I am currently on a work trip to Ontario, Canada. So, an opportunity to see some of the military history sites.
First stop is Fort York, somewhat incongruously situated amongst the skyscrapers of modern Toronto.
It was not always like this. The governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe, ordered the construction of a garrison on the present site of Fort York in 1793. He wanted to establish a naval base to control Lake Ontario because of a war scare with the United States resulting from Britain's alliance to the native people of the Ohio Country, who were engaged in a brutal conflict with the Americans to preserve their territories.
In 1807, Anglo-American relations began to deteriorate again, so the fort was strengthened in 1811. In 1812, the United States declared war and invaded Canada. On 27 April 1813, the U.S. Army and Navy attacked York with 2700 men on fourteen ships and schooners, armed with eighty-five cannon. The defending force of 750 British, Canadians, Mississaugas, and Ojibways had twelve cannon. The British withdrew but blew up the powder magazine causing heavy American casualties.
The British rebuilt Fort York, and in August 1814, it was strong enough to repel the U.S. squadron when it again tried to enter Toronto Bay. In February 1815, word reached York that the War of 1812 had ended the previous December. It was good news: peace had returned, and the defence of Canada against American invasion had been successful.
The fort is very well preserved despite being squeezed between a motorway and the main railway line. But the real strength is the exhibits inside.