Fort Rouillé

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Fort Rouillé
Fort Rouille 2008.jpg
Established 1750–1759
Location Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Fort Rouillé or Fort Toronto[1] was a French trading post located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, that was established around 1750 but abandoned in 1759. The fort site is now part of the public lands of Exhibition Place. The fort was built by missionary Father François Xavier Dufaux. It is also the name of a short street, located approximately 1 km (0.62 mi) north of the fort site, that is part of the Dufferin St. streetcar loop.

It was one of three French fortifications in Toronto. The others were:

History[edit]

Its construction was ordered by the Marquis de la Jonquière, then governor of New France, in order to further establish a French presence in the area, and to intercept the trade of Indians travelling towards a British fur-trading post in present-day Oswego. It was a small palisaded fort with a bastion at each of its four corners, and containing five main buildings: a corps de garde, storeroom, barracks, blacksmithy, and a building for the officers. A drawing [1] purported to date from 1749 shows the fort adjacent to Lake Ontario, whereas today it is situated on top of a small hill a hundred metres or so from the lake's current shoreline.

The fort was abandoned and burned by the French garrison in July 1759, who were recalled to reinforce Quebec City from the invading British forces. Vestiges of the fort remained for many years afterwards, but the site was graded over and sodded in preparation for the establishment of the nearby Scadding Cabin in 1879.

The fort was named for Antoine Louis Rouillé, comte de Jouy and French Minister of Marine and Colonies.

Structure[edit]

A wall surrounded the fort with an entrance to the south facing Lake Ontario and a small road (chemin).

The 180 ft x 180 ft fort consisted of five buildings:

  • Smithy
  • Soldiers' Quarters
  • Senior Officers' Quarters
  • Magazine House
  • Kitchen

Fort Rouillé Monument[edit]

Fort Rouillé Monument at Exhibition Place.

In the summer of 1887, a large obelisk was unveiled to mark the spot where the original French-built Fort Rouillé was erected.

The grounds were excavated in 1979 and 1980 by the Toronto Historical Board, and again in 1982 by the Youth Committee of the Toronto Sesquicentennial Board. The outline of the original fort has been marked out in concrete around the obelisk. Two commemorative plaques – one in English, and one in French – are attached to the base of the obelisk, placed there by the Ontario Heritage Foundation. To the north a third plaque commemorates the excavation done on the site, and to the west a fourth plaque commemorates a visit to the site by Bertrand Delanoë, mayor of Paris, on September 6, 2003.

A concrete outline of the original fort is marked on the ground and is visible here.

The obelisk is flanked by a cannon and a mortar, dating from the 1850s. Perhaps ironically, they are all British. A second cannon, present on the west side of the obelisk as recently as 2005, has since been removed.

Plaque[edit]

The English-language plaque erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1957 at the Fort Rouillé monument reads:

The last French post built in present-day southern Ontario, Fort Rouillé, more commonly known as Fort Toronto, was erected on this site in 1750-51. It was established by order of the Marquis de La Jonquière, Governor of New France, to help strengthen French control of the Great Lakes and was located here near an important portage to capture the trade of Indians travelling southeast toward the British fur- trading centre at Oswego. A small frontier post, Fort Rouillé was a palisaded fortification with four bastions and five main buildings. It apparently prospered until hostilities between the French and British increased in the mid-1750s. After the evacuation of other French posts on Lake Ontario, Fort Rouillé was destroyed by its garrison in July 1759.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°37′50.23″N 79°25′24.80″W / 43.6306194°N 79.4235556°W / 43.6306194; -79.4235556