Fort York

The city of Toronto has its roots in the establishment of Fort York in 1793. Originally established as a garrison fort to protect British interests against the United States, it eventually became a commerce and trading center on Lake Ontario.

Fort York is a National Historic Site in the heart of Toronto. In 1812, the US-Canadian border was the main front for the War of 1812 between the newly-formed United States and Britain. The Americans over-ran the fort and burned it and the surrounding settlement to the ground (the burning of the White House in the same war was, in part, retaliation for this event). The Fort was rebuilt and remained an military installation and training facility well into the 1930s.

The Grounds

Fort York covers 43 acres and incorporates Canada’s largest collection of period buildings from 1812 as well as the 1813 battle site between the British and Americans. The buildings include barracks, blockhouses, and munitions storage. Throughout the fort, informative exhibits detail the growth and development of the fort, its role in the War of 1812, as well as its place in Toronto history.

Events and Exhibitions

Throughout the year, the fort offers educational and entertaining events for all ages. Special programming for school children by grade level are open to the public.

In the summer, guided tours are offered every hour on the hour, with canon-firing demonstrations at 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Every hour on the half hour, the Fort York Guard, in full uniform regalia, demonstrate drills, musical performances, artillery firing, and battle tactics.

The Canteen Museum Store offers a variety of merchandise including history books, commemorative memorabilia, jewelry, hand-crafted First Nations crafts as well as the fort’s signature line of marmalades, preserves and baked items made on-site from authentic 18th- and 19th-century recipes.