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.

Fort York Museum and National Historic Site Hours:
Opening hours may differ on holidays

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

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

Phone: (416) 392-6907

Official Website: Fort York Museum and National Historic Site

Fort York Museum and National Historic Site Reviews

Rated 4.5 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating Nice Historic Museum in Downtown Toronto. I visited Fort York National Historic Site today on March 10, 2024 at about 03:00 PM. It was a good experience visiting this museum. I was able to see the barracks used by soldiers from 1800s and 1900s. I was also able to learn about the different Army Uniforms, Ships, Guns, and other Ammunitions. There were many paintings and information diagrams depicting historical information. Fort York National Historic Museum was open till 4 pm. Last tour today was at 02:00 pm. Since I had reached at 3 pm, I was not able to join the tour. I travelled from my apartment by bus to Warden Subway Station. Then I got down at Bathurst Subway Station and took the street Car to Fort York intersection. And ftik there I walked to reach the museum, which was about 200 metres from the streetcar stop. I took some photos on my phone Samsung Galaxy A71.
Dawn Narikkattu Mathews - 3 weeks ago

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5 Star Rating what a wonderful place to visit. it is a hidden gem - in a way - while the place is quite visible, the entrance is rather hard to find and away from popular thoroughfares. Admission is free, and guided tours are offered on top of the hour. I really recommend taking a guided tour, it really enriches the experience. the guides are very knowledgeable about history of the site. While most of the original Fort York was destroyed by Americans in 1813, some buildings were restored, while others added. you can see how ordinary soldiers and officers lived, and learn about their everyday activities and pastimes. There are also exhibits displaying archeaological discoveries from the site, uniforms, weapons and guns from the era and many maps. There is also a gift shop. The visitors centre near by is also worth visiting, with interesting temporary displays.
Anna P - 4 months ago

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5 Star Rating I went to Fort York for the Remembrance Day ceremony. This is one of my favourites as they go out of their way to honour those who served in wars as far back as 1812. (Not just the soldiers either) The service was touching as usual and there was a nice reception afterwards in the first with stories of different groups. If you are ever offered the war cake definitely try it, it’s delicious.
Dave Lang - 3 months ago

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5 Star Rating Loved the experience. Got to know about the wars between America and Canada Natives/Britain. The museum gives you a glimpse into the lives of soldiers, arms & ammunition and the defense strategy. They hold periodic parade and shows during the summer and fall time. During summer there is an open theatre movie show which goes on for 3 weeks with 2/3 movies a week. That is a nice experience. It has been made free to visit the historical sites but with some restrictions on timing. Be sure to visit the official site to know the most recent updates on timing and any specific activity scheduled..
Ravi Tater - 3 months ago

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5 Star Rating I really enjoyed my visit. Entrance was free and there was almost nobody there so I got to explore the site and history in peace. Which is actually a really interesting glimpse in the history of Toronto. With the old buildings and walls still in tact or restored. All of this in the middle of the city. It takes an hour or so to fully explore. Definitely recommend!
Stef Cobelens - 8 months ago

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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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