Welcome to the first blog post here on the Provincial Marine website!
When I joined the Provincial Marine Re-enactment Unit way back in 2002, I certainly had no idea what an interesting path that decision would lead me down. From joining the group just to have some fun with black powder muskets, to becoming a dedicated amateur historian and living history enthusiast, to taking on progressively more advanced roles within the group culminating in now my sixth term as President of the organization, to taking a job in the region and moving my family here specifically to be able to be more involved, to spreading out my historical and charitable involvements to include other organizations... what a journey it has been!
Along the way, I have met and had discussions with some of the most interesting and knowledgeable people in the North American history community, and had opportunities to visit historic landmarks with a level of access not available to most others. I have learned sailing skills that have been obsolete for well over a century, and mastered the use of weapons that have been out of common use for almost twice that time. I have made lasting friendships with many amazing people. I have been honoured to help lead a dedicated crew of re-enactor sailors on the field, on the water, and at community events. I have tested myself, and have been tested... by my peers, and even by nature herself. I have learned a great deal about many things: history, sailing, warfare, leadership, and human nature, to name a few. And, perhaps most importantly, I have had more sheer fun than I can possibly recount while doing it all.
For those not familiar with the term, the Wardroom is the essentially the Officers' Mess aboard a naval vessel. The term can also be used to encapsulate the ship's officers themselves as a group, not including the officer in command of the vessel, ie: "The Captain had a strong, experienced wardroom to rely upon." At this time, I am the only junior officer within the ranks of the Provincial Marine, serving as Executive Officer and pretty much everything else to our C.O., Cmdr. May. (Dave May serves, in turn, as my Vice-President of the modern organization, and is a multi-term Past President of the group and otherwise long-time volunteer within the region's historic community.)
The living history community, like many others, has taken a beating over the past two years, due to the health restrictions imposed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. With not only historical re-enactments, but almost ALL public events having been cancelled for two straight seasons, borders closed to non-essential travel, and the general population living in a state of fearful self-isolation, many groups like our own have been hard pressed to maintain the interest and involvement of their members, their funding sources, and their public profile. The Provincial Marine have been fairly fortunate in this regard. Our long-standing partnership with the Paradise Charitable Gaming Centre in Windsor resulted in at least a fraction of our usual funding being maintained, which allowed us to keep up the rent on our Interpretive Centre at the Commissariat, as well as put at least a token effort into continuing restoration efforts on one of our boats. Our crew have been wonderful... rather than LOSING members through this trying time, we have actually had a couple of new members recruited by our crew! Members have come out to participate in socially-distanced work parties, sat through outdoor meetings, and all the while stayed the course and maintained their enthusiasm for our hobby and our purpose. I am immensely proud of this group of individuals and their dedication to our group.
If you are new to our site, and unfamiliar with the Provincial Marine, I strongly encourage you to follow our social media posts on FaceBook and Instagram, where we routinely post about our activities, past group events, special dates in history, and other subjects of interest. Check back on this website for new blog posts by myself and others, and for any additions to our Events schedule. And if you are within accessible distance of southwestern Ontario and find what we are doing interesting, don't hesitate to contact us to find out how you too can be a part of it all! We are always recruiting, for both crew and civilian impressions. If you love history, sailing, camping, and good times with great folks, we offer an unmatched opportunity to enter an exciting, educational, and family-friendly hobby. I can state unequivocally from my own experience, it's WORTH it!