Kayla E.

St. Davids , Ontario

District School Board of Niagara

The Hamilton and Scourge

My Heritage Fair project is about the Hamilton and the Scourge. These American merchant schooners were converted into warships during the War of 1812. On August 8th, 1813, the two warships capsized and sank to the bottom of Lake Ontario due to a sudden storm. My project describes why the Hamilton and the Scourge are significant to Canadian history and why they have been declared a National Historic Site of Canada. The discovery of these perfectly preserved warships has resulted in ongoing research over the years using underwater technology and has allowed researchers and scientists to gather information about the possible reasons for the pristine conditions of these two ships that still remain at the bottom of Lake Ontario.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

The most interesting thing I learned while researching this project was that these two ships are the only fully complete warships from the War of 1812 that are left in the world, and they have been perfectly preserved at the bottom of Lake Ontario for 209 years.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

I learned about the past and the history of Canada from discoveries made about the Hamilton and Scourge. While researching my project in depth, I learned how our technology has been advancing throughout the years for the better, letting us see things we once couldn't such as side sonar scans to see underwater shipwrecks. Not only that, but within this project I learned about how our environment is being impacted by invasive species such as mussels, which are destroying our ecosystems.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

My life today compared to those involved in the war and on these ships are very different. The ships that they had back then (and were involved during the war) are very different from the ones we have now. Today, ships are more advanced and better built to withstand storms, unlike the Hamilton and Scourge which were top-heavy and vulnerable to sinking.