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.
Currently ClosedHours 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
Walk around the fort wherever you want. Each building is accessible and has much to see. Great history lessons around every turn. My most memorable things: the rifle so big it should be an artillery weapon; climbing downstairs into the basement of one of the officers’ buildings; the large cannons positioned along the walls; reading about the medics and medical equipment with much of it on display; the video reenactment of the battle; seeing the maps and miniature models of the fort and surrounding area. Lots to explore if you’re curious like me.
Luke .Thomas - 1 month ago
A great walk back into history. Beautifully restored and taken care of this fort offers the story of our rich history. I highly recommend a visit.
Mark Dean - 1 month ago
You get some insight into Toronto's history before confederation, especially with America within spitting distance. While the site seems to have a lot of open space, it's good to keep in mind that during its active use it was full of personnel and equipment.
Andrew McCallum - 1 month ago
I can't say I went for the historic aspect of the site, but it was a great venue for the mini-festival I went to. Plenty of space, some shaded areas to cool off in, etc. A great environment for an event.
Sean Cook - 2 months ago
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 - 4 months ago