2013 when the Fort York War of 1812 Festival will take place with a full re-enactment, it's an interesting time to plan War of 1812 themed corporate events in Toronto.
At the corner of Bathurst and Fleet Street, there are 2 giant toy soldiers. One is standing and the other has toppled over. Many Greater Toronto Area (GTA) residents drive past the monument every day and never take the time to explore its significance.
A few days ago, when preparing the routes for an urban safari for one of my clients, my curiosity was piqued and I decided to explore and discover what this statue was all about. It is a monument to the War of 1812. It was designed by Douglas Coupland and unveiled four years ago as the first of a number of attractions and commemorative events.
In May, when he was in Toronto as part of this year's Royal Diamond Jubilee , in preparation for the upcoming series of War of 1812 events, His Royal Highness the Prince Wales inspected the honor guard at Fort York for the 1812 Commemorative Military Muster.
On June 15, Toronto's commemorative activities for the War of 1812 were launched in conjunction with the encampment that started at Fort York, not to far from the War of 1812 monument on June 8. It is a full army encampment as it would have looked circa 1812.
The fort that was previously at that site was destroyed during the War of 1812's Battle of York. The now historical buildings at Old Fort York were built to replace it. I finally had an opportunity to pass by Fort York on the weekend and it was most impressive.
There were 200 tents that have been illuminated nightly for the past few weeks. Here the artists and designers who created it, show how it all came together.
Of interest to event planners is the fact that Fort York is one of the few venues in downtown Toronto where you can land a helicopter. In fact, I have used it for a breakfast to launch an upscale Amazing Race Inspired events for one of my own clients.
Heading East, to St. James Cathedral, on June 17, the bells peeled 200 versions of an 1812 song before the Fort York Guard dressed in period uniforms lead the congregation into St. James Cathedral for a special War of 1812 commemorative service. That same day, Toronto Symphony Orchestra Outdoor Concert gave a free outdoor concert featuring Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
On Berkeley and Front just east of Parliament St., the Parliament Interpretive Centre has been opened. Many GTA residents don't realize how Parliament Street got it's name. It's for the Upper Canada parliament that was located near what is now Front and Parliament in York (as Toronto was known at that time). The Upper Canada Parliament buildings were destroyed during the War of 1812. (The Province of Ontario was once called Upper Canada.) The Centre has interactive displays that give visitors and local residents alike an opportunity to explore Toronto history, the important role that the War of 1812 played in shaping Toronto, and how the parliament buildings came into being.
By the time you read this, my corporate client will be relaxing over lunch and sharing all of the interesting things discovered about Toronto. With a full slate of War of 1812 events planned in Toronto and other parts of Ontario between now and June, 2013 when the Fort York War of 1812 Festival will take place with a full re-enactment, it's an interesting time to plan War of 1812 themed events and corporate events in Toronto.