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Fort George - Niagara-on-the-Lake

Fort George was one of the most important landmarks in the batle against U.S. forces during the War of 1812.


During the War of 1812, being at Fort George was an uneasy feeling. You could have been killed at any time.

Fort George

One of the most important landmarks in the batle against U.S. forces, Fort George was the house anxiety built. With concerns over an American invasion growing the British completed the Fort in 1799 to complement Navy Hall as a strategic defence against attack. It was the headquarters for the british Army, local militia, and Indian Department. It wielded six earthen and log bastions, heavily fortified gates, large garrison guns, and a powder magazine with 800 barrels of gunpowder. If anything, it ensured tha Americans simply wouldn't stroll into Upper Canada and plant their flag.

 Bastion At Fort George

When war erupted in 1812, Fort George was the focus. Fierce battles raged throughout, and at one point the powder magazine took a direct hit from red-hot cannonball. It burned through the roof and set fire to the wooden supports. The gunpowder inside, if ignited, would have destroyed much of the Fort. With soldiers abandoning the area, a small party of militiamen led by Captain Vigoreux bravely climbed onto the roof and doused the blaze.

Fort George

Under constant bombardment and far outnumbered, the British garrison was forced to withdraw from Forth george in May, 1813. The Fort was occupied by the Americans throughout that summer and into the fall. In December, the retreating Americans abandoned the Fort and burned it - along with Niagara-on-the-Lake - to the ground.

After the war, Fort George was partially rebuilt by the British, but the emphasis was on the more strategic installations at Fort Mississauga and Butler's Barracks. It fell into ruin during the 1820s.

It stood deserted for more than a century until, in the 1930s, reconstruction began using the original plans. It was opened to the public in 1950, and in 1969 was designated a National Historic Site by Parks Canada.

With more than 100,000 visitors every year, it's one of Niagara-on-the-Lake's top attractions. Employees wear early 19th-century garb, and the sounds and smells effectively bring you back nearly 200 years.

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