Fort York (1)
Fort York (1) (1793-1934) - A British colonial fort established in 1793 after the American Revolutionary War in the present day City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Captured and destroyed by American forces in the War of 1812. Rebuilt after the War of 1812, abandoned in 1934. Also known as Stanley Barracks.
Fort York History
Colonel John Graves Simcoe ordered the construction of a fortification at the current site of Fort York in 1793. His plan was to establish a naval base and to move the capital of Upper Canada from Niagara to Toronto, renaming Toronto to York in the process. The fortification was built and the capital moved but the Lake Ontario Squadron was based in Kingston not in York. The initial fort was log built and was soon replaced with a new barracks for the garrison.
War of 1812 (1812-1814)
In 1811 the fortification was rebuilt in anticipation of a conflict with the U.S. The conflict came to York on 27 Apr 1813 when the U.S. Army and Navy attacked the capital of Upper Canada. The British military commander Major General Sir Roger Sheaffe put up a stout defense but when he was forced to retreat from Fort York he blew up the powder magazine. The blast caught the Americans by surprised and some 250 were killed or wounded by the blast alone. An American field commander, Brigadier General Zebulon Pike, was among those officers killed in the blast. American casualties from the attack numbered some 55 killed and 265 wounded. British casualties are in dispute but one source indicated that some 82 were killed, 43 wounded, 274 captured and seven missing (475 total). In the evacuation, the militia got left behind and they surrendered the city.
There was anger over the losses and the Americans grew impatient over the time taken to ratify the terms of surrender. Two days of plundering the city and burning government buildings resulted and they did not leave the city until 8 May 1813. The American depredations on the Capital of Upper Canada set the stage for the later British attack and burning of Washington DC.
American forces made several more successful attacks on York but by August 1814 the Fort was rebuilt and garrisoned by enough soldiers to repel an attack on that date. The war ended 24 Dec 1814 with the Treaty of Ghent.
On 1 Jul 1867 the Dominion of Canada was formed and in 1870, the Canadian government assumed responsibility for Fort York and the harbor defenses. The Canadian government used the fort for training, barracks, offices, and storage until the 1930s. In 1934 Fort York opened as a National Historic Site. Parts of the post were used by the military during World War II.
Must see! Fort York National Historic Site, City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.