Thursday, July 29, 2021

Stanley Barracks in Toronto at Hotel X

I have passed by the Stanley Barracks site in Exhibition Place many, many times not knowing what the heck the building was. At one time the tugboat Ned Hanlan was in front of the bland, block building before it was moved to Hanlan's Point on the Toronto Islands. I have yet to go into the building but I have been on the front yard a few times - it was a favourite place for Toronto Argonauts tailgate parties. Post military the building itself has been Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, then the Hockey Hall of Fame and finally a Maritime Museum (hence the tugboat).

Anyways, after exploring the fancy, white gazebo built over an entranceway into Hotel X, just east of Stanley Barracks and seeing the exposed archaeological site of the East Enlisted Men's Barracks, I decided to check out the historic plaque in front of the barracks building. The blue sign says, "The British army established a military post here in 1840-41 to replace aging Fort York. Known as the new Fort, it consisted of seven limestone buildings around a parade square, and a number of lesser structures. Massive defensive works were planned for the perimeter but never built. In 1893 the fort was renamed Stanley Barracks in honour of Governor General Lord Stanley. Canadian forces assumed responsibility for the post in 1870 and garrisoned it until 1947. The barracks then served as public housing until the early 1950s, when all but this building, the Officer's Quarters, were demolished."

Hotel X included the exposed ruins of the enlisted men's barracks into their site in 2012, at the request of the City of Toronto.

Stanley Barracks Officer's Barracks

The original Fort York, some 5km to the east and beside the Gardiner Expressway, was built in 1793 and in the early 1800s were found to be lacking and replaced with the New Fort York.  From the Fort York website, "Between 1932 and 1934, the City of Toronto restored Fort York to celebrate the centennial of the incorporation of the city in 1834. On Victoria Day 1934, Fort York opened as a historic site museum. Today, its defensive walls surround Canada's largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings. Even the older part of the one reconstructed building on the site, the Blue Barracks, contains a significant amount of 1814-period material and is an interesting example of the efforts made during the Great Depression to create employment by restoring and rebuilding historic sites. The grounds of the fort and the surrounding land encompass part of the 1813 battlefield, remnants of Toronto's late eighteenth-century landscape, and at least two military cemeteries. Below the soil of the fort lies a vast archaeological resource, capable of significantly expanding our understanding of life in the earliest years of Toronto's settlement."

The new fort or garrison included a large parade square, two enlisted men's barracks along with an officer's barracks (the only one still remaining in one piece) as well as four other buildings. You can only see the officer's barracks and the ruins of one enlisted men's barracks at this time, all of the other buildings are either gone or still buried beneath the asphalt and concrete of exhibition Place.
The ornamental canopy and walkway over the ruins leading into Hotel X
Remains of the foundations of the enlisted men's barracks

Regimental crests of the units stationed at the New Fort York displayed on the canopy

Related Posts by Categories

Widget by Hoctro | Jack Book

No comments:

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square