Fort York is a historic site of military fortifications and related buildings on the west side of downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The fort was built by the British Army and Canadian militia troops in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, to defend the settlement and the new capital of the Upper Canada region from the threat of a military attack, principally from the newly independent United States. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1923.
In 1793, Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe authorized a garrison on the present site of Fort York, just west of the mouth of Garrison Creek on the north eastern shore of Lake Ontario. Simcoe recognized Toronto was an ideal site for settlement and defence because of its natural harbour and relative longer distance from the United States. Fort York guards the western (at the time of construction, the only) entrance to the bay. Simcoe had decided to make Toronto (which he renamed York) the capital of Upper Canada, and the government, the first parliament buildings and the town were established one and a half miles east of the fort (near the foot of the present Parliament Street).
Historic Site :
Fort York National Historic Site houses Canada's largest collection of original War of 1812 period buildings. The fort, operated as a museum of the City of Toronto, offers casual visitors and booked groups a number of exciting services year round. During the summer months, the site comes alive with the colour and the pageantry of the Fort York Guard and is complimented with tours by professional historical interpreters. In the off-season months, the fort is busy providing educational programs for booked tour groups including school, scout, guide, and day care groups.
The reclaimed lands to the south of the fort are in the process of being developed, with new condo towers eventually limiting any possible reconnection with Lake Ontario. The cemetery for the fort was located west of the garrison and overgrown with grass and thistles, no effort was made to keep it in good condition. By the late 19th century twenty eight stones or wooden crosses marked graves, but there were hundreds of mounds.The cemetery continued to fall into disrepair and is not part of the present Fort York.