Parks Canada Kicks-off Canada 150 at Fort Wellington National Historic Site – HomeTown TV12
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Parks Canada Kicks-off Canada 150 at Fort Wellington National Historic Site

Parks Canada Kicks-off Canada 150 at Fort Wellington National Historic Site

Prescott – Starting on May 20, Fort Wellington National Historic Site officially will begin welcoming visitors for the 2017 season.

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the Government is very pleased to offer free admission to all Parks Canada places in 2017. The FREE Parks Canada 2017 Discovery Pass provides unlimited opportunities to enjoy national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas across the country.

Canada’s national historic sites will play a big part in the celebration of Canada 150. At Fort Wellington National Historic Site, the season opens with a step back to the earliest days of the fort’s existence as War of 1812 re-enactors and a cadet corps will occupy the fort. These troops will be living authentically, encamped on the field outside the fort, cooking over open fires just as troops would have during the 1812 time-period. There will be demonstrations of military drills and musket firings on the fort field both Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday May 27 we’re bringing in the big guns as Fort Wellington will welcome Canada’s military for an Artillery Day. Active troops from Canada’s military salute Canada 150 and the role of the Royal Artillery in Canadian history. The first British Artillery unit was formed on May 26, 1716, and British and Commonwealth artillery units have commemorated that event ever since. Demonstrations will begin at 11 a.m. with the 30th Field Artillery Regiment taking to the field to fire modern and actively used artillery pieces. Later in the day, the Regiment will try their hand at using the historic artillery (cannons) from the fort’s collection.

While special weekend events bring extra action, on most summer days, visitors will encounter a more peaceful time in the 1840s when the Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment and their families were stationed within the fort walls. Through costumed presentations, student guides depict the ordinary men and women who served at Fort Wellington. Guided tours will also be available daily as a soldier or his wife will transport visitors back in time, sharing exciting tales of the fort’s past.

Many other activities are planned for visitors of all ages. Children are invited to become Parks Canada’s Xplorers and earn a reward by completing a series of challenges. For a more immersive experience, the annual Fort Kids program is returning on Tuesdays in July and August. Fort Wellington also offers fun, adult only, activities. Those over 18 can sign up to fire an authentic 19th Century Cannon. For the 19+ age group, two evening whisky seminars on June 22 and August 31 will feature scotch and food pairing in the candlelit historic blockhouse.

To ensure the best experience possible experience, visitors are encouraged to plan their visit ahead of time through the Parks Canada website.

The FREE Parks Canada 2017 Discovery Pass is available from the Parks Canada website as well as at Parks Canada entry gates and visitor centres. Partners such as Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) and CIBC will also be distributing passes for Parks Canada.

Please note that only admission is free for 2017. There are fees for enhanced interpretative programs and recreational services and products such as camping and firewood, fishing permits, and overnight backcountry use.

“National parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas represent the very best that Canada has to offer and tell stories of who we are, including the history, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous Peoples. As Canada turns 150 this year, the Government of Canada’s gift to you is free admission to all Parks Canada places. The Parks Canada team looks forward to welcoming you in 2017.” said The Honourable Catherine McKenna Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Quick Facts:

· Fort Wellington has been involved in key moments leading up to the creation of Canada as a nation in 1867. The fort was first built during the War of 1812 and troops played a decisive role in that conflict by driving American troops out of Ogdensburg in 1813. The fort was called into action again in the 1830s during the Rebellions of Upper Canada, and then finally, in the lead up to Confederation, troops returned to the fort when an Irish American group called the Fenian Brotherhood once again brought armed conflict to Canada.

· Located in Prescott, Ontario, Fort Wellington was built to protect the St. Lawrence River transportation route during periods of Canadian military conflict beginning with the War of 1812, through the Rebellions of 1837 up until Canadian Confederation in 1867.

· Fort Wellington is open from May 20 until October 9. The site is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays in May, June, September and October, and then open every day in July and August. Guided tours of Fort Wellington are offered daily based on availability, as a cost of $7.30 per person.

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