Monday, July 28, 2008

Fort William

When Carol planned for the WINs to go to Fort William Historical Park, I have to admit that I groaned. I am not a big fan of forts. But even I had a terrific day exploring this fascinating place just outside of Thunder Bay, ON. The park is a recreation of the fort as it existed in 1815, when it was a bustling community engaged in fur trading. For a time, Fort William was the center of the Canadian fur trading economy, owned by the North West Company. (Warning - this post contains way too many pictures, but I'll keep the commentary short.)

This is only a very small section of the fort which consists of 42 beautifully recreated buildings.

There were people dressed in period costume who explained how life was in those times. You can see where this beautiful child got her looks!

Appropriately, there were furs everywhere. I hope PETA doesn't find out about this place.

Here the local doctor demonstrated the amputation process on a very brave volunteer.

Ron really liked this demonstration of how the natives cooked one of their staples, similar to the fry bread of the Southwest. They gave out samples.

Ron even helped churn butter - a long and tedious process.

Ron and Billy liked this old fire engine.

Phil and Ron clowning around with the cannon.

Oh, no, that's me trying to throw an axe! Whose idea was this?

Good grief - I throw like a girl! (You can see the axe in the dirt below the target.)

According to the brochure, one of the activities was a ride in a birch bark canoe. I thought it would be great to get all the WINs paddling down the stream in one, but it was not being offered that day. I was disappointed, but instead we had a reenactment. Now I have to ask my cousin this question - can it really be called a reenactment if the battle never happened? As I understand it, they were demonstrating what might have happened if the Americans had attacked the fort.

These are the French soldiers. Is it a coincidence that the commander looked like Napoleon?

Here are some of the WINs waiting for the wharf battle to begin. We found that wars don't run on schedule.

Ah! Here come the Americans. But what is that one guy doing out of the boat? Oh, they're stuck on a sandbar.

But being the resourceful Americans, they just walk to the island for the planned attack.

The British in their glorious red coats fight them off. . .

With the help of this really big gun which made a tremendous bang. The sound reverberated off the cliffs on the opposite side of the river.

Later there was a land battle when they brought in the cannon. Hey, this is the same one Phil and Ron had been messing with.

When the cannon went off everybody jumped. Notice that the reenactors are covering their ears. I thought the little kid who lit it should have had safety goggles.


  1. Glad you went and had a good time. Looks like lots of fun. Of course, anywhere you go, fun goes too!! :-)

  2. Wow, you got some great shots. I agree, I groaned too when I heard where we were going, but I had a great time.

  3. Great photos..I feel like I was along for the day. Leon is home with his new knee and doing well!

  4. Great photos. I agree with you about the viewing of forts. Have seen too many. This one, however looks as if it is well done and kept in good repair. Reenactments usually represent former battles but, hey, if there was no battle, you have to do the best you can. Looked like fun.

  5. You must be back in the US. So fun to hear about your travels.