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Friday, May 3, 2013

Exciting War of 1812 legacy projects full speed ahead at Discovery Harbour

(News Release)

Discovery Harbour in Ontario plans an exceptional season in its continuing Celebration of Peace as part of the War of 1812 Anniversary, with landmark legacy projects well underway.

A key focal point is the construction of the fascinating new H.M.S.Tecumseth Centre, which is scheduled to open to the public in August.

This impressive new facility, connected to the existing North Visitor Centre, will house and protect the carefully stabilized original 1815 hull remains of H.M.S. Tecumseth, plus a new permanent exhibit on the history of the Penetanguishene Naval Establishment and its link to the War of 1812.

The new exhibits will display numerous  “never before seen” artifacts from the site’s 19th century history including the original 1815 clear-glass deck lights from H.M.S. Tecumseth plus a wide array of intriguing items including a powder flask, period coins, a brass platter stamped with the King’s mark, compasses, a carronade, a ship’s anchor, and even a rum bottle and flask.

Key historical personalities from the site’s history will also be explored through displays and a digital touchscreen, including Naval Hydrographer Henry Bayfield, Captain Samuel Roberts, and Chief Tecumseh.  The site’s historical chronology will be vividly shared in a timeline exhibit, including the raising of the original Tecumseth hull in 1953.  “When opened in August, the new H.M.S. Tecumseth Centre will be unique in Canada and truly serve as a dynamic visitor area to permanently showcase the site’s 19th century story and its ties with the history of Penetanguishene, the region, and other heritage sites throughout Ontario”, noted Jan Gray, General Manager of Huronia Historical Parks.     

Many activities will also be offered on the historic site for the season.  Themed War of 1812 Tours will be given by costumed staff beginning May 21, as well as two new War of 1812 Education Programs for visiting school groups.  In addition to deck tours aboard the schooner Bee, the public will be able to enjoy visiting the magnificent replica ship H.M.S. Tecumseth (124’) at dockside, which has now been completely furnished below-decks based on the original ship’s 1815 log.  Great new areas to see include the Captain’s room, cargo hold, bread room, and Pilot’s room.  Available free with site admission in May and June, Audio Tour Wands will provide a personalized tour of the picturesque historic site in English, French, German, and Spanish. 

Visitors can also look forward to the spectacular Tall Ships ® 1812 Tour event the weekend of August 24-25.  As part of this event, Discovery Harbour will be welcoming the American Tall Ships Lynx and Friends Good Will to the King’s Wharf, where they and their uniformed crews can be visited at dockside by the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. 

Also during the event weekend at Discovery Harbour Canadian folk artists TAMARACK will perform, featuring songs with War of 1812 themes. Local artists ARIKA will share English and French tunes, and popular musicians Jill et les Bucherons, Vince Therrien, and The Salty Sailor Singers will delight crowds each day. Fun family activities on the historic site will include a “make a model ship” craft, making sailors’ lanyards, quill pen writing, and a chance to participate in historic drill.

Discovery Harbour will be open Tuesday to Saturday beginning May 21 to Saturday June 29, and seven days a week June 30 to September 1. NEW this year, the historic site will also be open Thursday to Sunday from September 5 to 8 and from September 12 to 15. For further information visit hhp.on.ca, or call 705 526-7838.

Discovery Harbour is operated by Huronia Historical Parks,
and is an Attraction of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

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