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 VisitFee: Yes, there is a small entry fee. Children 5 years and under are free.
Open Now: NoHours 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
|TTC Subway Line||Nearest Station||Walking Time|
|Yonge-University-Spadina||Union Station||3 minutes|
|Bloor-Danforth Line||Bathurst Station||3 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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Ratedout of 5
Historic local recreation of the bastion on which the city was founded. During special events, the fort has displays of memorabilia from not just the War of 1812 but of other eras. The displays within the buildings provide a well self-curated experience about 19th century Upper Canada. Solid context to the replica and authentic artifacts shown within the site. A small museum space located south west of the fort which provides a small abstract to the area during British rule. Located downtown along the Lakeshore adjacent to the Gardiner Expressway, it feels tucked away behind the modern development but keeps the simplicity of the past. While small, it makes a high point to any busy day to wind down and strolling through the archaic features.
Eric Kwan - 12 days ago
It's free, and amazing in itself that this piece of British North American history has survived with so much new construction around it. Definitely worth a visit if you're interested in seeing period military fort.
Stephen Kobus - 21 days ago
Definitely worth doing to learn about the history of Toronto. We attended a ginger baking class for kids where they teach them what it was like before electricity. All the kids got to participate and take home the cookies. While they were baking we visited the buildings. Takes about 2 hours to do.
Colleen Rodericks - 2 months ago
I drove from Wisconsin for a weekend wedding and I wanted to find one historic thing to do for a couple of hours. I have no regrets! The interpretive center had some nice displays and a great immersive battle simulation. The fort itself was well maintained and full of artifacts and displays. I highly recommend a 2 hour visit for to take full advantage of this War of 1812 site.
Benjamin Phelps - 3 months ago
I give them 5 stars but they deserve many more than that. I have always had a great time here! It is worth any price they ask to learn as being among living examples of Fort York life brought to life. Amazing! Loved the history. Great events there too!! Love this place.
TheSoulman007 - 4 months ago