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Colby-Curtis Re-opens; War of 1812 Talk Coming Up

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larger_shs.desmond.jpg--April 12, 2012.

Closed since the beginning of December of last year due to a budget shortfall, the Colby-Curtis Museum in Stanstead reopened for the season this week. Spring opening hours, according to museum receptionist Jeanne-d’Arc Clowery, are from 1 to 5 p.m., the hours increasing when the summer season arrives.

The Stanstead Historical Society, which runs the museum, will also soon be beginning its series of lecture luncheons with a talk by distinguished McGill University history professor Desmond Morton. The luncheon will take place on Saturday, April 14, at 10:30 a.m., and will be held at Christ Church Hall, at 548 Dufferin in Stanstead. The focus of Professor Morton’s presentation will be, “How Lower Canada Saved Canada in the War of 1812.”

According to Morton, “because British governors like Murray and Carleton defied their transatlantic bosses and sustained the Catholic Church and the seigneurial class, Lower Canada had an efficient, well-trained militia in 1812, and the war with the United States began with victories at Michilimackinac, Detroit and even on Lake Erie. Thanks to de Salaberry's victory at Châteauguay, the most serious American threat to Canada collapsed late in 1813 and Canada was never again in real danger. Does the fact that Ontario was the chief beneficiary of Lower Canada's valour explain why almost no one in Canada knows who really won the War of 1812?”

The year 2012, of course, marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, and many events are taking place across Canada this year to mark the occasion. (And since this famously misnamed war actually lasted until 1815, there will be a whole three more years to mark its anniversary.)

The Hiram Mills Emeritus Professor of History at McGill University, Desmond Morton came to Montreal in 1994 to found McGill’s Institute for Canadian Studies. Previously, he was a professor of history at the University of Toronto. Born in Calgary, Morton is a graduate of the Collège militaire royal de St-Jean, the Royal Military College, Oxford University, and the University of London. A prolific author, he has written many books and articles on Canadian political, military and industrial history. Professor Morton is a summer resident of Georgeville.

For more information on the Stanstead Historical Society’s opening hours or its upcoming lecture series, call (819) 876-7322.