Flames Across Niagara has got to be one of the more unusual events that takes place in the city of Buffalo. Part commemorating the of the War of 1812, part reenactment, part pyro fun, part waterfront celebration, and all Black Rock inspired, for one evening only, Squaw Island plays host to a public gathering that pays tribute to our past, present and future.
The combination of all of the different components sets the stage for some fiery fun, as history enthusiasts light a bonfire to signify the burning of Black Rock and Buffalo during the war. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a commemoration that entails the lighting of a massive fire by a bunch of guys dressed in period attire? If nothing else, this is a fun way to escape any boring routines that you may have fallen into.
While this event does spark some emotions from Buffalo zealots, there is an ulterior motive behind the ceremony. This is a display that marks a 200 year peace between the US and Canada.
On December 7, at 6pm, fires will be lit on both sides of the river, in order to create an illuminated bond between the countries. Even the Peace Bridge will be lit in the colors of fiery flames.
To top it all off, Robert Niemiec of the Grant-Amherst Business Association has built a small recreation of the village of Black Rock that will sit atop the bonfire as it is lit from below. British, American and Native American reenactors will acknowledge all of the men who lost their lives during the battles while three national anthems (American, British and Canadian) will be sung by anyone who wishes to join in. To wrap it up, a poem will be read by a Native American to signify the roles that their people had at that time, and then moving forward.
*The public is welcome and there is no admission fee. This event takes place snow or shine. Parking is in designated areas at the site. The park entrance is off Niagara Street just south of where Amherst St. meets Niagara St. and will be lit with torches and signage. Follow the road across the International Bridge, bear right and bonfire will be on the left along the river.
A tree lighting ceremony in the historic Market Square District of Black Rock (Niagara and Amherst Streets) will precede the bonfire at 5:20 PM. Four trees will be lit representing the US, Canada, Great Britain and the Native American.
Other venues that will be participating on that day will be:
Buffalo Maritime Center
Buffalo Fire Museum
Clarence Historical Society Museum
Clarence Town Park Clubhouse
Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village
The Buffalo History Museum
Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park
Hull Family Home and Farmstead
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site
Buffalo Religious Arts Center
Buffalo & Erie County Central Library
Participants who attend a minimum of 2 events will be given a free War of 1812 commemorative pin at the bonfire. A brochure listing descriptions taking place at each event can be found at
Sponsors for the event are:
Historic Preservation Committee of the Black Rock-Riverside Good Neighbors Planning Alliance
The Buffalo History Museum
Grant-Amherst Business Association
County of Erie
Black Rock Historical Society
Niagara 1812 Legacy Council