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.

Open Now: No

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 4.2 out of 5

4 Star Rating Canadian history

DEL EMG 7Shades - 6 hours ago

5 Star Rating 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 - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating Beautiful spot for festivals, public movie nights, and more. Pretty cool to see the use this spot gets in the summer.

Michael Wilson - 2 months ago

2 Star Rating Great site with an incredible amount of history. Though I experienced a very rude staff member who clearly does not appreciate a 19 year old taking the time to learn about the history of this site. He unfortunately ruined my experience.

Brandon Schaus - 8 months ago

5 Star Rating They have a tour that comes with the 9 dollar price. It was very informative and I liked it. You'll need about 2-3 hours if you want to see and read everything.

Yehuda Menachem - 11 months ago

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