August 21, 2013

Butler’s Barracks

Along the Niagara River above Navy Hall the military reserve known as The Commons were used to build Fort George in 1796. Farther inland buildings were built to serve the British Indian Department in their dealings with aboriginal people in the Niagara. A council house and storage facilities stood at this location until they were destroyed during the War of 1812.

After the War of 1812, new buildings were built away from the exposed position of Fort George. By 1854, the site was known as Butler’s Barracks in honour of John Butler and his Butler’s Rangers who served during the American Revolution and founded the town of Niagara. The area around Butler’s Barracks included a variety of buildings such as a hospital, commandant’s quarters and storehouses, among others. This area became defence headquarters for the Niagara Region.  
Butler's Barracks
The site was transferred to Canada in 1871 and was used to train regular and militia units. During World War I, the site became a training camp for 14,000 soldiers of the 2nd Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. By 1917, Butler’s Barracks became a winter training camp for the Polish Army known as Camp Kosciuszko.

During World War II, the area was known as Camp Niagara where buildings, tents, parade grounds and other facilities took over the area and Camp Niagara remained active until the 1960s as a military training ground. Soldiers who trained at the Butler’s Barracks site served in the Boer War, World War I and World War II, in the Korean War, and in peacekeeping efforts during the 20th century.

This weekend you can head to Fort George for their annual military timeline event. This event features military uniforms, weaponry and vehicles from various time periods. Click here to find out more.

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