September 16 2012, 200 years to the day after the War of 1812 First Engagement Along Front Toussaint’s (Toussand’s) Island was fought by the 1st Dundas Regiment and 1st Grenville Regiment, Sedentary Militia of Upper Canada, Royal Newfoundland Regiment, a couple of dozen people, some of whom are directly descended from those who fought that day, gathered at the site to for a small commemoration ceremony.
The ‘Battle of Matilda’ site is marked as a historic area within South Dundas and is located just west of Iroquois at the edge of the St. Lawrence River at Galop Lane.
The event was organized by a small but dedicated committee comprised of SD&G Highlanders Honorary Colnel (ret’d) William J. Shearing, Carol Thompson Goddard and Kimberley Baldwin McInnis.
To mark the anniversary of the engagement, also known at The Battle of Matilda, a group of Highlanders marched to the site for the small ceremony, which included information about Toussaint’s Island and an account of the battle which had two casualties.
Following words from the dignitaries on hand, who included Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MP Guy Lauzon, MPP Jim McDonell and South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds and Major Jim Mills of the Highlanders, floral tributes were laid at the shoreline and a moment of silence was held for those Canadians who gave of themselves in 1812 and in the 200 years since.
Members of the 1812 Grenville Militia reenactment group, led by Captain John Zaluska fired three times towards the American side.
Lauzon pointed out that battles like this one were pivotal in the rich history of our country which was built on ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
The loyalists took up arms to fight for their homeland. “They faced great hardships and fought fiercely to keep what they had,” said McDonell.
Major Mills spoke about the present saying, “I am constantly amazed by what I see. Today I see you people here, these busy dignitaries who have taken the time to be here and these re-enactors who have invested their time, effort and money in perpetuating the past. You have all taken time out of your day, 200 years later to commemorate this event. On behalf of the SD&G Highlanders I thank you for that.”
The organizers thanked the participants and attendees for their recognition of this local historical event which is part of the fabric of our National history.
In addition to his participation in this event, Mayor Byvelds urged everyone to take in other events that will take place over the next year. “This is a very important year of commemoration,” said Byvelds.