2018 marks 180th Year!
A bright new light will beam from atop the Battle of the Windmill tower to guide participants in Saturday’s Fort Town Night Run, an event that kicks off the area’s summer season.
The same night a group of Ghost Hunters from Montreal has booked the historic stone building for an activity that has the potential to turn up some shadowy figures from the past. They will be live streaming on Youtube. That is just one of several special events planned by Friends of the Windmill, the volunteer group that maintains the site and provides a guide and services to visitors.
This year marks the 180th anniversary of the battle that took place when up to 300 invaders from the United States landed at Windmill Point in a misguided attempt to free Upper Canadians from British dominance. They took up positions in the windmill and the handful of nearby homes that made up the hamlet of Newport.
The ensuing four-day battle against local militia and British troops based in the colony resulted in dozens of deaths on both sides. It ended only when heavy cannons from Fort Henry in Kingston blasted a barricade in front of the windmill door and destroyed the stone buildings where the invaders had taken up positions.
Those canons poured their deadly fire from high ground about 450 meters north of the windmill, exactly where the new Giant Tiger Distribution Centre stands today. From that site, it is easy to see the tower and imagine the battlefield area. In addition to the tower, which became a lighthouse in 1873, just one original building survives. It is a stone home slightly to the west across Windmill Road.
This anniversary season the Friends have canceled visitor fees and have refurbished the tower interior and upgraded displays. The group has sponsored a poetry contest with cash prizes for youth and adult winners whose efforts will be published on commemorative bookmarks.
The schedule of special Windmill events on this anniversary year is filling up. It includes a wedding ceremony in August, participation in a canoe poker run, placement of several dedicated benches, new signage, and expansion of a riverside nature trail.
The official opening of the Windmill will be July 02, open every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, closed Tuesday and Wednesday, with an attendant on site from 10 AM until 4 PM. The Windmill will be open in June, on weekends only, at the same hours.
Anyone wishing to hold an event on these beautiful grounds overlooking the St. Lawrence is invited to contact Jim Devenny at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Friends of the Windmill you can visit our Facebook site at “Friends of Windmill Point”