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Explosion 1812

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How the outcome of the war of 1812 would change the fate of a continent

In June 1812, the United States of America declared war on Britain and invaded its colony of Upper Canada. Britain was already locked in a life and death struggle with Napoleon in Europe, leaving Upper Canada poorly defended and vulnerable to attack.



As the fate of North America hung in the balance, the odds were stacked heavily in favour of a United States victory. However, one year into the war - after a series of bloody encounters on the battlefield - the United States attacked York, the capital of Upper Canada, (modern day Toronto in Ontario).



The British defenders of Fort York detonated their Grand Magazine - an armory packed to the rafters with much of the province’s ammunition supply, including nearly 30,000 pounds of gun powder, together with 10,000 cannonballs and 30,000 cartridges. It was one of the biggest explosions that had ever been witnessed in North America and more than 250 American soldiers were either killed or maimed by the blast.

These events at York, precipitated by the explosion of the Grand Magazine, proved to be a turning point in the War of 1812, after which the conflict degenerated into a bitter cycle of retaliation and retribution with the White House being stormed and set alight..

Programme Information

  • Genre: History

  • Subgenre: Factual

  • Producers: Yap Films

  • Broadcaster: History Channel Canada and UKTV

  • Duration: 1 x 60'

  • Tags: War Toronto Canada 1812

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