Thorold's War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee works to reclaim remaining historic sites in Thorold 0
To prepare for the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, Thorold's War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee has been working on a number of initiatives.
The Battle of Beaverdams and Laura Secord's walk are two significant events of the War of 1812 Thorold will be honouring in 2013.
John Burtniak, chair of the committee said Thorold plays a major role in commemorating the anniversary because it is home to surrender sites, battlegrounds and the DeCew House, a notable location in Secord's walk.
Burtniak said the committee is working to identify and mark keys sites relating to the battle and to reclaim the remaining Beaverdams battlegrounds by establishing two small commemorative parks.
"Very little of the Beaverdams battleground remains unaffected by canals, highways, industry and other developments, and we are hoping to reclaim what little remains."
"One of these would be at the surrender site, which lies off Davis Road."
He said an initial meeting took place recently, involving Mayor Ted Luciani, city staff, committee members and company representatives. "Based on this meeting the prospects look favourable and we are presently working on a tentative park design."
He said the other location is a short distance to the north where some of the earliest engagements of the battle took place, currently owned by the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority.
"We have submitted a preliminary design to city staff, but a phase one environmental assessment has raised some concerns about this property and we are presently considering how they might be resolved."
He said the committee has also proposed the idea for a commemorative park at the DeCew House. It is currently an informal park, however the committee proposed that it be converted into a proper heritage park.
"The DeCew House is truly a site of national significance. It will be the focus of a number of events in 2013."
Burtniak said ownership by the Ontario Power Generation has been transferred to the city of Thorold, with $20,000 to help pay for remedial work.
Part of the project involves stabilizing and restoring the existing walls, floors fireplaces and steps.
He added areas that have been filled with bricks, concrete blocks or modern non-matching stone should be replaced with appropriate local stone and lasting mortar. The concrete caps on the walls will be repaired and those in the poorest condition will be replaced, he said.
To deter vandalism, Burtniak said they hope to block the former cellar entrance on the outside west wall. "We also recommend that the original interior walls be marked with lines painted on the floor for use in pioneer house-life school programs and that unobtrusive electrical outlets be installed."
Burtniak said the surrounding grounds need cleaning up and some leveling and grading may be necessary. He said dead and dying trees should be removed and the remaining vegetation trimmed.
He added, "Pioneer flowers and shrubs should be planted around the house and at the front."