Fort York National Historic Site, Canada

Canadian defenses from the War of 1812



CyArk using laser scanning to document a section of Fort York by CyArkCyArk

Expedition Overview

Partnering with Iron Mountain in 2017, CyArk documented Fort York as part of an innovative preservation initiative commemorating “Canada 150.” Using terrestrial LiDAR scanning, photogrammetry, and aerial drone photography, CyArk created a digital record of the eight buildings and surrounding earthworks that make up the site. Site mangers were able to use the data CyArk collected to determine the exact location of a historic ammunition magazine that had been previously unconfirmed. Canadian conservators will continue to use this data to monitor site conditions and help guide archaeological field work in the future. CyArk’s digital model of Fort York’s barracks, magazines, and other military structures provides virtual access to some of Canada’s oldest architectural structures.

A view of the barracks and structures of Fort York with the city of Toronto in the background by CyArkCyArk

Introducing Fort York National Historic Site

While Fort York marks the birthplace of modern day Toronto, Canada, just over 200 years ago the Fort was a territory of British North American. Just a decade after the Revolutionary War, the United States and Britain became embroiled in further tensions resulting in the War of 1812. Fort York, on the shores of Lake Ontario, became the site of a consequential battle in the conflict. British, Canadian, Mississauga, and Ojibway troops defended the fort against 2,700 American soldiers in April 1813. With over three times as many soldiers, the Americans forced the British to retreat. American troops occupied the the city of York for six days, burning down buildings and looting homes. The city of York would remain in the hands of the British at the end of the war, but Fort York’s landscape, marked with original buildings from the war of 1812, remains an important place for understanding colonial influence on the formation of Ontario as a province and Canada as a nation.

View of Fort York's historic buildings from the 19th century surrounded by metropolitan Toronto.

A digital reconstruction of the Brick Magazine showing the inside of the structure at Fort York by CyArkCyArk

Brick Magazine

Soon after the destructive battle at Fort York, British forces began to rebuild the fort, completing a large brick structure that functioned as a powder magazine, housing explosive materials. Constructed in 1815, the building echoes the important role that magazines played at the fort in the Battle of York. As the Americans pushed British forces back from the shores of Lake Ontario, British commander Major-General Sir Roger Sheaffe set the fort's magazine ablaze. The explosion left 250 American soldiers dead or wounded, including severely injuring American Brigadier-General Zebulon Pike. The impact of the explosion left a large crater in the earth, which today is near the Memorial Area at the historic site. This image shows a digital 3D model of the brick magazine created from laser and photographic data that CyArk collected while onsite.

CyArk documents the Fort York National Historic Site with Iron MountainCyArk

Open Heritage 3D by CyArkCyArk

Data from this project is now freely available through Open Heritage 3D.

Download the data from this project.

About Open Heritage 3D

The mission of the Open Heritage 3D project is to:

● Provide open access to 3D cultural heritage datasets for education, research and other
non-commercial uses.

● Minimize the technical, financial and legal barriers for publishers of 3D heritage data.

● Promote discovery and re-use of datasets through standardized metadata and data formats.

● Foster community collaboration and knowledge sharing in the 3D cultural heritage community.

● Share best practices and methodologies for the capture, processing and storage of 3D cultural heritage data

Credits: Story

Learn more by visiting the official website.

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This project was made possible through the generous support of Iron Mountain.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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