This July 1 2012 weekend is heating up in Niagara on the Lake why not come down and spend the day in Niagara and take advantage of:

8am – Free Breakfast – Simcoe Park
10 am – 10pm -Free Admission to Fort George
12 Noon – Rotary BBQ – Simcoe Park
1-7pm – Live Bands at the Royal Canadian Legion on King Street
1-3:30 pm – Live Entertainment at Simcoe Park
3pm – Cakewalk – Free Cake in Simcoe Park
6pm – BBQ – Fort George
10pm – Fireworks at Fort George

See you all there!!

Last minute accommodations available for this weekend call

289-273-5681, and leave a message or email:

Niagara-on-the-Lake War of 1812 battle reenactment: How it’s done

Niagara-on-the-Lake War of 1812 battle reenactment: How it’s done

Published On Thu Jun 14 2012
Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake was shelled and captured by the American troops during the War of 1812, who razed the town before they left.Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake was shelled and captured by the American troops during the War of 1812, who razed the town before they left.PARKS CANADA

Bill Taylor, Special to the Star
 Handy stuff, peat moss. Not only a useful aid to growing a healthy lawn, but, when it comes to blowing something up “real good.” Peat moss adds a great deal of the “real good” factor.

There’ll be lots of the stuff flying around Fort George during the War of 1812 bicentennial commemoration, especially at the July 14-15 naval assault on the fort (a classic battle still taught at America’s elite West Point military academy), and the Oct. 12-14 celebration of the Battle of Queenston Heights.

Recreating a battle on “archeologically sensitive” ground is tricky. For one thing, says Peter Martin, you can’t dig in case you disturb a relic. That means you can’t bury the explosives needed for the pyrotechnic effects.

From volunteers in period uniform firing Brown Bess muskets several times a day for visitors to the fort to full-scale battle reenactments, creating the illusion of reality is all-important, says Martin, special events coordinator for Niagara National Historic Sites. That and ensuring it all goes off safely.

Which is why firing a cannon in battle involves more than one big bang. Cannon were actually aimed at the ground so the solid ball would skip, rather like a flat stone across a pond, and take down as many enemy troops as possible.

To simulate this, several small charges are laid in line where the ball would bounce and set off remotely with split-second timing so you’d swear you were following the deadly progress of a chunk of iron. The flying peat moss that was heaped over the charges makes it even more dramatic.

“It’s not just fireworks,” says Martin, who’s always ready to put on a uniform and swell the ranks as anything from a private in the Glengarry Light Infantry, a sergeant in the 41st Regiment of Foot or an officer in the Royal Engineers. “We hire experts who know how to get it right.”

That’s right first time; there are no rehearsals.

“You get one shot . . . literally,” he says.

Different armaments created different results. A mortar fired an explosive shell, generally fused to blow up before it hit the ground and spread mayhem among enemy troops. Martin compares it to a basketball, lobbed over obstacles with a certain amount of precision.

A simulated mortar blast needs smaller, secondary detonations “with sparkly things” to suggest the shell explosion.

Cannonballs, he says, were more like baseballs: “Your fastball, straight and hard — [They] go through everything.”

But then there were “hot shots,” cannonballs heated until they glowed red with the aim of setting fire to buildings.

“The Americans showered Fort George with hot shots and burned it to a cinder,” he explains.

Ground-charges to blow up a building become complicated when no digging is allowed.

“But we’ve worked with the experts to use big tubes of steel. You put the charge at the bottom, fill them with peat moss and then hide them. All you see is the explosion and the flying earth; you don’t think about where it came from.”

And then there are the Congreve rockets, designed by Sir William Congreve and notoriously unreliable and inaccurate. But they were one of the first “terror” weapons.

“They screamed really loud when they were in flight,” Martin says. “They were psychologically terrifying. Trying to emulate that safely is difficult. It’s not nearly as straightforward as the rockets used in firework displays.

“Doing a battle reenactment is totally different. It’s not all pretty colours and ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ and it’s usually over quite quickly — boom, boom, boom, pow! But it’s very spectacular.

“At the same time, it has to be safe, both for the spectators and the reenactors. You may have 300 of them on the field and it has to be very clear where they can and cannot go. There’s always a staff guy on hand to say, ‘The field is clear,’ before they cross.

“It’s not just keeping them away from the explosions; there are holes left behind and you don’t want them tripping and maybe getting injured.

“This is just a pretend battle. Guys fall over and play dead, but then they get up again. The idea is for it to end without a single casualty.”

For more information on the 1812 celebrations, visit http:www/

How to fire a cannon

In the madness of battle, firing a cannon depended upon method — the same disciplined movements time after time from the gun crew, which could be as many as six men.

Peter Martin explains: “The vent-man would be at the back of the cannon. He’d use a long metal needle to check that the vent-hole was clear. Then a ‘worm,’ a long pole with a screw at the end would go down the barrel to pull out any debris left from the last shot.

“Then the piece would be sponged with a pole like a big Q-Tip, dipped in water. That was for cleaning the barrel and putting out any burning embers.

“The powder and shot would go in and be rammed down — very carefully. If the cannon went off prematurely, it could take guy’s arms off. Then the vent-man used his needle to piece the powder-cartridge and insert a quill filled with powder and the cannon would be touched off with a rope soaked in saltpeter that burned rather like a cigarette.

“Sounds complicated, but a well-trained crew could get off a shot every minute.”

Some unscrupulous commanders — “None of ours,” he says — could boost that rate by omitting the safety steps. But such was the risk of a misfire that reserves waited behind the gun to take over from the inevitable casualties among the crew.

Musket-fire, too, calls for a carefully disciplined display of precision.

“But an experienced man can get off four shots a minute,” Martin says. “The fastest I’ve seen — and done myself — is 10 seconds.”

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Skywalk 2012 Press Release

Jay Cochrane above Niagara Falls nears the top of The Skylon Tower in 2005
Jay Cochrane above Niagara Falls nears the top of The Skylon Tower in 2005

June 18, 2012 (Niagara Falls) – In an awe-inspiring event, Jay Cochrane, Canada’s Prince of the Air, continues the “Summer of Skywalks” in the Niagara region.

Beginning June 29th, Skywalk 2012 will cross a 400 m (quarter mile) distance over 50-stories in the sky as Jay Cochrane performs the greatest building-to-building skywalk in North American history for twelve weeks in Niagara Falls, Canada.

Sponsored by The Tourism Partnership of Niagara and presented by the Fallsview BIA, Skywalk 2012 puts Cochrane into a league of his own. Jay’s highwire will extend 340 m (1,300 feet) from the top of the Niagara Fallsview Hilton Hotel North Tower at a height of 177 m (581 feet) to the top of the Skylon Tower at a height of 160 m (520 feet) in the heart of Niagara Falls.

Cochrane will walk the wire daily at 7 p.m. (weather permitting), traveling a distance well over 20 miles (30 kilometers) between the two structures in his 88 scheduled performances.

Jay Cochrane and the Niagara region have a long and storied history.

In 2005, the “Skylon Tower Skywalk” (see video by clicking here) began atop the 32-story, 110 m (364 feet)Niagara Fallsview Casino, traversing a distance of 380 m (1,250 feet), and finished atop the Skylon Tower at a height of 160 m (520 feet). Jay’s performance was astounding, set to music as he talked to the crowd below, giving the spectators a first-hand experience of what it is like to be on the wire.

Skywalk 2012 performances will be both higher and longer, and once again, Jay will interact with the viewers from above.

“Niagara Falls is the premier venue in the world for Skywalk 2012,” said Cochrane. “This walk approaches the grandeur of my Great China Skywalk across Qutang Gorge above the Yangtze River. I’m excited to give a spectacular performance that will draw attention to my home country of Canada and inspire people to visit Niagara.”

In addition to being home to Niagara Falls, one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders, Niagara Canada offers visitors a host of smaller treasures that inspire on a completely different level. With dozens of wineries, golf courses and heritage sites, endless recreational trails and Great Lake shorelines, world-class dining and theatre, as well as casino excitement, Niagara was recently named Trip Advisor’s #1 Family Holiday destination in Canada. Visit for trip ideas and special offers to watch Jay’s record breaking Summer of Skywalks.

The “highway in the sky” for Skywalk 2012 will be a part of the skyline for weeks prior to Cochrane’s first performance on June 29, 2012, visible from numerous Niagara attractions and as far away as Buffalo, NY, and St. Catharines, Ontario.

The opening performance of Skywalk 2012 will include two special receptions to meet Jay Cochrane for autographs and photographs at both the Skylon Tower and the Niagara Fallsview Hilton Hotel.

There will be additional opportunities to meet Jay at festivals and events across the Niagara region this summer. Jay will be making appearances with the “Wirewalking Experience,” a mobile wire set a foot off the ground to allow media, special guest and the public to try to walk on the same wire he is walking in the sky. Locations include: Fort Erie Friendship Festival (June 29 to July 2) and Canal Days (August 3-6). Check for details.

Jay Cochrane is the premier skywalker in the world. Cochrane’s popularity was cemented in 1995 by The Great China Skywalk in Qutang Gorge, viewed in-person by an audience of 250,000, in addition to live China TV coverage viewed in the PRC and around the world by an estimated one-billion people. Jay’s skywalk stretched 2,098 feet (639m) over the Yangtze River at a height of 1,340 feet (408m), the highest and longest highwire walk ever completed.

Jay holds World Records for the longest building-to-building skywalk; longest and highest BLINDFOLDED skywalk; longest and highest nighttime building-to-building skywalk; longest and highest combined skywalk; longest time living on a wire; and the farthest cumulative distance traversed on a highwire.

During the length of the performance schedule, Cochrane will pass several milestones for cumulative distance on a single wire, with celebrations to match. Niagara is your adventure vacation destination during the Summer of Skywalks.


Associated Press

Wallendas have rich history, not without tragedy

By CAROLYN THOMPSON, Associated Press

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bob Schutz / AP

In this July 18, 1970 file photo, daredevil Karl Wallenda nears the end of his tightrope walk across Tallulah Gorge, Ga. On Friday, June 15, 2012, Karl’s great grandson, Nick Wallenda, will attempt a high wire walk over Niagara Falls on live television, hoping to write his famous family’s name into the 153-year-old legend of daredevils who’ve “conquered” the natural wonder.

Nik Wallenda (wuh-LEHN’-duh) is ready to add yet another amazing feat to the storied and sometimes tragic Wallenda family history with his walk across Niagara Falls.

ABC will broadcast the walk Friday night by Wallenda, a seventh-generation member of the circus performers.

The Wallendas trace their fearless roots to 1780 Austria-Hungary, when ancestors traveled as a band of acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, animal trainers and trapeze artists.

His great-grandfather, Karl, was the patriarch of the modern day Wallendas and himself walked over the Tallulah Gorge on a tightrope. However he died at age 73 when he fell from a wire in Puerto Rico.

Fourteen family members perform today in various troupes.



FILE- In this July 18, 1970 file photo, daredevil Karl Wa...FILE- In this Jan. 30, 1962 file photo, the Great Wallend...FILE- In this June 4, 2011 file photo, high-wire acrobats...

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Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours – Celebrating 20 Years in Niagara

Whirlpool Jet Boats

Join me in Congratulating Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours
They're celebrating 20 years on the Niagara River...
Offering a wet jet and covered jet dome boats, great
for the families.
Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours
Family fun and excitement are in store for you as you speed upriver in a powerful Jet Boat towards the Niagara Gorge – a stone walled canyon – and into the legendary churning waters of the Niagara Whirlpool. History and geography of the river is explained during this fully guided 45-minute cruise. You will see the sites and all the amazing scenery just a short distance from the turbulent water of mighty Niagara Falls – while staying completely dry! Bring aboard your camera. Departure is from our Niagara-on-the-Lake site in Ontario.


Niagara’s Newest Winery – Hinterbrook Winery

Hinterbrook Winery, a family run winery,  has been open for one year and they are already producing fantastic wine.  When you stop for a wine tasting you’ll be greeted with either the son or daughter who will offer wine tastings and will take you on a brief wine tour.

Owner, Philip Nickel, believes that excellent wine is not only produced with the brain but also the heart. It takes passion to make a wine that is enjoyed by many and we, at Hinterbrook have tremendous passion. We believe that the environment is a gift and as stewards it is our responsibility to make sure our wine-making is sustainable and not detrimental to our environment. When you taste our wine you will know that this wine was made with passion, heart and responsibility.

Maria Rekrut with Hinterbrook Winery Owners Charlotte and Phil Nickel

Mural tells 200 years of Niagara on the Lake History

Mural tells 200 years of NOTL history


Mural tells 200 years of NOTL history. Terry Boulton, chair of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s cafe mural committee, looks at some of the images that will eventually become part of the mural set to be erected in the cafe portion of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre. The mural will be a pictorial timeline of the town from Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre.

Councillors were offered an up-close look at the images that will make up a new mural set to be erected inside the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre’s cafe.

Featuring images spanning the last 200 years, the mural is set to be a pictorial timeline of Niagara-on-the-Lake and its various communities from 1812 to 2012. From the Battle of Queenston Heights to young children dressed in soldier costumes at modern-day Fort George, the Chautauqua Hotel, most of the town’s significant events and landmarks are covered through the images. Culled from museums, private collections and archives, Terry Boulton, chair of the cafe mural committee said he ended up with a large number of images that he was tasked with paring down.

“We wanted to make sure all of the important things were represented,” he said.

The end result is a beautiful mural showing the community as it evolved over 200 years. There are pictures of the wooden-planked Queenston-Lewiston Bridge and the trains that carried passengers along the gorge wall. People in old-fashioned bathing suits enjoying the public beaches in town, docks in winter broken up by ice dams and public skating on man-made ponds are all pictured. There are war-time images — both paintings from the War of 1812 as well as photographs of soldiers from the 2nd World War,  the Ice Wine Festival. Modern day images include the Ice Wine Festival, offshore workers, and Shaw Festival production stills.

On Monday night, prior to the committee of the whole meeting, Boulton laid the photos out chronologically in the Mary Snider Room at the Virgil Arena to allow town councillors the opportunity to sneak a peek at what the mural might look like.

“The town is providing us with the funds, so we wanted to give them a chance to see what it’s going to look like,” he said.

While the mural will be complete by October, the committee is planning to have its official unveiling in November. The mural — which will be six-feet tall and spread 30 feet in length — will be erected inside the cafe area of the Community Centre.

Boulton said they are planning to have a lectern constructed to accompany the mural and act as a ‘legend’ for the images.

Article taken from Niagara Advance