We ventured into downtown Toronto today in order to visit Fort York located on Garrison Road. It was not easy to find due to major construction in the area. A very nice visitor center and museum related to the fort is being built next to the fort under the bridge. When the original fort was built in 1793 at this location, it sat next to Lake Ontario. Today it is surrounded by huge high rises that continue to be built on landfill and bedrock as you will see in the pictures. In 1958 plans were made to demolish the fort and rebuild it on the waterfront. Fortunately the plan was rejected. The fort today is well maintained and 9 restored buildings are on the property. When excavation was being done to build the high rises, many bodies were unearthed from the war of 1812 including British, Americans and Natives. They were buried in a mass grave near the Fort.
|Battle of York Plaque|
|Diagram of Fort|
|To the right was once Lake Ontario|
|Surrounded by Buildings|
In 1812,the US declared war on Canada and attacked Fort York with 2.550 men, 14 naval vessels and 85 cannons. After the battle, the Native warriors withdrew to the forest while the British retreated to Kingston. The local militia surrendered Fort York and blew up the main Magazine killing the American Commander, Zebulan Pike and 250 Americans. After this the Americans looted homes, seized or destroyed property and supplies and burned the Government House and Parliament Buildings. The British later retaliated by attacking Washington DC burning the Capitol and White House. The Americans returned in 1813 to burn barracks and other military buildings. In 1815 the war ended and the defense against America has been successful.
The City of Toronto purchased the Fort in 1909 and the army used it until the 1930's. The fort was restored between 1932-1934 and opened as a historic site museum. The Blockhouse #2 houses a very extensive history museum.
|Blockhouse #2 and Museum|
|Serpent Musical Instrument|
|Uniforms During Time|
The 1815 Brick Barracks originally housed 100 soldiers and their families and they remained in use as military housing until the 1930's.
The 1815 Officers' Barracks housed between 3 and 8 unmarried officers. It also provided dining and kitchen facilities. In the cellar were the money vaults that secured government and private funds during the Rebellion Crisis of 1837-41. It now houses artifacts including a replica of the HMS Nancy, a naval supply vessel on the the Upper Lakes that was burned on the Noclawassga River in 1814.
|Info on HMS Nancy|
|Replica of HMS Nancy|
|Signage on black contribution to the defense of Canada|
The Blue Barracks were built in 1814 as quarters for junior officers.
The 1814 East Magazine was built in 1814 to store gunpowder and later converted to a storehouse in 1824
I enjoy visiting these historical sights and especially being enlightened to history. Don't feel our kids today get enough of world and local history as it pertains to the formation of countries. We tend to take so much for granted,not realizing the sacrifices then and now for freedom.