Fort York Museum and National Historic Site

Learn about Canada's early history at the Fort York National Historic Site

Old Cannon in Fort York
Old Cannon in Fort York cc licensed photo by David

The birth of Metropolitan Toronto began in what is now Fort York National Historic Site, one of ten museums operated by the City of Toronto. Situated in the centre of Toronto, Fort York is well known as the locale where the War of 1812 reached its fierce climax.

The Fort built in 1793 was used as the city’s main harbour defence until the 1880s. The Canadian army used the barracks to house their troops and families until the 1930’s.

Enter the grounds from the new visitor centre located below and slightly north of the Gardiner Expressway. Here you will find the 24,000 square foot visitor centre which opened in 2014. You will experience an overall orientation of the grounds covering 43 acres and the 200 year story of Fort York in this beautiful entrance hall that serves as a grand venue. There’s a cafe with outdoor access to the venue dock, four exhibits displaying a range of uniforms, weapons, metals, and the newest exhibit which displays portraits and posters from Canada’s Afghan Mission

Since 1923 Fort York was designated a National Historic Site joining nine other museums run by the City of Toronto today. The City reopened Fort York Victoria Day 1934 after closing for restoration in 1932. These restorations were done to celebrate the centennial of Toronto’s incorporation in 1834. Fort York National Historic Site has Canada’s largest collection of original military buildings from the era of the War of 1812.

Permanent and changing exhibits welcome and educate you on the origin of York (Toronto). This connects the past to the present.

During summer, the Fort is vibrant with lively colours and the intensity of the Guard as they perform daily with artillery firing, battle tactics, drums and other military music and drills. Visitors to the Fort will find it lively and exciting.

The Gallery is sectioned into four divisions. These divisions define four distinct eras of the Fort’s history. The first is from the beginning of 1793 to the end of the War of 1812. The second represents the time of the British Imperial Garrison between 1815-1870, the third the Canadian Military years of 1870-1930 and the last covers 1932 until now.

One of the first historic buildings you come across is the Canteen Museum Store. Take some time and browse through the merchandise at this quaint shop. There’s many interesting and unusual things for sale, something for everyone. The Canteen has a good selection of merchandise including the CD “To Follow the Drum” which has a variety of military music from the War of 1812 period, hand crafted First Nations jewellery, books, toys, pens, plus foods and preserves prepared right on site.

When visiting expect to spend at least 2 hours.

You can stop and rest at picnic tables and benches lining the walkways within the 7-acre walled area. These are wheelchair accessible, however, the pathway to the cemetery is packed gravel limiting wheelchair use.

Parking is limited so public transit may be less stressful and more convenient. Scroll down for information on how to get to Fort York by TTC from Union Station or Bathurst Station.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: Yes, there is a small entry fee. Children 5 years and under are free.

Currently Closed

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Address: 250 Fort York Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3K9, Canada

Phone: (416) 392-6907

Official Website: Fort York Museum and National Historic Site

Directions

TTC Subway Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Yonge-University-SpadinaUnion Station3 minutes
Bloor-Danforth LineBathurst Station3 minutes

How to get to Fort York Museum and National Historic Site by TTC Subway

From Bathurst Station on the Bloor Street Line take a #511 Bathurst Streetcar south to Fleet Street at Fort York Blvd. Exit and continue west on Fleet Street, then go right onto Fort York Blvd. The entrance to Fort York is via the Visitor Centre just ahead.

From Union Station take a #509 Harbourfront Streetcar west towards the Exhibition grounds then proceed as above.

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Reviews

Rated 4.4 out of 5Fort York National Historic Site Star Rating

5 Star Rating Great historical museum. Buildings are well preserved, easy to explore, and full of interesting information. As an addition, it's fascinating to see such a well preserved historic fort utterly surrounded by gleaming glass skyscrapers.

Ian MacDonald - 5 days ago

5 Star Rating They have really done an amazing job in the new visitors center. The quality of the exhibits are top notch. Plus the staff is the reason to go, friend and knowledgeable and they provide an awesome experience.

David Sutherland - 22 days ago

4 Star Rating It is nice spot to spend a couple hours. The visitor center with the videos exhibit hallway was very cool. They should make batter use of the empty buildings however.

Leandro Freitas - 29 days ago

5 Star Rating I have been loving in this area for more than a year but only visited it a month ago. Be ready to spend at least 1.5 hours to finish visiting all rooms/bungalow/magazines and the information centre. I like the "war time demo tunnel" in the information centre a lot. Pretty interactive telling the timeline of the war.

Yuk Yu, Alison LEE - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating Visited Toronto a number of times and never had the time to pop down to the fort. This all changed in 2015 and the whole family had a great time. They really do provide a variety of activities for young and old, as well as learning about Toronto history and the bravery of its inhabitants. Well worth a visit.

Michael Scott Connolly - 1 month ago

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Enjoy this high definition tour of Fort York National Historic Site in Toronto

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