New Fort York
|New Fort York|
|at the mouth of Garrison Creek, Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
The Officers' Mess, the only surviving building of New Fort York
|Type||military base for the settlement|
New Fort York was built to replace Toronto's original Fort York at the mouth of Garrison Creek as the primary military base for the settlement. Unlike the older fort, it was made with limestone instead of wood. And it did not have a wall as protection (which was planned but never built).
The site was once the fortification known as Western Battery where two obsolete 18-pounder guns used to provide protect to Fort York to the east. These guns pre-dated the War of 1812.
Building New Fort
A series of six stone buildings were constructed in what is now the Canadian National Exhibition grounds around 1840 by the Royal Engineers of the British Army with the biggest building being the Officers' Quarters. The two storey Queenston limestone structure cost 19,000 pounds and housed troops following the 1837 Rebellion.
Other features of the fort included:
- five smaller builds for troops and storage
- parading grounds
British troops left the fort in 1870.
Troops stationed at the fort over the years:
- Royal Canadian Rifles
- Seventy-First Highland Light Infantry
- Royal Artillery
- Thirteenth Hussars
- Canadian Permanent Force
- C Company of the School of Infantry
- B Squadron, The Royal Canadian Dragoons
- The Royal Canadian Regiment
The North-West Mounted Police also used the facility for training in the 1870s.
During World War I, the barracks housed German, Austro-Hungarian, and Turkish citizens, who were interned there as enemy aliens. The barracks were last used during World War II when the Canadian troops were stationed there prior to being sent overseas. All the fort's buildings and other exhibition building housed the troops.
Post-World War II
After the war, most of the buildings became vacant. The Stanley Barracks were mostly demolished in 1953. The gates to the barracks (gate doors forged in England in 1839) were salvaged in 1957, however, and were re-erected in Toronto on Kingston Rd. at Guildwood Parkway, at the entrance to Guildwood Village, by the owners of the Guild Inn. where they may still be viewed. Lights replaced the stone globes on the top of the gate posts. The Officers' Mess building can still be found on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition, but it is now vacant.
Today only one of the original buildings survives. The Officers' Quarters, generally called the 'Stanley Barracks', became home to the city–owned Toronto Maritime Museum from 1958 to 1998 before it moved to Harbourfront. The museum has since closed and Stanley Barracks is vacant once again. The Barracks was open one weekend in May 2006 during Doors Open Toronto.
The grounds of the fort were the former home to another a piece of Toronto history; the tugboat Ned Hanlan was on display on the west side of the building, but was not open to the public. In June 2012, she was moved to a new home on Hanlan's Point on the Toronto Islands.
Canadian National locomotive No. 6213 was located on the east side from 1960 until 2009. In 2009, it was moved to Roundhouse Park to become the centrepiece of the Toronto Railway Historical Association's railway museum. The U-2 class Northern-type locomotive, built by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1942, was retired from service in 1959 and given to the City of Toronto in 1960.
Foundations of some of the buildings still survive. A hotel planned adjacent to the site will expose some of the foundations as part of the project. Also, the existing building, Officers Quarter, will be the centrepiece of a new park in CNE, which will include a water feature indicating the former shores of Lake Ontario.
- Steam Locomotive No. 6213
- "Commemorative Plaque's at Exhibition Place" (pdf). Exhibition Place. February 2015. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
- "Hotel In the Garden" (pdf). City of Toronto. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
- "Hotel X (was Hotel in the Garden)". Urban Toronto.
Media related to New Fork York at Wikimedia Commons
- Intention to Designate Under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act - 2 Strachan Avenue (Trinity-Niagara)