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05/23/2011

Forgotten Fort

Rick Madonik, Staff Photographer

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Fort York staffer, Ewan Wardle, fires off a Light Infantry Pattern musket during a demonstartion at historic Fort York.

As a native Torontonian (OK, technically, North Yorker) I find there are few places in the city I haven't been before. That's not to say I've been everywhere, but having grown up here and having worked here for the vast majority of my career, its not a stretch to say I've seen most corners of the city. This past week, I ended up twice at Fort York, a historic Canadian settlement which houses Toronto's oldest building and was the scene of battle in the War of 1812.

Ironically, this week's visits equal the number of times I've visited Fort York in my entire life. I do remember going as a kid (as most Grade VIII students from Toronto School Board do visit) and I vaguely remember shooting an assignment there about 10 years ago. Other than that, in spite of it's location and picture possibilities, I haven't found myself there. Until this past week.

With an open page for pictures from Victoria Day events for the Tuesday paper, the photo department has been visiting a number of places over the weekend for a "wrap up" presentation. Fort York, because it is a holiday, has some special features on - the one I was interested in was musket firing.

Honestly, I thought there would be at least a small group of muskets, but in fact there was only one - handled by Fort York staffer Ewan Wardle. Once an hour, on the half hour, Wardle attracted those visiting the Fort with a single volley. As people congregated he explained his costume (7th Battalion, 60th Regiment) and the 12-15 second process to arm, load and fire the musket.

Although I only needed one picture to fit into the theme for the page, there were a bunch of pictures which I liked but were destined to not find a home in the paper. So, they find their home right here!

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Ewan Wardle, speaks to the assembled crowd as he explains the firing of his Light Infantry Pattern musket.

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Ewan Wardle, shows the crowd how to prepare his Light Infantry Pattern musket for firing during a demonstartion at historic Fort York.

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Fort York staffer, Ewan Wardle, following a demonstration of firing his Light Infantry Pattern musket leads a group of kids in a "charge" of enemy positions.

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Four-year-old Felipe Ramirez, 4, of Toronto, hams it up while learning how to "charge" during a demonstartion at historic Fort York.

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A group of kids learn how to  "charge" enemy positions at historic Fort York.

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Staff from Fort York, dressed in period costume, enter historic Fort York. Fort York had a number of events on today, including a dance recital and musket firing, for the holiday. Today is Victoria Day.

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A woman, dressed in period costume, walks between buildings at historic Fort York.

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Enjoyed the photostory, especially nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8, the last one being v. Jane Austen, if bangs were a hairstyle then.

Great photography and great timing.

I like the pile of smoke from the gun. I wonder if our eyes is safe if we try to fire a gun like this. I can see a lot of sparks. Might get into our eyes.

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