Fort York is a 43-acre national historic site located in the heart of downtown Toronto. Referred to as Toronto’s founding landscape, Fort York National Historic Site is also a Heritage Conservation District, a registered archaeological site, and home to Canada’s largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings.
As a cornerstone that has witnessed over 200 years of change that saw the Town of York evolve into one of the most multicultural and livable cities in the world, Fort York also reveals Toronto’s topographic history, industrial development and rail history. The Fort was built as a defense against invasion, became the focus of a significant battle during the War of 1812, and acted as a deterrent against both internal and external threats.
Time-ticketed HistoricTO walking tours at Fort York National Historic Site is pay-what-you-can, with a suggested donation of $10.
Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Buy your tickets online to book a time slot for your visit.
From Gardiner Expressway eastbound: Take the Jameson exit off the Gardiner Expressway to Lake Shore Boulevard. Continue eastbound on Lake Shore Boulevard, past Exhibition Place, turning left on Fort York Boulevard. North on Fort York Boulevard past Fleet Street. The parking lot is in front of our Visitor Centre, under the Gardiner Expressway, located at 250 Fort York Boulevard. Metered parking; $1.00 per half hour.
From Gardiner Expressway westbound: Take the Spadina exit off the Gardiner Expressway and continue westbound on Lake Shore Boulevard. Turn right at Fort York Boulevard and continue north past Fleet Street. The parking lot is in front of our Visitor Centre, under the Gardiner Expressway, located at 250 Fort York Boulevard. Metered parking; $1.00 per half hour.
Additional Green P parking is available at the corner of Fleet Street and Strachan Avenue. Access this Green P lot via the westbound lane of Fleet Street and turn right onto Garrison Road (Garrison Road is marked by the ‘Old Fort York’ archway). This parking lot can also be accessed from Strachan Avenue. Once parked, visitors can walk along Fleet Street to Fort York Boulevard to the Visitor Centre entrance.
From Bathurst Station: On Line 2, take the Bathurst 511 “Exhibition” bus southbound. Exit at Fleet Street and Bastion Street stop. Walk north along Bastion Street to Fort York Boulevard. Cross the Fort York Boulevard and walk west along Fort York Boulevard to the Visitor Centre.
From Union Station: Take the 509 Harbourfront streetcar westbound towards the CNE Exhibition grounds on Fleet Street. Exit streetcar at Fleet Street and Fort York Boulevard stop. Walk north to the Visitor Centre.
At street level, from the north-east corner of Front St. W. and Bay St.: take the 121 Fort York-Esplanade bus westbound towards the CNE Exhibition grounds, exit at Fort York Boulevard and Fleet street and walk north to the Visitor Centre
From Eglinton West Station: Board the 63 Ossington Bus Southbound. Proceed southbound to Strachan Avenue, south of King Street. Exit the bus at Strachan Avenue and East Liberty Street and walk south towards the Strachan stairs at the west end of Fort York.
For specific TTC route and schedule information call 416-393-4636 (INFO) or visit the TTC website.
From Exhibition GO Station: Take the 509 Harbourfront OR 511 Bathurst streetcar and exit streetcar at Fleet Street and Fort York Boulevard stop. Walk north on the west side of Fort York Blvd to the Fort York Visitor Centre. For specific GO train schedule information visit the GO Transit website.
Bike parking, as well as a Bike Share Toronto station, are located outside the Visitor Centre.
From King and Bathurst ride south on Bathurst Street towards Lake Ontario. Cross the Bathurst (Sir Isaac Brock) Bridge and turn right onto Fort York Boulevard. Follow the Fort York Boulevard bike lane to the Visitor Centre.
From King and Strachan from King Street ride south on Strachan Avenue towards the lake. Turn left at Fleet Street and follow to Fort York Boulevard. Turn left on Fort York Boulevard and ride north to the Visitor Centre.
From the Martin Goodman Trail at Lake Shore Boulevard and Strachan Avenue exit the trail and ride north on Strachan to Fleet Street. Turn left at Fleet Street and follow to Fort York Boulevard. Turn right on Fort York Boulevard and ride north to the Visitor Centre.
Bicycle Parking at Special Events: Many large-scale events (concerts, festivals) will have additional bike parking. Please check with the event for more information on special event bike parking.
The Visitor Centre acts as a hub for the interpretation of the entire 43-acre (17.4-hectare) site, containing permanent and changing exhibits, a Battle of York immersion experience, and facilities for education, research, staff and community use. It opened in the fall of 2014 for the 100th Anniversary Commemoration of the Great War.
The new building is Fort York’s front door, welcoming and orienting visitors, and is located below and just north of the Gardiner Expressway at the entrance to the National Historic Site. Conforming to the Toronto Green Standard, the building provides Fort York’s first secure exhibit space and enables the display of artifacts from the City’s collection that illustrate the history of the city’s founding site.
Exhibit space in Fort York’s Visitor Centre includes:
The Vault, Exhibit Gallery and Orientation Theatre have been designed as Class A museum space, which maximizes our ability to display artifacts from our own collection and to borrow exhibits and artifacts from other institutions.
The Visitor Centre was designed by Patkau Architects Inc., Vancouver, with Kearns Mancini Architects Inc., Toronto. The building’s architecture received a Canadian Architect magazine Award of Excellence in 2011.
Fort York is mainly an outdoor site with walking required between locations. Some structures and exhibits require walking up or down stairs. There are benches on the walkways outside the Canteen Museum Store and adjacent to buildings off pathways. There are also picnic tables on site. Guests should allow at least two hours for their visit to Fort York.
Strollers are welcome at Fort York and are easy to navigate throughout most of the site.
Fort York is committed to providing access for visitors to as many areas of the site as possible. All walkways within the seven-acre walled site are asphalt surfaced and are wheelchair accessible. Some exhibits require walking up or down stairs. The Stone Magazine and the Brick Magazine are not wheelchair accessible. The pathway in the Strachan Ave. cemetery is a packed gravel surface and of limited use for wheelchairs while access to the restored fortification features such as walls, ditches, and dry moats are not wheelchair accessible.
We will provide portable ramps for any edges that need to be negotiated through doorways and assist special needs guests with ramp placement. In cases where a guest cannot access a space, we will provide an interpretive overview upon request (person to person).
Guide dogs and hearing dogs are welcome. Seating can be found in a number of exhibits, outside many of the structures, and in the picnic table area. All washrooms are special needs accessible. Public access washrooms are located in the Visitor Centre, South Soldiers’ Barracks, on the lower floor of the Blue Barracks. The Blue Barracks washroom is accessible via an elevator. Water fountains are located outside and only available seasonally.
Please call 416-392-6907 or email Fort York at firstname.lastname@example.org or specific accessibility questions.
Visitors are allowed to film or photograph the site. Visitors are encouraged to take photographs or use video cameras for your own use. Due to safety, security, and privacy issues, guests are asked to notify interpretive staff of their intent to film or record interpretive and animation experiences.
Commercial filming, photography, and recording are granted by permission only and must be approved in advance of a visit. Staff can connect interested parties with the City’s Film Office.
The Fort York National Historic Site was built in 1793 and is the birthplace of urban Toronto. It is best known as the location where the Battle of York came to its violent climax in 1813 during the War of 1812. The Fort served as the city’s primary harbour defence between the 1790s and the 1880s, and was the home of a military garrison until the 1930s.
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. Fort York was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1923.
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