Fort York National Historic Site

Visit this military fortification to discover Georgian-era barracks, walk on an historic battlefield and watch the reenactment of Toronto’s most famous battle.

Fort York National Historic Site is an historic military ground most famous for being the location of the Battle of York. Used as a harbor defense post from the 1790s to 1880s and then as a military garrison up until the 1930s, the site became a public museum in 1934. Visit the site to explore Canada’s largest collection of buildings from the War of 1812, walk on a battlefield and watch exciting reenactments and military guard parades.

Start your visit at the North Soldier’ Barracks, one of the eight historic buildings on the grounds. Take in the audiovisual displays that narrate the history of Fort York since its foundation in 1793. York, the then capital of the former province of Upper Canada, is now Toronto. Learn why the site is often classed as the birthplace of urban Toronto.

Get a feel for the life of a military officer at the Officers’ Brick Barracks and Mess Establishment. Go to the South Soldiers’ Barracks to see how soldiers and their families lived. Look for two wooden Blockhouses, which protected military troops from light artillery attacks. Throughout the buildings you’ll find exhibits depicting major events in Toronto’s and Canada’s history.

While here you can enjoy various events and festivals. Watch demonstrations by the Fort York Guard, including drumming performances and artillery firing, which are held daily in summer along with guided tours of the grounds and buildings. Don’t miss the War of 1812 Festival, which commemorates the city’s earliest war between the Americans and the British. Watch as hundreds of costumed volunteers perform a reenactment of the 1813 Battle of York on the actual site of the battle, complete with weaponry. Visit Fort York’s official website for more event information.

Fort York is just a 10-minute drive from Toronto’s city center and a 20-minute walk from the CN Tower. You’ll find an on-site parking lot and the fee goes toward Fort York’s maintenance. Public buses and streetcars stop near the main entrance. The site is open daily, except for some public holidays. Find the opening times on Fort York’s official website.

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