• A huge explosion rocks Fort Erie; the blast was part of the re-creation of a disastrous August 15, 1814, British assault that ended when an ammunition supply exploded. (Photo: Amanda McNaughton)

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You’d be forgiven for thinking that the image above was captured on the film set of an historical action epic. All the elements are there, after all: pyrotechnics, period uniform, a sense of drama. But who needs the movies when you’ve got War of 1812 re-enactments? With participants dedicated to historical accuracy and storytelling as much as the most serious method actor is to chewing up cinematic scenery, these unique events are more entertaining — if not richer in their sights, sounds and personalities — than any film.