Remembering Speedy on film - Prominent author interviewed
as part of Remembering Speedy commemorations

Brendan O'BrienThe filming of a documentary on the Brighton area’s past has begun. The filming is part of the activities planned by the Remembering Speedy Committee for this year. The committee has commissioned University of Toronto film school graduate Chris Mutton to compose a documentary on the local area’s history.

Mutton, fresh from editing a documentary on Canadian film, to be aired on CBC television this fall, accepted the post in hopes of increasing awareness of local history. According to Mutton, “the history of this area, and particularly the sinking of the Speedy, is a story just waiting to be told on screen”.

Production of the video began in June as footage from the Remembering Speedy Sail Past was collected. Recently, Mutton and the film crew interviewed Brendan O’Brien, author of the book Speedy Justice. O’Brien, a 95-year-old retired lawyer, was eager to participate in the project. The interview footage will be interspersed throughout the video as the sinking of the Speedy is a common thread that links much of the area’s history.

Efforts are also being undertaken to help bring the Speedy back to life on film. Mutton and graphic animator Doug Johnson have begun developing a 3-D model of H.M.S. Speedy to show the ship as it struggled though the final stretches of its voyage. The ship has been modeled after historical images by artists C.H.J. Snider and Peter Rindlisbacher.

To help fill out the production, Mutton continues to collect film footage of local historical sites. The film crew will also be present at the War of 1812 reenactment August 21 and 22 and the Remembering Speedy ghost walk on October 9, 2004.

Editing of the footage will take place through October and November and it is hoped that the final product will be available by mid December. The film will be made available to local schools and libraries once completed.

For more information on Remembering Speedy, visit Those without access to the internet can stop by the Brighton and District Chamber of Commerce and take advantage of the community computer access program.


The Battle of Presqu'ile - A War of 1812 Experience
Saturday August 21 and Sunday August 22, 2004

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Come to Brighton August 21 and 22 to experience what life was like during the War of 1812!

Presqu’ile Provincial Park’s day use area will be the site of a large-scale, authentic 1812 military encampment on August 21. From 9:00am to 5:00pm, you can tour the camp to see how soldiers lived, complete with period clothing, a working blacksmith and fife and drum corps.

Watch the British soldiers defend the peninsula in “The Siege of Calf Pasture” as American soldiers land at 2pm at the base of Presqu’ile’s Atkins Lane. “Evening Assault”, another fictional battle, is set for 8:00 p.m. in Presqu’ile’s day use area.

Re-enactment activities resume at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday August 22 as the militia march from the Brighton arena down Main Street. Join in the parade and follow to Proctor Park where the British and American soldiers will settle their differences in a battle re-enactment at 2:00 p.m. Special thanks to Save our Heritage Organization and the Lower Trent Conservation Authority for facilitating this event.
Through this and other upcoming events, the Remembering Speedy Committee plans to commemorate the loss of the H.M.S. Speedy. On October 8, 1804, Speedy was traveling from York (Toronto) to the proposed district town of Newcastle for a trial, when it sank off Presqu'ile Point. After the sinking, plans for the settlement at Presqu’ile were cancelled, changing the development of the peninsula forever.
Due to its strategic harbour, the Presqu’ile peninsula became an important stop on the military supply route during the War of 1812. The Americans knew of ship building activity at Presqu’ile and even burned down a nearly-completed schooner! Members of the Northumberland Militia and the Glengarry Regiment were stationed at the peninsula at times during the war. As there were no documented battles at Presqu’ile, the battles presented on August 21 and 22 are fictional re-enactments.
Local residents may make a donation to the Brighton Food Bank at Brighton Sobeys grocery store to obtain a free ticket to attend events on August 21. Otherwise, regular park admission fees apply for events in Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Events on August 22 in Proctor Park are free to the public.

For more information on the Speedy and upcoming commemorative events, visit or call (613) 475-4324.

Remembering Speedy events are brought to you by Brighton History Week, Brighton and District Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Presqu'ile Park, Brighton Kin Club, Law Society of Upper Canada, Municipality of Brighton, Northumberland Tourism, Ontario Parks, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Presqu'ile Point Property Owners, Presqu'ile Yacht Club, Brighton Rotary Club, Save Our Heritage Organization, Tal Trees I


Spirits of the Speedy Ghost Walk
Saturday, October 9, 2004

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Explore what happened to H.M.S. Speedy that fateful night 200 years ago.

Twenty-year-old John Anderson was first person enrolled in the Law Society of Upper Canada who was not called to the Bar. Why? He disappeared, along with many others aboard H.M.S. Speedy in 1804. He was articled to Jacob Farrand, a cousin to Robert Isaac Dey Gray, the Solicitor General of Upper Canada who was also aboard the Speedy. Anderson was heading to Newcastle (Presqu'ile) to assist Gray and distribute copies of the law to local people who could read.

No government investigation of the loss of the Speedy was ever undertaken. Two hundred years later, you are invited to a ghost walk along the shores of the Presqu'ile peninsula. Join two of John Anderson's fellow law students to investigate the tragic events yourselves. Meet witnesses who may fill you in on the details of the sinking and acquaintances of those who disappeared with the schooner. Then decide what you think really happened to the Speedy. Meet at the amphitheatre at 8:00 pm and bring your flashlight.

During the day, you can also tour the deck of a tall ship to see what life on a schooner was really like. The St. Lawrence II will be available for tours from 10am to 12pm and 1pm to 4pm at the government dock

Through this event, the Remembering Speedy Committee plans to commemorate the loss of the H.M.S. Speedy. In the early hours of October 8, 1804, H.M.S. Speedy was sighted off the shores of Presqu'ile. Since there was no lighthouse, residents of the peninsula built a large fire to guide the schooner around Presqu'ile Point. But the Speedy never made it to the Presqu'ile harbour. Instead of delivering its passengers to the newly built courthouse for its inaugural trial, the schooner disappeared into the night, never to be recovered.

The loss of this schooner, and more importantly those aboard it, was a devastating blow to this area and Upper Canada. The passengers included some of the most prominent figures in Upper Canada: the Solicitor General of Upper Canada, a Judge of the King's Bench, the Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada and the High Constable of York. With such a tragic event occurring here, the plans for the district capital town of Newcastle, to be located on the Presqu'ile peninsula, were cancelled and moved to Cobourg. Today, Cobourg remains the administrative capital of Northumberland County, a destiny that could have been Brighton's.

Regular park admission fees apply for this event. For more information on the Speedy and commemorative events call (613) 475-4324.




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