When it comes past projects related to history which I have written, the foundations of the events which I planned to explore are relatively modern happening some three to two hundred years in the past. A small drop in the bucket of the history of our planet. But when it comes to the Welland Canal, the foundations of that canal take place in the dark distances of prehistory. The need for a canal across the Niagara Peninsula is related to a massive limestone cliff that cuts across the modern province of Ontario known today as the Niagara Escarpment. Today the cliff runs from the NiagaraRead More →

Many have heard the analogy of an elephant and a beaver to describe the relationship between Canada and the United States. Even though we are two separate countries and cultures, whatever happens in the United States is like when the elephant rolls over, it does and will affect Canada. The American Civil War is the perfect example of what happens when the elephant rolls over. While the conflict was primarily an American war, it had ripple effects across the globe. The war is not the primary focus of this project, however, as I mentioned in the previous post, is one of the external reasons toRead More →

George Armistead, one of the great defenders of the United States of America, stalwart commander of Fort McHenry, an action that would lead him to an early grave. George was born in New Market, Virginia on 10 April 1780. He along with his five brothers would all serve their country in the armed service. But for George, his service began at the age of 19 as an Ensign in the 7th US Infantry. He proved himself an excellent officer and promoted to First Lieutenant by the turn of the century. However, with the end of the Quasi-War with France, the army was reduced in size,Read More →

If you have ever used the Olympus Trip 35 then, you’ll be right at home with the Minoltina-P. The camera is a fixed lens, semi-automatic point and shoot from the 1960s and honestly before I saw it on the shelf at Burlington Camera I had never even known this camera existed. But don’t let that scare you, Minolta produced a lot of underdog cameras through the 1960s that often were as good as their competitors. The Hi-Matic went up against the Olympus 35 and Cannonet Series, and the Minoltina, well it’s an Olympus Trip 35. The Dirt Make: Minolta Model: Minoltina-P Type: Point and ShootRead More →

If there is a single camera out there that most people will associate with professional film photographers, it is the Hasselblad V-System. Designed and built in Sweeden, the Hasselblad is the luxury camera of the medium format market. While the 500c is the original model to use a leaf shutter, it is a good entry point into the Hasselblad system if you can find one at the right price. Thankfully I was able to find a complete setup (lens, finder, back) for a reasonable price, but soon found that there is a certain cost to owning a Hasselblad system. And the fact you can’t justRead More →

Well it’s not really a castle in any sense of the word, but this 1726 building in Old Fort Niagara has earned the moniker “The French Castle.” Constructed as part of the second fortifications at the mouth of the Niagara, the French first came to the region in 1678. However due to illness and lack of supplies the site was abandoned. The current fortifications on site date to 1726 as has remained occupied since. The British took the fort in a siege in 1759 during the French-Indian War (Seven Years War), it continued to remain a British stronghold through the American Revolution, but was turnedRead More →

As part of the preparation for putting the entire project into book form, I’ve been going around and re-shooting many of the fortifications that were involved in the War of 1812 using large format film (4 inch by 5 inch), simply for practice and the quality it gives. Here are the first group of forts. Completed at the start of the war to protect the dockyard at Prescott a critical point in the movement of supplies between Upper Canada, Lower Canada and Halifax, Fort Wellington was never outright attacked during the war, rather troops from the garrison would only participate in the battles of OgdensburgRead More →

The British Capture of Fort Niagara is one of many controversial engagements of the Anglo-American War of 1812 and certainly marked a shift in the tactics of both the British and Americans in the final year of the war. General Gordon Drummond’s orders came on the heels of the destruction of the town of Niagara, today Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, by the Americans and a group of traitorous Canadians. While the exact details of the destruction were blown out of proportion to justify the brutality of the capture better, it none the less is a dark stain on the British record of the war. Fort Niagara asRead More →

With a commanding view of both Lake Ontario and the Niagara River, the old colonial fort has a long and complicated history connecting it to three different nations that formed the basis of the modern countries that exist today. Not to mention it serves as the oldest collection of stone buildings west of Montreal and the oldest fortification I have had the honour of visiting and documenting. I’m of course talking about Fort Niagara. The French Castle is the oldest and central structure of Fort Niagara and dates back to 1729. Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznack Angulon 1:6,8/90 – Kodak Tri-X Pan @ ASA-320 KodakRead More →

The term Burlington Heights is a misnomer, as the Heights are technically located in Hamilton. But during the Anglo-American War of 1812, Burlington Heights became home to an often forgotten fort. Burlington Heights started life as a simple farm owned by Richard Besley. When the Americans invaded and captured the Niagara Region in May 1813 and forced the full retreat of the British Army of the Center, they would establish an armed camp at Burlington Heights, today located at the border of Hamilton, Ontario and Burlington, Ontario. It would start as a simple structure with field fortifications to provide a rallying point for the BritishRead More →