Monday, March 15, 2010

Desjardins Railway Disaster

If you have walked along the Hamilton West Harbour cycling path you may have noticed a plaque commemorating the Desjardins Railway Disaster of 1857. The historic marker is on the path just underneath the High Level Bridge. I have always been extremely interested in this important if gruesome event in Hamilton's history, and now, thanks to a digitized project undertaken by the Hamilton Public Library, I can satisfy my curiosity. The library has done a beautiful job of digitizing the original booklet that reads like a forensic study of the disaster. You can flip through an online copy of the "Full Details of the Railway Disaster of the 12th of March, 1857 at the Desjardins Canal on the line of the Great Western Railway". Here you will read about how the train fell through the swing-bridge into the icy canal below killing 57 passengers in an instant. You will read about the community's response to the event and learn something about the victims - among them a Church minister, plough maker, bookseller, gas inspector, quartermaster, flour merchant and stock breeder, as well as several infants. Click here to read this wonderfully copied orginial document.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Government promises funding to help celebrate 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812

On March 4th the Federal budget promised an influx of $75 million to upgrade historic sites connected with the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. This is good news for our area as the Battle of Stoney Creek, a pivotal conflict during the War took place June 6, 1813. The Ontario Ministry of Tourism has said the bicentennial will be a major event for Ontario, with close to 13 million Americans and Canadians saying they will attend an event. Both Hamilton and Burlington have committees currently planning events. More about these as I get the details. To learn more about the War of 1812 and the upcoming Bicentennial click here.