Fort George
April 12, 2019
Fort George

In 1796, the Treaty of Paris was signed, giving Fort Niagara to the Americans. To protect their interests in Upper Canada, the British immediately constructed a fort directly across the Niagara River. By 1802, Fort George had been completed and was the headquarters for the British army, local militia and the Indian Department. Since control of the river supply route was essential to the survival of the forts west of the Niagara region, the new fort guarded the transportation on the Niagara River and protected Navy Hall, a vital warehouse and wharf facility.It was an imposing facility, with six earthen and log bastions linked by a wooden palisade and surrounded by a dry ditch. Inside the walls, there was a guardhouse, log blockhouses, a hospital, kitchens, workshops, barracks, an officers' quarters, and a stone powder magazine. The magazine is the only original building on the property that is still standing.During the War of 1812, Fort George served as the headquarters for the Centre Division of the British Army. These forces included British regulars, local militia, aboriginal warriors, and Runchey's corps of freed slaves. Fort George was where General Sir Isaac Brock was stationed, until his death at the Battle of Queenston Heights in 1812. During the Battle of Fort George in May 1813, Fort George was destroyed by American artillery fire and captured by the Americans. The U.S. forces used the fort as a base to invade the rest of Upper Canada. These battles were unsuccessful, as they were repulsed at the Battles of Stoney Creek and Beaver Dams. After a seven month occupation by the Americans, the fort was retaken in December and remained in British hands for the remainder of the war. After the war, the fort was partially rebuilt, and by the 1820's it was falling into ruins. Fort George was finally abandoned in favour of a more strategic installation at Fort Mississauga and a more protected one at Butler's Barracks.Over the years, the site was used for agriculture, as part of a golf course and by the Canadian Military as a hospital for Camp Niagara. During the 1930's, Fort George was declared a Historic Site and the original plans were used to help in the restoration process. The fort was used by the Canadian Army as a military training base during the First World War and through the Second World War, under the name Camp Niagara. The grounds were eventually abandoned by the military in 1965. Since 1969 Fort George has been maintained by Parks Canada as a National Historic Site. Besides being open to visitors from April to October, the fort also hosts Battle of Fort George re­-enactments.

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