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 – 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 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 Went there on Simcoe day 2018 and despite it being thoroughly rainy the family enjoyed the venue immensely... our tour was very very informative of our Canadian history and enlightened Yours Truly as to how the city itself was formed not to mention our prior relations with our brothers and sisters down south😉... be sure to take the walkthrough video tour inside the museum or gallery it's kind of cool to see the timeline displayed in video or picture format. At one of the houses if you we were treated to a sampling of some pies that the folks had available to them during that era apparently sugar was quite the commodity. Wrapped the day up with some retail therapy in the pretty well stocked novelty shop even managed to pick up a t-shirt... all in all a good day to be had by I would assume anyone and those interested in our fine City's history. And point of note no one was hurt during the test firing of the artillery in the picture provided 😃

Ferdinand Filardo - 5 days ago

4 Star Rating Well organized. We made an 18 minute YOUTIUBE video of the Fort York including the excellent drummers and the militia. If I was going to recommend anything it would be to have more period people in costume about the place. Definitely worth seeing and in the heart of Toronto.

Thomas Wall - 13 days ago

5 Star Rating I’ve only ever been here for music and art festivals, but arguably that is what this area is best for. Grounds are well groomed, spacious and easy to get to via public transit. The area surrounding is very scenic. It’s a little pocket of green in the middle of a giant city. A little slice of wonder and magic.

Robert Karbaum - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating Great time walking back in time through Fort York. The staff clearly love history and care. They were great at answering our questions and when we mentioned the show Edwardian Farm, they had actually seen it and love it too. It doesn't take very long to walk through, maybe a generous hour and a half so I would recommend going during an event to get the most out of your time here. Was a great experience with Canada's history and I'm excited to visit again during a cooking event.

Andrew Neary - 2 months ago

Video


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

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