Local government building named after War of 1812 hero

Jocelyn Turner
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Member of Parliament Scott Armstrong (left) was at the government building on Havelock Street Friday for the official renaming of the building. The building was renamed to the Enos Collins building in honour of Collins’ contribution to the War of 1812. Representing the town of Amherst was Deputy Mayor George Baker. 

AMHERST – Well known for capturing 50 merchant American ships during the War of 1812, Enos Collins was recognized for his wartime contributions Friday in a ceremony held at the Government of Canada building on Havelock Street. Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong was on hand to unveil the memorial plaque, officially renaming the building the Enos Collins building.

“He was war hero during (the War of 1812) that many people don’t know about,” said Armstrong. “As a historian myself, I was aware of Collins and some of the background history of him, not only as a war hero but as an entrepreneur.”

After creating a large fortune from the capture of the American vessels, Armstrong said Collins became one of the founders of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

“It’s incredible that we have these opportunities to celebrate such events in our history and pivotal characters in our history by renaming this federal buildings for them,” he added.  “Hopefully we’ll have more and more young people learn about the history of our country and respect the history of our country.”

Also on hand at the ceremony was Amherst Deputy Mayor George Baker. Baker said he was excited for the unveiling of the plaque. Baker said the story behind Collins’ wartime contribution is great history but said it was important for the government to step up and recognize people who have been a great honour to our communities.

“I think that with the plaque going up, there are going to be a lot more tourists coming to Amherst,” he said. “Everything that we do in this way will draw people to our community. I know I have learned a lot today and I am glad that we get it out there. It’s another drawing card for the town of Amherst. We’re moving forward.”

Collins wasn’t the only war hero recognized with a memorial plaque. Three other buildings, all in Ontario, were named after Richard Pierpoint, John Norton and Tecumseh for their contributions during the War of 1812.

For more information on Enos Collins, visit www.canada-1812.ca/collins/

jturner@amehrstdaily.com

Twitter: @ADNjocelyn

Organizations: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Geographic location: AMHERST, Canada, Havelock Street Ontario

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  • Ginny
    February 25, 2013 - 08:42

    Am wondering "What does enos Collins have to do with. Amherst history?"

  • Shawanoswe Tooley
    February 24, 2013 - 08:12

    Thank you for providing the link. So if I'm reading correct, Enos was a licensed pirate?

    • Eddy Amherst
      February 26, 2013 - 06:24

      The link provided is nothing more than propaganda. You'd be better off just reading the wikipedia article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enos_Collins

  • Eddy Amherst
    February 23, 2013 - 09:46

    Simply ridiculous. This is just another weak attempt on the part of the Conservative Party to rewrite history and build upon their own brand of militarist patriotism, and it makes me sick to my stomach. For Canada, nothing that happened in The War of 1812 amounted to Vimy Ridge, Juno Beach, or Kapyong. At the time, it was an unpopular war that pitted friends, neighbours, and family against each other. Sadly, two hundred years later, we are glorifying a war that no one between 1812-15 wanted any part of, with the exception of war profiteers like Enos Collins. Collins was anti-confederation; he strongly opposed Nova Scotia joining the movement to form a united Canada. Why are we celebrating a war profiteer (or "hero" and "entrepreneur," as the Conservative Party now calls them) who never identified himself as a Canadian and would have preferred if no Nova Scotian ever did either? Collins was nothing but another rich, old Conservative who was only interested in lining his own pockets. He was far from being a hero, and I'm sure if Armstrong would have known this if he had done even the smallest amount of research before he dedicated this plaque. Collins participation in the War of 1812 was limited to owning a small fleet of ships and possessing a letter of marque, meaning he and his private navy were contracted by the Crown to capture and loot American ships. There was a lot of money to be made from privateering during the war, and if that hadn't been the case, Collins probably would have stuck to managing his pre-war investments. As for Baker's comments about how a single plaque is going to be such a boost to tourism in Amherst: If installing a meaningless plaque on an ugly, low-rise office building is going to help the local economy, why don't we just buy more plaques with the town's funds? If one plaque is going to bring in "a lot more tourists," then 1000 plaques should be enough to entice every single person driving through on the TCH to stop in Amherst.