Massive battlefield re-enactment returns to Hamilton after 3 years


Published April 25, 2023 at 1:54 pm

battle stoney creek reenactment
Photos courtesy of the Battlefield House Museum & Park, National Historic Site

After a three-year hiatus, the Re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek returns to Battlefield House Museum and Park.

The National Historic Site in Hamilton hosted the battle re-enactment every year since 1981 until the pandemic hit, Brenda Branch, marketing officer for Hamilton Civic Museums, tells intheHammer.

The event involves approximately 500 re-enactor volunteers and around 100 event volunteers in addition to five full-time staff members and 15 part-time staff, says Branch.

“It is the largest event that the museums present,” says Branch.

On average, around 7,500 people attend the event.

As the event is so large, it takes a year to plan. So, even though many pandemic restrictions lifted last year, there wasn’t enough time to plan it.

The Battle of Stoney Creek was one of many battles between U.S. and British forces during the War of 1812. This battle, on June 6, 1813, claimed the lives of 23 British and 55 U.S. soldiers.

The battle is seen as a turning point for U.S. operations in Upper Canada as their range of movement to extend and consolidate was limited by the series of British outposts that penned them in, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia. The war ended Feb. 18, 1815.

battle stoney creek reenactment

The two-day event on June 3 and 4 at Battlefield House Museum and Park includes three battle re-enactments complete with action and sounds from the flash of gunpowder.

And there will be tons of other activities such as period dancing, music, old-fashioned games for children, and demonstrations.

This year 16 merchants will be on site selling 19th-century replica items.

“So everything for sale has to be authentic to the Napoleonic era,” says Branch.

There will be tours of the Museum and Battlefield Monument, and people can visit the 19th-century encampment.

New this year is the Haudenosaunee Lacrosse’s “Great Peace Game” on the battlefield before each re-enactment on Saturday.

It’s called the peace game because some Indigenous communities used lacrosse as a way to resolve differences.

“In the past, they have solved conflict through lacrosse,” says Branch.

Canada Top Chef contestant Chef Tawnya Brant of Six Nations of the Grand River will be at the event providing food for the lacrosse players.

battle stoney creek reenactment

Fireworks are planned for after the Saturday evening battle.

Battlefield House Museum and Park is at 77 King St. W., Stoney Creek.

The two-day event is Saturday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The battle re-enactments are at 3:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. The re-enactments run from 20 minutes to half an hour, and visitors can bring a lawn chair if they wish.

Admission is free for the event. There are additional costs for the food, refreshments and merchandise.

For more information on the event, visit the museum website here.

Volunteers are still needed and those interested can find more information here.
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