Actually, Americans need to see them too.
And the British.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Celebrations are going on everywhere you turn. Living here in Southwestern Ontario, particularly the town of Amherstburg, so much is happening. There are signs up, the town has been tuning up everything in anticipation of loads of people arriving to celebrate.
At the King’s Navy Yard, the artillery is all polished
We have a new monument…
And, across Dalhousie Street, a couple of these will buy you an ice cream cone.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s an app to commemorate the War of 1812. Actually, there were three that I found each with great content and just right to understand a bit of literacy.
The first app was actually pretty difficult to find. A link in the local newspaper gave a URL which I had to fix up and it took me to this page.
Cool. A QR Code to take me to the app! The only problem was that I was on my laptop when I found it! I looked around the page for a regular link and I couldn’t find one. Oh no. Does that mean Stephen Downes was right? This actually was quite frustrating. Mental note – never use QR Codes as the only standalone link.
No problem. I should be able to find Route 1812 in the App Store. Off I went and nada. Could the app have been pulled? I decided to give it one last chance and went and found my phone. I must admit that you do feel a little silly taking a picture of your computer screen but Google Goggles quickly gave me the URL and I was transported to the website. It turns out the this particular app is a web app. But…
OK, so here we are. The link is actually here. Parts of it are unusable on a computer as it requires the GPS of a mobile device to work.
Created by a group of history students from the University of Western Ontario, the application lays out the landmarks from Southwestern Ontario. All are overlaid nicely on an map that lets you plan a driving trip to visit as many as you’d like. I was surprised at how many I’d already visited. But, there are more and should help with a few nice day trips this summer. The app uses the GPS connection in your mobile device to help with driving distances to the various sites.
From my perspective, it was a fascinating look at the various sites. Who did lay claim to Fort Detroit or Fort Amherstburg or York?
If I was looking for a resource for the War, why wouldn’t I use this app solely?
Well, maybe because the War of 1812 had more to it than just Southwest Ontario!
The Department of Canadian Heritage steps to the plate with this application. Yes, there was considerable conflict along the Detroit and Niagara Rivers. If you’ve ever driven the 401 east of Toronto, you’ll see the period forts in Kingston and Prescott (Forts Henry and Wellington) to name a couple. These were also significant points of history from the War of 1812.
This application expands the borders to show imagery from historical sites from Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec.
This application is a good quality historical resource.
More than just the historical sites, references to the heroes of the war and their significance (like Laura Secord and Tecumseh), multimedia connections to Flickr, a calendar of celebrations, and a couple of quizzes make this application complete.
So, what more could you want than this?
The War of 1812 has a rather unique angle. It’s possible to get the perspective from both sides. Lest we rely solely on Canadian sources, …
War of 1812HD
Based on a PBS documentary, WNED in Buffalo has released its own application. There was another side of the story other than the one on the north side of the Great Lakes!
Navigation in this application is based upon theatres. Select Northwest, Ontario, St. Lawrence, Northeast, Chesapeake, or Southern theatres to see points of interest overlaid on a map.
Get a sense of the area you’re researching or visiting and tap on one of the folder to reveal the contents.
It’s a real wealth of information. If you’re creating a little more ambitious tour to study the war, you can add any of the points of interest to your itinerary.
Three great applications to help understand the events being celebrated this summer — and they’re all free. Download them and check them out! You might just find some historical references in your community and you might also get the urge for a road trip this summer.