The last stop on the southern route of Niagara Parkway is Old Fort Erie. This is a fascinating living history museum. Period-costumed soldiers conduct reenactments and explain the fort’s major role during the War of 1812. Here’s an overview. The British built two supply outposts here at the northeastern tip of Lake Erie during the late 18th century. The current fortification was constructed between 1805 and 1808. This National Historic Site of Canada was a pawn between the Americans and British during the Niagara Campaign. The Americans first overpowered the fort in 1813. A few months later they retreated. On July 3, 1814, the Americans regained control. This set the stage for the bloodiest combat in Canada’s history. During the Siege of Fort Erie (August 3 through September 21, 1814), the Americans successfully defended the fortress against repeated British assaults. Yet the cost was very high. The combined casualties of dead, wounded, captured and missing exceeded 2,500 soldiers. And what was gained? Not much! About six weeks later, the Americans destroyed Fort Erie before returning to Buffalo, New York. On Christmas Eve, the Treaty of Ghent was signed and the War of 1812 was over.