Lake Ontario Theater Continued (Part Two)
Sackets Harbor Battlefield
504 West Main Street
Sackets Harbor, New York 13685(315) 646-3634
The Americans had only one useful deepwater harbor on their side of Lake Ontario. That was Sackets Harbor, which unlike Kingston, was remote and barely accessible by land. Even so, Sackets Harbor served as a primary U.S. naval base throughout the war, and all of the key American fighting ships that served on the lake were built here. On May 29, 1813 a powerful British fleet and accompanying ground force attacked Sackets Harbor intending to destroy the base along with its vital shipyards. To defend the base, General Jacob Brown could muster only 400 regulars and a few hundred poorly trained militia. Nonetheless, Brown and his men eventually succeeded in driving off the British. New York maintains Sackets Harbor Battlefield as a state park and historic site. Visitors can tour the restored navy yard and commandant’s house and hike the mile-long history trail. Signs and exhibits along the trail recall the dramatic events that took place here two centuries ago. Especially evocative is the magnificent Memorial Grove and granite 1812 Monument both of which honor the troops and sailors who served here during the war.
304 West Main Street
Sackets Harbor, New York 13685Phone (315) 646-2321 (Sackets Harbor Visitors’ Center)
Built by Augustus Sacket in 1804, the house served as a hospital and headquarters for the U.S. Navy during the war. Located on Main Street at the corner of Bayard Street, it is now the Sackets Harbor Visitors’ Center.
St. Lawrence Market and Medallion
92 Front Street East
Amherstburg, Ontario N9V2A5(416) 392-7219
Established in 1803, the vibrant St. Lawrence Market has played an important role in Canadian commercial history. In the market at the northeast corner of Jarvis and Front Streets is a memorial to the HMS St. Lawrence, the first and only ship of the line to serve on the Great Lakes. Built in 1814, the 112-gun St. Lawrence dominated Lake Ontario toward the end of the war.
Wellington Street east of Bathhurst Street
Toronto, Ontario M5V 1M3(416) 203-2500 (Toronto Visitor’s Bureau)
A burial ground for soldiers and sailors killed during the War of 1812 and other conflicts, Victoria Square was one of Toronto’s first public parks. A monument here is dedicated to those who lost their lives defending Canada during the war. Victoria Square is located northeast of Fort York on Wellington Street east of Bathurst Street.
Fort York National Historic Site
250 Fort York Boulevard
Toronto, Ontario M5V 3K9
The roots of modern Toronto can be traced back 1793 and the establishment of a remote garrison on the present site of Fort York. When war with the United States loomed, the capitol of Upper Canada was moved to York which many decades later would be renamed Toronto. In 1813, York and its fortifications became the target of a large and destructive American raid. The American commander Zebulon Pike warned his men to respect private property, but after Pike was killed in an explosion his orders were no longer heeded. Much of York was burned after British forces retreated eastward. Eventually, British troops returned and built the fortification that stands here today. Fort York opened as an historic site and museum in 1934, and today, it is home to Canada's largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings. The fort is open year round and offers a number of services, including tours, exhibits, and seasonal demonstrations. Among the many attractions of Fort York is the the colorful Fort York Guard. To reach the fort, take Lakeshore Boulevard, turn left at Fort York Boulevard, and then right on Garrison Road and follow it to the parking lot at West Gate.