About the Commemoration

Survivors of the War of 1812, taken on the lawn of the late Sheriff Jarvis in Rosedale (provided by Library and Archives Canada).
Survivors of the War of 1812, taken on the lawn of the late Sheriff Jarvis in Rosedale (provided by Library and Archives Canada).

In 2012, Canada began the three-year commemoration of the War of 1812

June 2012 marked the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812, an important milestone in the lead-up to the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation in 2017.

This commemoration is just one of the many events that are bringing Canadians together and will continue to link us in the years to come.

The Government of Canada recognizes the War of 1812 as a defining moment in the history of our nation and is commemorating this event of national and international significance. The 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 is an unprecedented opportunity for all Canadians to take pride in our traditions, and our shared history.

On June 18, 1812, the United States of America declared war on Great Britain and its British North American colonies in what is today Central and Eastern Canada. British regular troops assisted by English- and French-speaking Canadian militiamen and First Nations allies repelled American invasions over the course of more than two years.

On December 24, 1814, peace negotiations led to the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, which reset the boundaries to those held by both sides before the conflict. These boundaries would be confirmed by a joint British-U.S. commission in the years following the War.

The War of 1812 was a defining chapter in Canada's history as a nation

Canada would not exist had the American invasion of 1812-15 been successful. For that reason, the War of 1812 was a defining chapter in our history.

The end of the War laid the foundation for Confederation, and Canada's ultimate emergence as an independent nation in North America. It also ushered in what has become two centuries of peaceful relations, mutual respect, close cooperation and the strongest of friendship between Canada and the United States.

A key event in shaping our identity as Canadians

Had the War ended differently, Quebec's French-speaking identity would not exist, and the history of Canada's Aboriginal peoples would have been profoundly altered.

The War, which saw militias in Upper and Lower Canada as well as from the Atlantic region fighting together in a common cause, was instrumental in creating Canada's military; some of our current reserve regiments in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada trace their origins back to this time.

It took the combined efforts of the British army and navy, English- and French-speaking militia volunteers, and First Nations allies to succeed in defeating the American invasion.

These heroic efforts tell the story of the origins of the Canada we know today: an independent and free country united under the Crown with a strong respect for diversity.. The signing of the Treaty of Ghent and other treaties that followed confirmed the border between Canada and the United States, which is now the world's longest undefended border, providing an example of nations coexisting peacefully side by side.

Federal Organizations to Commemorate the War of 1812

Many federal organizations are involved in the commemoration of this major historical event. Other partners include provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal communities, and such international partners as Great Britain and the United States.

Together, the Government of Canada is striving to increase Canadians' knowledge of the War of 1812, an event that was key to ensuring our country's existence and shaping our identity as Canadians.