Monday, September 19, 2011

Fort York

Alex took the week off instead of just a long weekend for Labor Day, and we got to spend some time relaxing together as a family, taking mornings to go out exploring and late afternoons to head back to the house to relax and work on our own little projects. On Labor Day, we decided to visit Fort York. I remembered a beloved t-shirt from Fort York - ostensibly from an early childhood visit to the historical site back when I lived in Canada - but everything else about it was a blank for me.  Guess I wasn't really into learning about the war of 1812 and 19th century living back then.

I must say, it's funny how revisiting battle sites in a region that America invaded repeatedly reminds a person used to visiting state-side museums, etc., of other perspectives on familiar historical events. On many of the plaques at this War-of-1812 era example of British military architecture, the "invaders" were the Americans.  And in those times, we Americans were invading and occupying the Canadian colonies a lot (and burning and pillaging civilian towns nearby), prompting the British to build Fort York on the North shore of Lake Ontario, to replace several previous forts destroyed by American troops and to protect a vulnerable supply route up the St. Lawrence River.  Sorta' makes a person reflect on our current wars and how there is NO such thing as war without civilian casualties, despite what our leaders might promise us.  But I digress . . . back to my account of our being tourists on Labor Day . . .

One of the soldier's barracks, against the backdrop of modern Toronto (formerly York)

We got to Fort York and back without encountering the worst of the traffic, and it was really just dumb luck; because we hadn't realized until we were almost at the Fort that September 5th was the last day of the Canadian National Exhibition, so  our turning up at York very early and leaving by lunchtime ended up being a brilliant strategy.  We passed traffic jams going the opposite way on both legs of our journey.
I'm afraid there are not many photos of the tons of interesting things we saw and learned about inside the buildings at Fort York, mostly because they were all so very engrossing that I forgot to use the camera.  But, Emily and I plan to return in a few weeks with some of the homeschooling families we recently joined for Pioneer Week; so more tidbits and photos will be forthcoming in an upcoming posting, I hope.


  1. OK, I got sloppy. Just to correct things, "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.