I have recently become interested in learning about my family's ansestry. I happen to know a little about the Pilkey's and can confirm that what you've heard about Peter Pilkie and the war of 1812 is true. My family is related to Peter through one of his nine sons, George Pilkie. Peter Pilkey was born in Trois Rivieres Quebec in 1775. He later came to Toronto and joined the army as a baker at Fort York.
When the Americans attacked Toronto (York) during the war of 1812 rather than handing over Fort York to the Americans they blew it by blowing up the powder megasin. This task was, according to family legend and some historical books, given to Peter Pilkey to do.
After the war Peter was given a land grant in Scarborough (Wexford) just east of Toronto were he farmed and raised a large family of 9 sons.
There happens to be a Pilkey family genoelogy book which my family happens to own. It was last updated in 1998 and if your family is related to Peter Pilkey you are more than likely in it.