Fort

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Fort’s quick cleanup gets praise from Tourism Minister
By Alana Toulin
Saturday, June 28, 2008

After experiencing some flooding earlier this month, things have returned to normal at Fort William Historical Park just in time for the summer tourist season. The site was a hotbed of activity Friday during its free Community Appreciation Day, even drawing Ontario Tourism Minister Peter Fonseca to come check out the action.

Fonseca toured the site with Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro and Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP Michael Gravelle and after greeting children and spending time in the woodworking shop, he said he was “delighted” the site was able to clean up and reopen so quickly.
“It‘s great,” he said of the popular tourist attraction. “Fort William Historical Park is so well-branded and marketed here in Thunder Bay and across Northwestern Ontario and stateside. Sergio Buonocore and his team here have really put together a marvelous experience.”
While Fonseca acknowledged some of the challenges facing Ontario‘s tourism sector –including high gas prices and the slumping U.S. economy – he said the province is doing fairly well in attracting visitors overall.

“When we look at the numbers, we‘ve actually experienced growth in our tourism compared to other jurisdictions like B.C. and Quebec, which have (declined),” he said. “This is partly because of great attractions like Fort William Historical Park and all the things we have to do and see here in Ontario; as well as some specific marketing campaigns you may have seen on TV or in print.”
Fonseca added that he encourages people to visit www.ontariotravel.net to check out all the vacation experiences Ontario has to offer.

Copyright © Tuesday, July 29, 2008 All material contained herein is copyrighted by
The Chronicle Journal, a division of Continental Newspapers Canada Ltd.
All Rights Reserved.

 

Brigade Arrives in Thunder Bay

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Brigade arrives in Thunder Bay
By Alana Toulin
Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sixty-three days and over 3,300 kilometres is a long time to spend in a canoe, but for the paddlers who have spent the last few months retracing explorer and fur trader David Thompson‘s two-hundred-year-old path, it was well worth it.
“It was a once in a lifetime trip,” said Andrew Dorion Saturday at Fort William Historical Park, where around 160 paddlers from the David Thompson Brigade wrapped up their epic journey. He and his six-member Team Black Bart come from the Cumberland House Cree Nation in Saskatchewan and completed the whole journey from Rocky Mountain House, Alta., to Thunder Bay.

“It‘s unexplainable right now because of all the excitement. . . . Everyone‘s so happy and it‘s great to be here after so many days.”
Their team braved unpredictable weather including snow and hail and put in long hours (10 and sometimes even 12 hours a day) to complete the route, sometimes travelling more than 100 kilometres a day. They trained hard and made sure to pack light and had a clear goal in mind.
“Two guys in the boat represent aboriginals all across Canada. Us younger guys represent the youth all across Canada and the older guys represent residential school survivors,” said Dorion. “That‘s why we‘re doing this.”

For Lavern Thompson, being part of the David Thompson Brigade had special significance. He‘s a seventh-generation ancestor of the explorer and said it‘s been a way to explore history and learn more about a relative he is very proud to have in his family tree.
“I‘ve had my heritage handed to me on a silver platter,” said the Toronto native, adding that the people he met along the way showed and taught him much about his famous ancestor.
Jokingly comparing the experience to “summer camp on steroids,” Thompson said the experience was a phenomenal one that made him proud to be Canadian.

“The brigade is a touchstone to history and the past. We don‘t tend to celebrate our heroes in Canada. David Thompson was surely a hero – he‘s surely a hero of mine,” he said.
Soaking up adulation from the crowds that gathered to greet the brigade and take part in the Fort‘s Great Rendezvous event was David Bates – dressed in period costume and standing in as the man himself.

“I had the incredible luck to be chosen to be David Thompson,” he said, adding that Thompson was most famed for his fur trade career with the North West Company and the Hudson‘s Bay Company and his mapmaking skills.
“He is the embodiment of all that is good about the fur trade. The fur trade was on occasion a nasty business, but Thompson embodied all the virtues.”

 

Victory is Ours

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Victory is ours
By PETER BURKOWSKI
Monday, July 28, 2008

Cannonfire and musket shots echoed through Fort William Historical Park this weekend during the “Battle of Fort William”.
Park staff and historical re-enactors from Canada and the U.S. came together Saturday and Sunday to stage a fictional conflict between the fort‘s inhabitants and invading French and American troops.

The two armies faced off in an open field on the edge of the park.
When the smoke cleared, the local forces had prevailed, and park officials say the event was as much a victory as the battle was.
“The re-enactors that have come from out of town have been quite enthusiastic,” park communications officer Marty Mascarin said Sunday, “and they really enjoy our historic site.”

Between 40 and 50 history enthusiasts from Thunder Bay, Manitoba, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois participated in the battle.
Among them was history teacher Michael Mathews, who came with 15 others from Minnesota for the event.
“We‘ve been to Canada many times for events, and it‘s always been a very positive experience,” said Mathews.

He said he was pleased by the park visitors‘ historical curiosity.
“One thing we like about coming to Canada is the people here ask such intelligent questions,” said Mathews. “We don‘t get asked ’is that uniform hot?‘ . . . we get questions about ’where was your regiment in 1814.‘”

The Battle of Fort William is a recently-developed biennial event at the park.
It was created to give park visitors a better understanding of battle tactics used in early 19th century conflicts like the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars.
“Something like this makes (history) more tangible, and it stands out in (the spectators‘) minds better than reading about it,” said Mascarin.

Copyright © Tuesday, July 29, 2008 All material contained herein is copyrighted by
The Chronicle Journal, a division of Continental Newspapers Canada Ltd.
All Rights Reserved.

 

In the News

Newspaper article clipping showing headline about FWHPFort William Historical Park is a major North American tourist attraction whose unique festivals, activities, and impressive heritage setting regularly make headlines.

Here's a look at some of the great upcoming activivities at Fort William Historical Park this December.

Fort William Historical Park 'Tis the season to embrace the past, present and future ---- in one locale

The year may be winding down, but Fort William Historical Park (FWHP) is just getting started, offering a variety of programs throughout the holiday season.

Rogue Productions returns with their theatrical rendition of Charles Dickens' enduring classic, A Christmas Carol, happening December 4-6 and 10-13, 2015 at the Great Hall. Tickets are $20.00 for adults and $15.00 for students & seniors.
marley scroogeActors perform A Christmas Carol at Fort William Historical Park

Walking tours are also available at the Fort throughout the winter at 11 am and 2 pm daily. Tours last roughly 90 minutes, beginning at the Fort's Visitor's Centre. Visitors should dress accordingly.

Children and adults can also journey through the cosmos, Thursday to Saturday at 7 pm, during the Star Walk at the David Thompson Astronomical Observatory. The Fort's top astronomers will take visitors on a journey from the subatomic universe to the very edge of the observable universe, using telescopes to see galaxies, planets, nebulas and more.

Back on earth, Fort William sprawls more than 225 acres and welcomes more annual visitors from around the world than the entire population of its host city, Thunder Bay (120,000). Fort William's general manager, Sergio Buonocore, said it's the park's diverse programming that has people returning to North America's largest living history attraction.

"We have a visitor first philosophy," said Buonocore. "We're always doing something to keep things fresh and interesting for our guests." The peaceful trading post transforms into a giant spook-house in October -- the busiest month of the year -- for the always sold-out Haunted Fort Night. Preparations are already underway for the popular winter carnival in February, featuring a glistening snow maze --an attraction that earned Fort William a place in the Guinness World Records for the world's largest snow maze in 2015.

"It's a fantastic place to work," said Buonocore. "It's the crown jewel of the tourism industry in Northern Ontario."

For more information on Fort William Historical Park, please visit the website at http://www.fwhp.ca/ or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 807-473-2344.


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