Dressing up history

Colin MacLean
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Federal money to help celebrate local commemorations War of 1812

Federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue announces a $100,000 grant to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Advisory Council Monday on Signal Hill in St. John’s. The money will be used to celebrate the role of the regiment in the War of 1812, a pivotal conflict in the development of Canada as an independent nation. — Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

The federal government is kicking in some cash to help this province celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

Notoriously ignored by popular history, the war was fought between the United States, the British Empire in North America and their respective Native American allies.

There is also a local connection to the war. Men from the precursor of the current Royal Newfoundland Regiment (the Royal Newfoundland Regiment of Fencible Infantry) participated in 15 engagements on land and sea throughout the three-year conflict.

The federal government ann-ounced Monday it has earmarked $100,000 for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Advisory Council through Canadian Heritage’s War of 1812 Commemoration Fund.

Peter Penashue, federal minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador, made the announcement on behalf of the government on Signal Hill in St. John’s.

 “The 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 is an opportunity for all Canadians to take pride in our history and our traditions. It is also a time to remember that the end of the war signalled the beginning of 200 years of peaceful co-existence of both sides of the longest undefended border in the world,” said Penashue.

Most of the money will be used to purchase replica costumes of the unit’s uniforms and kits from that time period.

Participants in the annual Signal Hill Tattoo will wear the ornate clothes after they’re delivered later this summer.

Some of the funds will also be used to develop and distribute a tourism booklet on the history of the regiment. And some money will go towards sponsoring the Department of Education’s annual Heritage Fair Program.

This money, in addition to some generous contributions by Elinor Gill Ratcliffe, will go a long way towards promoting local military culture and heritage, said Ron Penney, advisory council chairman.

“The early history of the regiment and its role in the War of 1812 is not as well-known in the history of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment as its history in the First World War. But our objective is to bring that issue to light over the next two years,” he said.

Events to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the war are well underway in both Canada and the U.S. For more information on these events log on to http://1812.gc.ca.

cmaclean@thetelegram.com

Organizations: British Empire, Royal Newfoundland Regiment Advisory Council, Canadian Heritage Commemoration Fund Department of Education

Geographic location: United States, North America, Newfoundland and Labrador Signal Hill Canada

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