Niagara-on-the-Lake is always worth a visit and a sightseeing tour. Don't miss Fort George!
In the early 19 th. century Fort George served as a bastion against the attacks of the Americans. As part of the revolution, they did not only declare war against England, they also wanted to annex this part of todays Canada.
Hours of operation:
Open 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, weekends in April and November
Open 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, seven days a week, May 1 to October 31.
Group visitation available year round by reservation.
At first I became aware of the different living standards between simple soldiers and their officers.
The normal soldiers had to cook their own meals and had to sleep in a common dormitory.
The officers had accommodations according to their rank and their food was prepared in a kitchen.
To make life more enjoyable for the soldiers they received every day a ration of free beer and were allowed to grow vegetables in a garden.
Today the kitchen staff was baking. Obviously the friendly kitchen ladies thought I am a disguised officer, because after asking I became a free cookie - it was much better than what you can buy in a store.
I was immediately convinced that as an officer your life was not too bad at this time.
The storage room
Watching the marching soldiers I was surprised that many of them were women.
I was wondering whether they will take orders at home as obedient as they did here. Or did they want to learn how to be in command?
Many visitors, including myself, were always surprised about the colorful uniforms which the combatants were wearing in the past. Why did they not wear fatigues?
I learned that the gunpowder used produced so much smolder and smoke that visibility became very poor after a short time. During hand-to-hand fight the colored uniforms helped to identify the enemies and to avoid killing own people.
That seemed to work. Today many soldiers are killed by friendly fire. During the Irak war many allies were more afraid of American attacks than by the Iraqis.
Even the markings on the roofs of the cars did not protect them from friendly fighter jets. However, this mistakes were done by many nations. Germans bombed even German cities.
Discipline was mandatory
Not a real priest!
When I visited Fort George on a Sunday in August I was surprised to see so many Americans in historical uniforms, exercisings and playing music.
Then I saw the British with their families. It was obviously a friendly going together to please the numerous visitors of the fort.
Most of the participants were students who had fun with this kind of summer job.
They were very friendly and answered patiently all the questions.
All buildings, except that in which the "soldiers" and their "families" were stationed were open to the public.
Naturally, I started my self guided tour and enjoyed it.
The kitchen for the officers
After I had seen the storage room a shooting competition was announced and I had to hurry up. I was interested not to miss that.
In the past a soldier must be able to load his musket within 15 seconds. The difficult part was that he must also demonstrate that it fired.
The competition started with an allowed time of 20 seconds. Some of the participants already failed loading the gun in the given time, others were not able to fire the musket.
The time was reduced step by step and soon the winner was found.
Everywhere soldiers were exercising and learned how to march
Exercising looked very relaxing to me. Nobody was yelling and nobody was bullied.
It was too hot for that!
I became thirsty. Naturally, you cannot get any longer a beer in the fort. These times are gone. So I purchased a bottle of ice cold spring water and after that a delicious ice cream cone.
I wish there would be a restaurant were you can dine in the old style.
Punishment was hard
Visit the jails and see the cells. The only comfort was an open fire place, probably mainly for the guards.
A sign showed how punishment by whipping was performed. This took place very close to the jail so that the inmates could eventually see and hear what was going on.
The gentleman on the lweft was not a catholic priest but a computer specialist which was going on a business trip to Germany in a few weeks.
The bottle did not contain booth, but warm ice tea. At least that was what he told me when I asked him.