Canada Day – Fort York

Getting there: This is a 10-minute walk from home! That’s my kind of destination.

Fun: We spent Canada Day at home in Toronto, so when we walked by Fort York a couple of days ago and saw it was open for free on July 1, I knew what our plans would be! Fort York is the original British fort built in the late 1700s to defend Toronto, or York as it was then called. I love how it’s now bordered by a freeway, train tracks, and a couple of busy main streets. And it’s not all that intimidating, as summed up nicely by d2 while we were inside it, when he said “I hate to say it, but I don’t really feel very safe here.” I guess a couple hundred years of technology, and the eradication of a few diseases along the way, will change your definition of safety.

On our way there we first passed through one of Toronto’s oldest grave sites, which is actually mostly used as a dog park now, but has remnants of very old tombstones and a nice commemorative plaque. There’s a pic here. Then on to the Fort where they had some soldiers marching around (poor saps – it’s about +30 today), a little military band playing, and all the buildings open. We toured the barracks (which I naively thought were ‘spacious’ until I read that those beds accommodated not 1, but a FEW people. I’m a small person, but no thanks), the kitchen (…creepy…it’s the oldest kitchen in Toronto and it was underground, next to the money safe…pretty sure there were a few ghosts down there….), a little museum that had some information on the Fort’s history and some artifacts they’ve found on the site, along with the history of relations with Natives), the magazine store, and also an Afghanistan Memorial that was pretty sobering. Then we wandered the grounds of the Fort, and even along the upper walls where the cannons are placed. When we walk or run in Toronto, we often come to near the Fort because there are usually groundhogs out and about on the hillside in the mornings. I love watching those guys, and today we got lucky and saw some up way closer than we usually do.

So that was our at home Canada Day adventure for you. Oh Canada! Happy 147th birthday, my home and native land!

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