Canada owes much to Historic Nancy?
- from CanWest News service.
"If not for the Nancy, you would likely be speaking American
WOW! I didn't know how truly significant that battle was! And to
think you can watch it with "700 re-enactors tell Nancy's exciting
story with their roaring cannons, blazing muskets, slashing
tomahawks and fierce war cries."
With tongue in cheek!
Canadians owe a debt to historic little Nancy
By capturing two U.S. ships in the War of 1812, the crew of the
Nancy help turn the tide in the Upper Great Lakes
Special to The Vancouver Sun
If not for the Nancy, you would likely be speaking American today.
That means you'd know the exact date of your next federal election,
you wouldn't know what Smarties are and you might pretend to be
Canadian when travelling overseas.
Of course, you would also be paying less for gas and claiming your
mortgage payments as tax deductions. But the Nancy changed all that.
The little merchant schooner Nancy, with her brave and creative
crew, played a major role in ensuring that Canada is what it is
And that's why 5,000 spectators will gather in Wasaga Beach
Provincial Park on Georgian Bay next month to watch 700 re-enactors
tell Nancy's exciting story with their roaring cannons, blazing
muskets, slashing tomahawks and fierce war cries.
Nancy wasn't meant to be a fighter. She was hired to carry supplies
between British outposts on the upper Great Lakes. And that's just
what she was doing during the War of 1812 when the Americans put her
on their hit list and sent out three frigates to hunt her down.
The Americans controlled shipping on the upper lakes after pounding
the British fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie. Only The Nancy
remained to supply the vital British fort at Michilimackinac near
Sault Ste. Marie, which controlled Lake Huron, Lake Superior and
lands to the west.
Troops and supplies bypassed the American fleet by coming up from
York (Toronto) via Lake Simcoe and the Nottawasaga River where the
Nancy lay at the mouth of the Nottawasaga to carry them on to Fort
The three American gunboats knew her routine and decided to wait at
the mouth of the Nottawasaga to blast her into history when she
returned from Michilimackinac. However, Nancy wasn't out on Georgian
Bay. Spies had tipped off her skipper, Lt. Miller Worsley of the
Royal Navy, that the American vessels were coming for her, so
Worsley sneaked Nancy deeper up the river to hide her in the woods.
An American shore party gathering firewood discovered the ruse and
it wasn't long before the three Yankee gunboats unleashed their big
weapons on the Nancy's hiding place.
They lobbed cannon balls and projectiles over the narrow neck of
land separating the river from Georgian Bay, and the Americans had
accurate gun crews.
With the Nancy ablaze, Worsley got his crew of 22 sailors, 23
Indians and nine French Canadian voyageurs off the vessel and into
the woods. They all escaped and eventually did a midnight run in
freight canoes past the American blockade and paddled 360 miles (580
km) west to Michilimackinac.
The Americans came looking for them and, after resting at Fort
Michilimackinac, the crew of the Nancy came looking for the
They paddled their canoes at night out to the American gunboat
Tigress, anchored along Huron's north shore. They climbed aboard,
overran the crew and captured the ship.
The next day they used the same game to capture Scorpion, America's
other warship hunting the Nancy's crew.
The courage and cunning of Nancy's crew on Georgian Bay turned the
tide in the campaign for the Upper Lakes.