Proud Part of Heritage Mississauga

Email: webstuff@2ndyork.com

Really? You want to know about me? Y're humble webmaster?

Okay...Me

I guess I should start at the beginning where I was abandoned as a baby when my parents "lost" me during a picnic and was found and adopted by a friendly family of tree slugs who raised me as one of their own in the wild leading to my marked aversion to salt.

Wait, sorry... that's not true... I like salt.

My name is Matthew James Didier and I am a history buff... an amateur to be sure, but an enthusiast none-the-less.

I started reenacting in the early 2000's... but had to quit before I got started for various reasons, but ALWAYS kept one foot in the door, so to speak. I am the webmaster for The Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada, I was the webmaster and am the designer of the site for The Norfolk Militia Heritage Regiment which my wife has taken over in terms of upkeep, and... well... I have to be honest... and this may irritate some...

I am also the founder, director, webmaster, chief bottle washer, and whipping boy for The Toronto Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society which has been around since 1997 and is probably my best known project... although, as a point, I am not a "ghost hunter"... the site focuses openly only on the history, folklore, legends, myths, and reported first-hand experiences people believe are related to ghostly things. For the record, I do firmly believe that witnesses (or experients to use the academic term,) feel they experience things "ghostly" and I do believe weird things happen... but I do not firmly subscribe to any hypothesis as to what causes those experiences.  I am, however, enamoured with the way folklore and history meld with these stories, so that's my main interest admittedly.

...and if you're wondering, I'm about as psychic as the average table lamp.

With that elephant out of the room, I have been a member of The Norfolk Militia Heritage Regiment as a reenactor (for one-half a season), an honourary current member of IMUC (where I was once, at my own suggestion admittedly, given the rank of ensign for my work in communications... so you may call me "sir",) and now, by and odd quirk of necessity, I am a lowly private / occasional subaltern or ensign / unofficial quartermaster in Thompson's Company of the 2nd York Militia.

I carry, at the moment, a rather questionable weapon, a Baker rifle as my weapon which is "kind of" okay as a militiaman... but maybe not... but I really should... um... well...

 meme

...to steal someone's meme. (Credit will be given if requested... sorry I didn't keep track of the originator.)  I should be using a Brown Bess (and will hopefully have one by the beginning of the 2016 season) but admit there's only a very tentative possibility that the Baker was around in 1812 in Upper Canada.  I shan't go into detail, but there are two reasons to assume there MIGHT have been... and neither is iron clad... so I'm a bit off in my kit that way.

Why I've done this may explain a bit about my love for Upper Canadian military history...

First, I admit that "Sharpe" is about 25% to blame... but it's not the main reason... Sharpe's only responsible due to the timing of the show being aired (which led me to the books as I was previously unaware of them) and reminding me of my love of things Napoleonic.

When I was a very wee lad (all of ten years old,) I visited England for the first time.  I was oddly enamoured with Trafalgar Square and Nelson... to the point where I - at a very young age - immersed myself into Nelson's career and strategies.  I won the retroactive admiration of my wife, Sue, when she came across my old books about the topics and noted the date and the level of language used... basically, I was reading adult texts about Nelson as "children friendly" text was not available.

Of course, back in Canada, Napoleonic "stuff" is War of 1812 stuff and... well, the rest is academic... I became interested at a very young age with that conflict.  (Didn't hurt that I was fairly constantly reminded that my family roots are very old in Canada and very UEL!)

A small handful of years later, my father was working in Ottawa while the rest of the family stayed in Toronto... and on a school holiday one year, my mother decided to drive to Ottawa via the Loyalist Parkway making several stops along the way... which included the impressive Fort Henry in Kingston which amazed me... but where I was completely blown away was Fort Wellington in Prescott.

Fort Wellington is not a "big fort" in terms of places one can visit, but we were fortunate that we were there on a weekday and the weather was a bit "meh"... so my mother and I were pretty much two of about four tourists wandering the grounds.  We were alone in the block house when we came upon an interpreter... not, of course to those in the know, in 1812 garb, but in pre-confederation 1840's Canadian rifle man.  This young fellow was wonderful... he spent a lot of time with us, answered all our questions and then some... and for me as barely a teenager, he did something that warped me for good... he gave me a green tunic to wear, a shako (hat) to put on, and allowed me to handle an old flintlock they had hanging around which he was comparing favourably to the standard Brunswick rifle... so I felt I was holding something very special.  Add the fact it was from Nelson's (and 1812) era and it was love at first sight/carry/handle... the heavy weighted wood and metal flintlock resting on my lap while I played soldier became a "thing" for me... and yes, it was a Baker rifle.

It's because of this young man who was not - as many interpreters at historic sites still are - somewhat patronising and seemingly just running down a script, I now use the rifle... because it was there that my love of military history became more than something that I occasionally looked at into a passion... one that when I get the chance, I do try to share with others.

This is why I am a reeanactor... and I will always try to answer questions, engage people in discussions, and genuinely try to share and perhaps fan flames of interest in Canadian history with someone else.

 

For the record, these are the folks that I'm related to who were involved with the War of 1812... thanks to my family historian, my big sister Jody!

Pt. Peter Vandervoort (Militia - "Hastings")
Pt. James Vandervoort (Militia - "Prince Edward")
Pt. David K Vandervoort (Militia - "Durham")
Pt. A George Vandervoort (Militia - "Hastings")
Lt. Francis Vandervoort (Sedentary Militia of the County of Hastings)
Lt. Francis Hogle (King's Loyal Americans/Loyal Rangers/Sedentary Militia)
Pt. James Amit Morden (Militia - "Prince Edward")
Capt. James Morden (2nd York Militia)
Pt. Ralph Morden (2nd York Militia)
Pt. James Morden Jr. (2nd York Militia)
Pt. David Morden (2nd York Militia)
Pt. Thomas Morden (2nd York Militia)
Pt. Moses Morden (2nd York Militia)
Pt. Joseph Theodore James Morden (John Allen's Company - Regiment of Prince Edward Militia)
Pt. George Morden (John Allen's Company - Regiment of Prince Edward Militia)
Lt. Francois Seguin - 2nd Battalion, Lower Canadian Militia - District of Montreal

...and these folks were all "there", but I have no record of their involvement or not...

I Theodore Seguin 1775 - 1858
Pierre Francois Seguin 1773 - 1832
Michel Lalonde 1759 - 1821
Francois A Leduc 1770 - 1843
Joseph Marie Lalonde 1752 - 1842
Augustin Leduc 1795 - ?
Paul Regis Villeneuve 1778 - 1864
Gabriel Hurtubise 1764 - 1816
Augustin Leduc 1770 - 1843
Pierre Vallée 1773 - 1848
Jean Baptiste Aumais 1788 - 1832
Michel Robillard 1772 - 1852
Pierre Vallee 1794 - 1877
Pierre Bottineau 1793 - 1870
Pierre Michel Goudreau 1764 - 1838
Pierre Gaillard 1797 - 1855
Francois Reymon dit Gaillard 1780(?) - 1854
Joseph Ambroise Charron Dit Ducharme 1766 - 1823
Joseph Jacques Bottineau 1762 - 1832
Charles Joseph Bottineau 1776 - 1824
Etienne Charron Ducharme 1762 - 1832