A warm Sunday afternoon in Niagara-on-the-Lake, led us to Fort George. On the west bank of the Niagara river just south of the town, Fort George was completed in 1802 and remained an operational military base until 1965.
Inside the main blockhouse there are interpretive displays in the first half of the building, whilst the second half is laid out as typical barracks area for the foot soldiers around 1812.
Some soldiers were accompanied by their families, and there is an area setup up to show how a family would live in the barracks.
The officers had their own accommodation, with a detached kitchen. There was a long table in the middle of the block. Officers were expected to pay their own way. Non-payment of mess bills could lead to the officer being locked up and dishonourably discharged.
The main arms that soldiers used around 1812 where muskets and cannons. These required black powder for be used. This is a highly dangerous material and it was stored in a dedicated building with thick walls. This is the only extant building from the 1802 construction. To prevent the risk of sparks, iron was not permitted in the interior with wood and copper featuring. To ensure that the powder did not settle and go solid, the barrels had to be regularly turned. Those soldiers that worked in there had to were clothing that would not create sparks.
Most days, every hour, there is a musket demonstration and we were fortunate to witness two during our visit.
Visiting Fort George is a must whilst in the Niagara area. There are informative guided tours every hour which will give you a history of Fort George. Be aware that refreshments are very limited, so make sure you take a bottle of water with you on warm days.