Friday, 28 October 2005

Ghosts of the Garrison Walking Tour, Toronto, ON

Tonight Gord and I went on the Ghosts of the Garrison Walking Tour at Fort York.

Fort York is just a couple of blocks from where we live. This week they have been having tours of the Fort at night in honour of Halloween. They started with hot chocolate and ginger bread soldier cookies. Then we moved around the Fort with a guide telling ghost stories. He dropped us off at four different buildings where ghosts tell stories. It was very entertaining and well worth the $10 admission for 2.5 hours of entertainment.

The settlement of modern Toronto began in 1793 when Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe built a garrison on the present site of Fort York. Fearful of war with the United States, Simcoe planned to establish a naval base at Toronto in order to control Lake Ontario. Civilian settlement followed and a community named York began to grow two kilometres east of the fort (York was renamed Toronto in 1834). In 1812, the United States declared war and invaded Canada. On the 27th of April 1813, the U.S. Army and Navy attacked York with 2,700 men on 14 ships and schooners. The defenders put up a strong fight but fell back to Fort York in the face of overwhelming odds, eventually abandoning the fort and town to the enemy. In the autumn of that year, the British returned to Toronto and built the fortification that stands today. Fort York’s cannon and earthworks became obsolete in the 1880s, although the army continued to use the fort for training, barracks, offices and storage until the 1930s. Fort York opened as an historic site museum in 1934. Today, Fort York is home to Canada's largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings.

No comments: