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​MEDIA RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE​

Volunteers, Students, Mayor of Springwater, Rotary Club and NVCA get ready for Festival at Fort Willow

SPRINGWATER, ON (September 12, 2019) – Today, volunteers with the Friends of Fort Willow (FOFW), members of the Rotary Club of Barrie, the Mayor of Springwater Township and staff at the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) came together to help prepare for the upcoming Festival at Fort Willow.  Finishing carpentry work on an authentic pioneer shed, grounds maintenance, installing welcome signage and other site preparations made for a busy day.

The shed is being built using pioneer carpentry methods and will be used to house soldiers gear, livestock feed, horse tack and primitive tools during the Festival at Fort Willow, which begins on September 27, 2019.

“Thanks to the $3,000 donated by the Rotary Club, the reenactors horse feed and infantry gear can finally stay dry and out of the weather elements during the festival," said Byron Wesson, Director of Conservation Services at the NVCA. “The Rotary Club has always been very generous to our efforts at Fort Willow. Over the years, they have donated in excess of $100,000 to help us revitalize this important part of Canada's history."

In an attempt to preserve the skills as were common during the early 1800s, pioneer carpentry methods — including mortise and tenon or dovetail joints — can be seen on select buildings throughout the site.

“Our volunteers are all very passionate about the historical significance of Fort Willow," said David Cockburn, Chair of FOFW. “Anything we build on this site strives to be historically accurate. We want to preserve and rebuild the site to resemble the one from 1812 as much as we can, that's why we gather here every Thursday to maintain the site and get ready for the festival."

The Festival at Fort Willow is a two-day event. The first day is reserved for school groups to provide an interactive, educational experience. The second day on September 28 is open to the general public to attend for free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

“On behalf of the Township, I would like to thank the Friends of Fort Willow and the Rotary Club of Barrie for their commitment to ensuring the Festival at Fort Willow is a success each year," said Don Allen, Mayor of Springwater Township. “Fort Willow is an important part of Canadian history. The fort served as a critical supply depot for British armies in the War of 1812 and is recognized nationally as a heritage site. We are very proud to celebrate this part of history in our community."

Over 70 re-enactors will occupy the site during the festival to showcase life as it was during the War of 1812. Residents and visitors are invited to come experience the historical transformation.

 

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About the NVCA:  The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority is a public agency dedicated to the preservation of a healthy environment through specialized programs to protect, conserve and enhance our water, wetlands, forests and lands.  www.nvca.on.ca

About the Friends of Historic Fort Willow: The Friends of Historic Fort Willow are volunteers working to preserve the original site and its reconstructed features and promote the historical, educational and recreational activities happening at the fort.  fortwillow.nvca.on.ca

About the Township of Springwater: Springwater is a municipality of approximately 19,000 residents located in the heart of Simcoe County. Springwater Township is home to the second largest concentration of County Forests and is a popular destination for outdoor activities in all four seasons.  www.springwater.ca

About the Rotary Club: The Rotary Club of Barrie has been an enthusiastic supporter of the NVCA. Rotary's participation in the Festival at Fort Willow started with the first festival, and they are pleased to continue their involvement. Proceeds from the sale of food and beverages at the event are donated to the Friends of Fort Willow to assist with their restoration efforts. To date more than $15,000 has been raised.

Media contacts:

Maria Leung, Communications Coordinator, Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, 705-424-1479 ext.254, mleung@nvca.on.ca

Natalie Graham, Communications Officer, Township of Springwater, 705-728-4784 ext. 2067, natalie.graham@springwater.ca

For high resolution photos of the event, please visit https://www.nvca.on.ca/Pages/Fort-willow-volunteer-day-2019-photos.aspx