OTTAWA - The Canadian War Museum is hosting snowshoe treks with a historical twist.

During Ottawa's Winterlude Festival (Feb. 3-20), the museum is inviting visitors to discover how aboriginal technology — snowshoes — was used to defend Canada during the War of 1812.

In the winter of 1813, members of the 104th Regiment of Foot marched for two months from New Brunswick to Kingston in Upper Canada — more than 1,000 kilometres — to help defend Canada from American invaders.

Museum guests can join somewhat shorter expeditions — about 45 minutes long, along the Ottawa River — accompanied by museum guides providing historical commentary.

As well, inside the museum, replica 19th-century military uniforms and equipment will be demonstrated.

The hikes are free. Guests supply their own snowshoes, or just use regular footwear.

It's the museum's first event of the year marking the bicentennial of the War of 1812. A major exhibition on the war will open June 15.

On the web: www.warmuseum.ca/event/snowshoe-into-history-1