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A visit to Old Fort Erie, Ontario
Tourism, Travel Guide


Whenever you visit Canada and especially Ontario don't miss to learn something about our history.
This must not be boring and should include more than museums. There are related events width lots of action at historical places such as forts. Old Fort Erie is such a place, even when the name is misleading.
The original fort is long gone and what you find here on the banks of Lake Erie has been reconstructed in the thirties of the last century.
I consider our forts to be an attraction all year long. But unfortunately most of them are only open during summer.
A major event here in Fort Erie is called "The Siege of Fort Erie". Please use our link to this spectacle. We also show one of our first videos. I apologize for all the flaws in it.
When you visit the fort, please join a guided tour. You will learn many interesting things. You can browse through the fort after the tour on your own ant take pictures.

Note: If you are coming from Fort Erie following the shore line of Lake Erie You will not be greeted by a spectacular view of the old Fort, You only will the windowless back wall of the new monstrous new information center.

Hours of business: (Please confirm the actual ones by using the Internet)
April 15 to April 30; Monday to Friday von 9:30AM t 4:00PM for groups only
May 1 to September 4; daily from 10:00AM to 6:00PM for all visitors
September 5 to October 31; daily from 10:00AM to 4;00PM for all visitors
November 1 to November 15; Monday to Friday from 9:30AM to 4:00PM for groups only

Please use all the features offered by Google Maps

Fort Erie, Ontario, tourism, travel guide
The new information center

Fort Erie, Ontario, tourism, travel guide
Where can you sit down?

Fort Erie, Ontario, tourism, travel guide
I was not attracted by this. Obviously others shared my feeling

The previous information center was much smaller and less decorative. The offered food was almost the same and they closed during lunch and dinner time when an event took place. I was told to go to Mc Donald's.

Fort Erie, Ontario, tourism, travel guide
The old information center

Fort Erie, Ontario, tourism, travel guide
The entrance to "Old Fort Erie"

Fort Erie, Ontario, tourism, travel guide
Normally this flag is flying...

Fort Erie, Ontario, tourism, travel guide
but occasionally during certain event also an old US flag - nothing wrong with that!

This is not the original fort. That had been destroyed several times.
The first fort was built in 1764 by the English very close to the lake. Winter storms and ice from Lake Erie destroyed it soon.
These kind of damages occur still to houses built too close to the lake.
1803 it was decided to built a new fort a little bit away from the lake. The construction of this fort was still not completed when the Americans declared in 1812 war to Britain as part of their movement for independence.
Certainly economical interests played also a major role for this war. Naturally the Americans were not able to attack the British Island, but today's Canada seemed to be an easy and strategically important target.
As early as 1813 a British and Canadian crew of the Fort was involved in the first fights and had to abandon it because the American pushed them out. Before they left they destroyed the fort. A very short time later English troops took it back temporarily. They immediately began to reinforce it.
The following year the British lost it again and the Americans proceeded reinforcing it. Up to 4000 men were stationed there. Naturally, the fort could not accommodate all these people. Many of them had to live in tends surrounding the fort.
Many battles in this area were won by the Americans, but they suffered high losses.
After the Americans had withdrawn many troops from the fort the British saw a chance to conquer it, but they failed.
This re-enactment of this battle is being performed every year by many volunteers from Canada and the US during a weekend in August. To get an impression what to expect use the links in our website and watch one of our first videos which we did. I hope this will attract you to experience the "Siege of Fort Erie" in person or to visit at least the "Old Fort".

Fort Erie, Ontario, tourism, travel guide
You will not see that every day

Fort Erie, Ontario, tourism, travel guide
Drill at the Old Fort

Fort Erie, Ontario, tourism, travel guide
Ladies using the court for games

From the court yard in the fort you have access to all the buildings in the fort.
The soldiers were drilled in front of a building which contained mainly the guard-room, the sleeping room for the soldiers and a place for officers who lived very often outside of the fort. A powder magazine was at the end of this building.
Because of the high unemployment to become a soldier was very popular.
They became a salary, food, every day free beer and a portion of rum. Some soldiers were even allowed to bring their wives width them. However, the lucky ones were chosen by lot.
Up to one hundred soldiers had to share the sleeping room. Married couples got some privacy by blankets attached to the ceiling. Nobody was allowed to leave this room during the night so buckets had to be used when nature called. Today you must rush back to the information center to find the required facilities. In an old castle in Germany they provided just a hole in the floor for they same purpose. Everything was discharged to the outside!
The soldiers were allowed to have little gardens outside of the fort to improve the quality of the food.
I was told that the meat was delivered by boat from England. Can you image in which state that arrived? Even when it was protected by lots of salt.

Fort Erie, Ontario, tourism, travel guide
The common sleeping room of the soldiers

Just browse through all the rooms of the fort. There is so much to explore and to learn about the living conditions in the past. Ask questions or read the posted information. If you are lucky there are even some demonstrations.
The officers had certainly a more comfortable life than the rest of the crew. Some of them even did not live in the fort. However, they had to pay out of their own pocket form certain services.
The meal plan was adjusted to the seasons of the year. Ask for details! I think it was much better than what all the fast food chains and the food outlet in the welcome area of the fort offers.
No wonder that all the volunteers who perform the re-enactment of the "Siege of Fort Erie" do their home cooking! The same did also all the participants of other great events which once took place at the "Old Fort". Unfortunately this highlights became obviously part of the past. How can we bring them back? Certainly not by finding excuses or blaming others! Real innovative management is one of the prerequisites.

Fort Erie, Ontario, tourism, travel guide
Officers enjoyed more comfort

Fort Erie, Ontario, tourism, travel guide
The kitchen for the officers

The friendly ladies did real cooking. A mouth watering smell came from a cast iron kettle. Unfortunately, they were not allowed to serve me a free sample or sell me a complete meal. Probably, they had to eat everything by themselves. I wish the owner of a specific restaurant would force his two "chefs" which once prepared a meal for me would force them to do this for one week and pay in addition for it - and the owner had to share the meal with them.
Please do not miss the museum which is also in the main building. When I was there old toys were demonstrated to the children. Believe it or not - they had fun in watching and trying them.

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