Raiders, Rebels, and Redcoats invade Fort Malden

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FORT-Redcoats-fire-their-muskets-in-defence-of-Fort-Maldenby Adam Gault

The sound of gunfire and heavy cannonade broke out at Fort Malden this past weekend as Parks Canada and Fort Malden held re-enactments to commemorate the 180th anniversary of the Upper Canada rebellions of 1837.

The Raiders, Rebels, and Redcoats event gave visitors an interactive and educational glimpse into a largely forgotten part of Canada’s, and specifically Essex’s, history.

Costumed re-enactors portrayed an array of groups, including British Redcoats, American Raiders, and Hudson’s Bay Company fur traders, and took guests back to a volatile time of insurrection in Upper and Lower Canada. They also highlighted the strategic role Fort Malden played in defending Essex County from American sympathizers belonging to Hunters’ Lodges, an organization looking to make Canada a republic.

FORT-Young-fur-trapper-Paul-Colley-leads-a-lesson-in-fishingCorrine Ross, a Visitor Experience Team Leader with Parks Canada, explained part of the process behind hosting the first-time event.

“It’s an opportunity to showcase what we do, to work with the Town to have an event on the same day,” Ross explained, highlighting how Amherstburg would be showcased between Fort Malden’s event as well as the Canuck it Up festival happening simultaneously.

“It’s a challenge, but worthwhile, to make history relevant to Canadians, make it special to Canadians,” Ross commented, regarding how interactive events like Raiders, Rebels, and Redcoats give Canadians a more tangible appreciation of local history.

The highlight of the two-day event was a battle re-enactment between the Redcoats and American Raiders. In the mid-afternoon heat, the British forces found themselves ambushed by the raiders, who were approaching the Fort from a hillside embankment. Fortunately for Fort Malden, the superior training and tactical discipline of Malden’s defenders managed to hold the Fort from the largely disorganized rebel horde.

To learn more about other upcoming historical events at Fort Malden, visit Parks Canada online at pc.gc.ca.