About this Project

This collection of captioned historical maps explores the complex evolution in use and ownership which has transpired within the area comprising Fort York, and the surrounding Garrison Common.

Background & Context
Blockhouse and battery in Old Fort, Toronto
In early 2013, I created Historical Maps of Toronto, a simple-to-use online collection of significant pre-1900 maps of the city. I happened to mention the site to historian Stephen Otto, who immediately suggested a thematically-related follow-up project: a mutual collaboration with The Friends of Fort York, combining my enthusiasm for old Toronto maps, with his and The Friends’ focused historical knowledge about the Fort and Garrison Common.

The resulting partnership produced this site, which I hope will serve as a congenial entry point to deeper discussion and further investigation, for students, researchers, and casual browsers alike.

As we celebrate—and move beyond—the bicentenary of the Battle of York, it is more critical than ever that we come to recognize the Fort’s historical legacy, and work towards an understanding of its starring role as the birthplace and heart of urban Toronto.

Nathan Ng, June 2013

Sources & Thanks
We are indebted to Joan Winearls, who graciously contributed our overview section regarding maps, and whose Mapping Upper Canada: 1780-1867 is the bibliographic cornerstone for any serious investigation of historical cartography in relation to Upper Canada.

The University of Toronto Map & Data Library very generously contributed image hosting services for this project; thank you especially to Marcel Fortin.

Grateful appreciation is extended to: Archaeological Services Inc., Archives of Ontario, British Library, Canada Science and Technology Museum, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Archives, City of Toronto Archives, City of Toronto Clerk, City of Toronto Museum Services/Culture Division, City of Toronto Works and Emergency Services, DTAH, ERA Architects, Exhibition Place Archives, The Friends of Fort York, The Fort York Foundation, Heritage Toronto, Library and Archives Canada, Library of Congress, The National Archives of the UK, Ontario Ministry of Government Services–Toronto Land Registry Office, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources–Office of the Surveyor General, The Planning Partnership, Queen’s York Rangers Regimental Council, Toronto Public Library, Toronto Terminal Railways, and Waterfront Regeneration Trust, for their kind support and access to their files.

Special thanks and mention to: Chris Andreae, Derek Boles, Linda Cobon, Michael Cook, John Court, Pleasance Crawford, Patrick Cummins, John England, Mike Filey, Patricia Fleming, Richard Gerrard, David Dennis, Derek Hayes, Grant Head, Scott James, Kamran Khan, Jim Lorimer, Carrie Martin, George Martin, Michael McClelland, Gary Miedema, David O’Hara, Elise Paradis, Jason Pushee, Wayne Reeves, Dave Robertson, Ted Smolak, David Spittal, Andrew Stewart, and Alan Walker, for their invaluable input and assistance.

Banner graphic + Inset, above:
Blockhouse and battery in Old Fort, Toronto
C.W. (Charles William) Jefferys (1869–1951)
Government of Ontario Art Collection, 621228

Winearls Mapping Upper Canada Cross-referencing
To facilitate deeper investigation, pre-1867 maps have been annotated (where applicable) with their ‘Winearls no.’ This refers to the corresponding entry number listed in:

Select Bibliography
  • Carl Benn, Historic Fort York: 1793-1993 (Toronto: Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc., 1993)
  • Carl Benn, Fort York: A Short History and Guide (Toronto: City of Toronto Culture, 2007)
  • Charles P. deVolpi, Toronto: A Pictorial Record (Montreal: Dev-Sco Publications Ltd., 1965)
  • Isobel Ganton and Joan Winearls, Mapping Toronto's First Century, 1787-1884: Exhibit Texts (Toronto: Prepared by the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Toronto Library with the assistance of the Community Relations Office, University of Toronto, 1984)
  • Louis Gentilcore and Grant Head, Ontario’s History in Maps. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984)
  • Derek Hayes, Historical Atlas of Toronto. (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., 2008)
  • Edna Hudson, ed., The Provincial Asylum in Toronto: Reflections on Social and Architectural History (Toronto: Toronto Region Architectural Conservancy, 2000)
  • James Lorimer, The Ex: A Picture History of the Canadian National Exhibition (Toronto: James Lewis & Samuel, 1973)
  • Aldona Sendzikas, Stanley Barracks: Toronto's Military Legacy (Toronto: Natural Heritage Books, 2011)
  • Joan Winearls, Mapping Upper Canada 1780-1867: An Annotated Bibliography of Manuscript and Printed Maps (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991)

Feedback & Errata
We would love to hear feedback, as well as reports of any errors or gremlins with the site.

Let us know what you think...