Planning for the new fort began over a dozen years before its erection in 1840-41. As conceived initially, it was to replace the fort of 1813-16 built at the mouth of Garrison Creek. This approach is reflected in the following proposal which shows a pentagonal fortification covering that entire site and requiring the demolition of the earlier fort. It was based upon Fort Wellington near Ostend on the recommendation of Sir James Carmichael Smyth, a Royal Engineer and trusted advisor to the Duke of Wellington who was Master-General of the Ordnance following the Napoleonic Wars. It depended upon filling in the Garrison Creek ravine and diverting the creek’s waters through the fort via pipes and sluices to flush its wastes. Apart from the staggering cost of constructing this proposal, it does not fully address the problem that York was essentially indefensible, or that following the War of 1812, bettering relations between Canada and the U.S. made a return to war unlikely.
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Plan of a Pentagonal Fort containing a casemated Fortified Barrack for 200 Men proposed to be constructed at York, U.C.
[Sgd] George Phillpotts, Capt. R. Engrs. J.R. Wright, Lt. Col. Rl. Engineers Office, Quebec 20th Novr. 1827. E.W. Durnford, Col. Comg. Rl. Engineers Canada.
Image courtesy Library and Archives Canada: NMC23140
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