Wasaga Under Siege
by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams
Going to the Beach
I hadn’t visited Wasaga Beach in many years. I had been there a lot in my youth but not in recent years. When I heard about “Wasaga Under Siege” re-enactment, I knew it was one event I wanted to attend. So on an overcast Saturday morning we set off for a 4 hour drive to the shores of Lake Huron and Wasaga Beach. Our drive to the Beach was uneventful and we arrived just as the battle was about to begin.
Wasaga Under Siege
The battle was taking place along the river banks of Beach Area 1. Gun boats were being paddled up the river and shots were fired! Gun smoke from both the land and river filled the air! The River battle was in full force. After a while the river battle ceased and the “Americans” landed. The “Land” battle was “on”! Both sides tried to out “manoeuvre” and "out gun” one another, but eventually the “American forces” (this time) prevailed! With the battle over, all combatants joined together, saluted one another and then marched to the re-enactment village located on Nancy Island Historic Site. Judi and I followed.
Nancy Island Historic Site and the Re-enactment Village
In following the re-enactors, we passed through the downtown area of Wasaga Beach. The stores along the beach front where full of happy shoppers. After walking through the village, we reached the Nancy Island Historic Site. We passed through the “Welcome Centre” and crossed over the bridge into the island. It was like entering another world! Tents had been set up everywhere and people in period clothing stood talking to one another in groups. We had been invited to the re-enactment by its main organizer David Brunelle. We found him at the main information tent. As we hadn’t met in person, we introduced ourselves. Dave was dressed in an impressive commanders uniform. We talked about Wasaga Under Siege re-enactment and David’s new assignment as Project Director for the Southern Georgiana Bay War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee. After we had left Dave, we started to explore the re-enactment village to discover all its surprises. As we walked the grounds the rain started to come down. At first it was a light sprinkle, then a heavy down pour. When this happened, we sought cover in the entertainment tent. We listen to the entertainers, but as the afternoon wore on, we decided to make a dash for the car. We were “drenched” by the time we climbed into the car. The rain hadn’t let up! We “splashed” our way through the streets of Wasaga. Halfway home the rain let up and the sun began to shine. Wasaga Under Siege had been great fun and very educational.