Fort Malden: An Important place in Canada and Amherstburg’s History

Fort Malden Reenactment

Canada Day is quickly approaching, and many are getting ready for outdoor cookouts, firework displays, and a day of excitement and relaxation. But with all the anticipation surrounding the holiday, there is also lots of rich history about our country, and even more so with the town of Amherstburg. If you haven’t heard already, the annual Canada Day festival will take place at Fort Malden National Historic Site on Monday July 1st. But, how did Fort Malden come to be? There is an interesting history this historic site, which has added not only to the history of our town, but to the history of our nation as well.

Art By The River

Where do we begin? The war of 1812. What many might not know is that Fort Malden was originally known as Fort Amherstburg. Fort Amherstburg had many different uses. Some include being a port of trade for the Great Lakes areas, as well as the hub for the Indian Department. This department helped to establish native military efforts that would join forces in the war, as well as establish a relationship between British colonizers and Indians. Fort Amherstburg also included the King’s Navy Yard, which housed historic ships such as the Queen Charlotte. The fort played a crucial role in the war, as it was site of the first major victory. The spark of this win was the raid of the Cuyahoga, an American ship. Under the command of Thomas St. George, the raid provided key information on what General William Hull had planned. This included notes on his attack plans. This led to Hull halting his attack lines, providing a win for the Brits.

Like most wars, there were wins, but there were also loses. This would come in the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813. Gunfire and buildings ablaze were a common site at Fort Amherstburg. American militia overtook the area, causing a great loss for the British. But from those ashes, the area would rebuild. This would lead to the renaming of the Fort to Fort Malden in 1815 by the Americans, as Malden was the original name of the township in the 1800s.

Fort Maiden Reenactment

Today, Fort Malden is used as a historic site, adding to the rich culture and history that Amherstburg houses. The historic site came to fruition in the 1930s and had even more demand in the post World War II era. Today, you can visit Fort Malden not only to learn more about the history, but even witness one of the many historical re-enactments that occur both at the Fort and at King’s Navy Yard park. On this Canada Day, let’s soak in the rich military history that Fort Malden and Amherstburg have to offer in helping our country come to what it is today.