Commemorating the War of 1812
June 18, 2021 will mark the 200th anniversary of when the United States declared war on Great Britain and its British North American colonies, which included what is today Central and Eastern Canada. This War would come to be known as the War of 1812 and inarguably shaped Canada, as it moved our country towards becoming an independent and free nation, united under the Crown, with respect for linguistic and ethnic diversity. Our Government recognizes the immense significance of this anniversary and encourages each Canadian to celebrate and reflect on this defining moment in Canada’s history.
The War of 1812 is significant for many reasons, which underscores the importance of commemorating it. When the United States declared war on Great Britain and its British North American colonies, Canada became the battleground and the Americans came very close to annexing Upper Canada (Ontario) and all territory to the west of it. If the American invasion of 1812 – 1814 had been successful, Canada as we know it today would not exist. The announcement of war by the United States brought Aboriginal peoples, local and volunteer militias, as well as English and French-speaking regiments together in a united front to protect Canada from American invasion. It was also because of the combined heroic efforts of these individuals, the American invasion was successfully defeated.
It can even be said that Canada’s Armed Forces of today have roots going back to the War of 1812. Many of our country’s current reserve regiments in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada can identify their origins to the War. It marked the beginning of Canada’s long and proud military history, which our fine men and women carry on today around the world.
The War of 1812 moved Canada closer to Confederation and ultimately towards becoming an independent nation in North America, while also being instrumental in the creation of many of our political institutions we enjoy today and are known for globally. The signing of the Treaty of Ghent, which was ratified on February 16, 1815, not only signified the end of the War, but also began what has become nearly two centuries of peaceful relations between Canada and the United States. Furthermore, it resulted in the world’s longest, undefended border, symbolizing the shared respect, strong friendship, and continued cooperation between the two countries.
Our Government has introduced many initiatives to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and our brave ancestors who fought to save Canada. One initiative is the Commemoration Fund, which funds community-based projects that commemorate the War of 1812. The aim of the Fund is to create larger awareness and understanding amongst all Canadians of this War and its significance in our history. It is a three-year funding initiative, ending on March 31, 2014, and is administered by the Federal Secretariat, 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812. If you’re interested in applying for funding support through this program for a project to commemorate the War, please contact the Federal Secretariat, Bicentennial of the War of 1812 at 1-866-811-0055 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I invite you to learn more and to participate in the many events that will be taking place in the coming months to commemorate the War of 1812 and this significant moment in Canadian history.