Theatre of War
The Theatre of War is depicted on the northern portion of the site. It is here where the story of the Battle of the Thames, and its consequences is told from the participants’ point of view. Click one of the following links for more detail:
Thames Battle Gateway
Visitors who exit the Arrival and Orientation Area towards the Theatre of War area move past the original Tecumseh monument to a small circular plaza, the Thames Battle Gateway. Here they are introduced to the story of the Battle of the Thames in more detail, as well as the individuals who were present.
The central plaza area features an engraved / sandblasted map of the battle area and actions. Around the outside perimeter of the plaza are low graphics that encircle the space. One side features a timeline of events from October 4th
to October 6th, 1813, allowing visitors to grasp the finer details of the battle and the actions that led to the defeat of the British, the American victory and Tecumseh’s death.
On the opposite side, four distinct graphics provide interpretation of the key groups of people who were on the field (or near it) on the 5th. These include the British regulars and Canadian Militia, the American forces and Kentuckians, the First Nation warriors and the Settlers and residents of the area who were affected by the battle and the presence of the armies.
The Battle Grove is an interpretive Garden space. The linear planting beds, hardscapes, and ground plane evoke the battle lines and organization of troops during the conflict. The variation in patterns and textures of materials and plantings illustrate movement, conflict and violence, contrasting with the softness of the surrounding natural landscape. The ground may reveal patterns of footprints from troops, cannon carriages, agricultural patterns, uniforms and weaponry.
A dry stream bed winds through the Battle Grove, representing the Thames River on the battle plan. At the centre of the Grove, a wetland area will be re-created, creating a small piece of the landscape as it would have been in 1813.
Black Birch trees are planted, and visitors may think they catch a glimpse of Tecumseh or his comrades lurking in the swamp, just as he did on the day of the Battle.
Situated throughout the garden, discreet markers tell the stories told of the representative combatants and witnesses: approximately ten to twelve markers representing the five broad categories visitors have been introduced to earlier. From the Battle Grove, visitors might be able to continue their walk to Fairfield along the trail, and explore that site and its programming.
The aftermath of the battle, including its casualties, subsequent military actions, those who profited from being here, and those who fell from grace, is interpreted in a raised overlook at the end of the Battle Grove. This area is positioned to afford visitors a good view of the garden, to take in the patterns, lines and textures that define this space. A combination of graphics, embedments, and etchings will be used to summarize the stories depicted throughout the Battle Grove.
Lines (and arrows) point the way towards distant places called out in the interpretation, allowing visitors to understand that the actions here had an impact in nearby and distant places. The raised elevation of this feature also elevates it above the flood prone area, reducing potential damage and environmental impact. Also located here will be a monument commemorating the sacrifices made by all the participants and witnesses of the Battle of the Thames.