Sunday, October 14, 2012

War of 1812+200: Queenston Heights

The observances this weekend of the Queenston Heights battle, October 13, 1812, may be the high point of the bicentennial events.  Spectacular setting, spectacular monument, we beat the Americans again, Isaac Brock becomes a dead hero, proximity to major population centres... Queenston Heights has it all.

The bicentennial has been so successful this summer, I would say, that it is hard to see it continuing at such a pitch for two more summers. No doubt Toronto will make the most of the battle of Toronto next spring, and Chateauguay will get attention next fall as the Quebec event.  But I'm not sure all the other Niagara peninsula battles will stand out as this one does. Nor will Crysler's Farm, or the naval battle off Pelee Island, or the torching of Washington, or the other big moments, will be quite so marketable.

Thomas Jefferson said the war would be a matter of marching.  The British, having gone undefeated three-for-three in 1812, had nicely set the pattern for the war.  After Queenston Heights ends the first campaigning season, there is a lot of marching back and forth.  But at the end of the war things will look a lot like the day after Queenston Heights.
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