Fort York
April 12, 2019
Fort York

This fort was built in 1793 by the British. Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe authorized a garrison on the present site of Fort York. Because of its natural harbour and relative longer distance from the United States, Simcoe thought that Toronto was an ideal site for settlement and defense. Simcoe had decided to make Toronto (which he renamed York) the capital of Upper Canada. The first parliament buildings and the town were established one and a half miles east of the fort, near what is now Parliament Street. Fort York is best known for the climax of the Battle of York 1813, during the War of 1812. On April 27, 1813 combined U.S. army and naval forces attacked York from Lake Ontario, overrunning Fort York. Before abandoning the fort, the British set the powder magazine to blow up, killing or wounding several hundred U.S. soldiers (including General Zebulon Pike). During their five–day occupation, the U.S. destroyed what was left of Fort York and burned the settlement of York, including the Parliament Buildings . Even though the Americans were outnumbered and lost more men in the battle, they defeated the British, Canadian, and First Nations forces. Over the summer, the British garrison returned to York and rebuilt the fortifications, most of which are still standing today. The rebuilt fort was strong enough to withstand a further attempted invasion in 1814. The British Army occupied Fort York from 1793 to the 1850s and transferred it to Canada, which used it until 1932. However, the City of Toronto owned the Fort from 1903 onwards. Fort York was used as a military establishment until 1880, and again during the First and Second World Wars. Today, its defensive walls enclose Canada's largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings. Every year, thousands of people visit the site to explore its fascinating history and enjoy its public programs.

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