The War of 1812: Been There, Won That

Thursday October 4, 2012 AT 8:00 PM on CBC-TV
*Please note special start time
Repeating Saturday October 13 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC News Network

On the bicentennial of the War of 1812 the CBC presents a two hour documentary special, The War of 1812: Been There, Won That – a modern look at a 200 year old war hosted by one of Canada’s most accomplished and funniest actors, Peter Keleghan.

We’ll explore the myths and mysteries, mayhem and marvels of this “forgotten” war. We’ll follow the twists and turns of this strange conflict, its rogues and rascals, heroes and martyrs and uncover stories of humour and horror, heroism and hubris. And we’ll meet colourful characters – from corporate lawyers to debutantes to Ursuline nuns — who 200 years later still remember and celebrate the war in unexpected ways.

Finally, we’ll set the record straight on the burning question that still divides us from our former enemies (now our best pals and good neighbours) to the south: Who really did win the war of 1812?

This war has been called a lot of names – a strange war, a senseless war, even a silly war. But it changed the course of our history and helped create Canada. If we had lost, we would probably all be Americans. It is an epic conflict that determined the fate of a continent and the tragic destiny of its first peoples.

The stories in Been There, Won That include:

The tale of the timid American general who turned over three states to the Canadian side without firing a shot. Did we cheat, as some Americans claim? You be the judge.

The mystery of the last words of British general and Canadian hero Sir Isaac Brock. Were they a shout out to gallant Canadian militiamen, or did he whisper the name of his secret love? What does the evidence of the bullet hole in the General’s coat tell us?

When the Americans torched Toronto’s parliament buildings during the war, they claimed the action was provoked by finding a scalp hanging by the speaker’s chair. A shocking story that the American media loved, but was it true?

We will tell the story of Tecumseh, one of the greatest leaders and visionaries of North American First Peoples, whose death on a battlefield in southwestern Ontario ended the dream of an indigenous confederacy and a first peoples’ homeland. We explore his legacy and the unsolved mystery that surrounds his final resting place.

War of 1812: Been There, Won That is a funny and poignant documentary that will engage, enlighten and entertain audiences of all ages, and turn a forgotten war into an unforgettable one.

Peter Keleghan has starred in Canadian comedy classics like The Newsroom, the Red Green Show, 18 to Life and Made in Canada, as well as roles in Slings and Arrows, Murdoch Mysteries and Saving Hope.