Fort York was constructed in 1793 by the British Army and Canadian militia troops for the defense of York (now Toronto). Today it’s a National Historic Site with Canada’s largest group of original War of 1812 structures. Explore the stone and wood barracks used during the 1813 Battle of York, when the U.S. invaded and destroyed the fort.
A 7-acre (3-hectare) walled military fort built by the British Army and Canadian militia troops in the late 1800s, Fort York gives visitors a glimpse into Canadian history. Explore the barracks and battlefield, take a guided tour (on the hour), hear the twice-daily cannon firing, and observe a drill and the flag raising and lowering.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is an admission fee, with discounts for seniors and children; kids 5 and under enter free.
- Plan to spend about two hours visiting the fort.
- Most of the walking throughout the fort is on an even terrain, but some of the structures involve stairs.
- All walkways are accessible by wheelchairs, but the Stone Magazine and Brick Magazine are not wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Fort York National Historic Site is located about 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) west of the CN Tower between the Gardiner Expressway and the train lines. It’s a 20- to 30-minute walk from most parts of downtown Toronto. You can take the Bloor Street Subway to the Bathurst Station or the 509 streetcar westbound, exiting at Fleet Street and Fort York Boulevard. Parking is available at the corner of Fleet Street and Strachan Avenue.
When to Get There
Fort York is open daily year-round. From September to June, the fort is busy with school groups. In July and August, visitors are treated to a variety of events designed to bring history to life, including guided tours, special museum exhibits, Fort York Guard demonstrations, and cooking demonstrations and tastings.
War of 1812
During the War of 1812, American troops invaded Canada, then a British colony, and attacked Fort York the Battle of York in 1813. British troops retreated and the Americans occupied the fort for six days, looting and destroying the Government House and Parliament Buildings. Angered, British troops stormed Washington and burned the White House and other buildings the following year.