Canadian forts to visit

Journey into the past with a visit to these historic Canadian forts.

Forts across Canada provide a journey into the past, evoking an era of exploration and settlement – when new Canadians fought the elements to survive, and soldiers were responsible for keeping the peace in the colonies. Here are four you won’t want to miss due to their focus on different aspects of Canadian history. All are designated National Historic Sites.

Fort Anne
Fort Anne is located in the town of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia on the oldest town street in Canada. The fort is one of the oldest in Canada. The site itself has been fortified since 1620 when the Scots built Charles Fort. After the colony of Nova Scotia reverted to France (as Acadie) in the 16302, the French took over, building the first of four forts. The Vauban earthwork which still stands today was begun in 1702. Some of the features for the tourist today include:
• a copy of the Nova Scotia Charter from
• information about the early Scottish presence;
• archaeological evidence of the site of the first French fort
• artifacts uncovered at Melanson Settlement National Historic Site of Canada
• mannequins attired in period costumes
• depictions of the Mi’kmaq involvement in the French/English struggle for control of Acadia
• an excellent model of the fort in 1710 during the French period, prior to the English capture of the fort

This fort is a great place to visit to get a feel for the earliest roots of Canadian heritage and culture, particularly the Maritimes.

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Fort George
Fort George is located in the beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake area of Ontario. Begun shortly after the British ceded Fort Niagara to the United States in 1796, the fort was completed in 1802. During the War of 1812, Fort George served as the headquarters for the Centre Division of the British Army, until it was destroyed by American artillery fire and captured during the Battle of Fort George in May 1813. The U.S. forces used the fort as a base to invade the rest of Upper Canada. After a seven month occupation, the fort was retaken in December and remained in British hands for the remainder of the war. After the war, the fort was partially rebuilt, but by the 1820s was falling into ruin. During the 1930s, the original plans of the Royal Engineers guided the reconstruction of Fort George as a National Historic Site.

This fort is a true slice of Upper Canada, providing a particular look at border skirmishes and the war of 1812.

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Fort Walsh
Established in 1875, Fort Walsh became the most important, largest and most heavily armed fort garrisoned by the North West Mounted Police during their early years in the West. From this base, the Mounties chased whiskey traders and horse thieves; counselled desperate Native peoples dispirited by the disappearance of the buffalo; and supervised the thousands of Lakota refugees whose influx from the United States during the Great Sioux War of 1876-1877 – a crisis that would stretch the fragile resources of the Canadian prairies to the point of crisis.