Fort Rouillé

Fort Rouillé and Fort Toronto[1] were French trading posts located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Fort Rouillé was named for Antoine Louis Rouillé, who at the time of its establishment around 1750 was Secretary of State for the Navy in the administration of Louis XV. It served as a trading post with the local indigenous peoples.

The fort was abandoned in 1759 due to the turbulence of the Seven Years' War.[2] The remains of the fort were demolished in the 19th century. The fort site is now part of the public lands of Exhibition Place. It is marked by an obelisk, the outline of the fort marked in concrete and several cannon.

Fort Rouillé
Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ontario in Canada
Artist's impression of Fort Rouillé, near the current site of the CNE, Toronto
Depiction of Fort Rouillé, c. 1750s
Fort Rouillé is located in Toronto
Fort Rouillé
Fort Rouillé
Coordinates43°37′50.23″N 79°25′24.80″W / 43.6306194°N 79.4235556°WCoordinates: 43°37′50.23″N 79°25′24.80″W / 43.6306194°N 79.4235556°W
TypeTrading post
Site information
OwnerKingdom of France
Controlled by New France
Site history
In use1750–59
FateDemolished (1759)


During late-17th and 18th century, the area surrounding Toronto was frequently used by the French traders as a short cut to the upper Great Lakes and the area north of Toronto.[3] In an attempt to secure the trade route from the English/British, the French established Magasin Royal, a trading post along the Humber River, near Baby Point. Completed in 1720, the trading post was abandoned shortly after the British fort in Oswego, New York was completed, as it diverted trade away from Magasin Royal.[4]

In 1750, the French built another fort near the mouth of the Humber River, with the intention of diverting aboriginals using the Toronto Carrying-Place Trail from proceeding to the British in Fort Oswego. Known as Fort Toronto, the fort saw immediate success, with demand outstripping the supply of goods the Fort was able to provide.[4] Fort Toronto was built on the orders of Pierre Robineau de Portneuf, was located west of Grenadier Pond next to Jean-Baptiste Rousseau's home at the start of the Toronto Carrying-Place Trail in 1750. This encampment is typical of other New France installations in that it commands an old riverine trade route.

The success of Fort Toronto persuaded the Governor General of New France, Jacques-Pierre de Taffanel de la Jonquière, Marquis de la Jonquière to order the construction of a larger fort, with more trading capacity and military potential, in an effort to consolidate its hold of the region, and its trade routes. Fort Rouillé, located in present-day Exhibition Place was completed in the spring of 1751.[4]

Forts in 1750
A map depicting British and French fur trading posts near Lake Ontario, 1750. Fort Rouillé is visible on the northwest portion of Lake Ontario.

Its construction was ordered in order to further establish a French presence in the area, and to intercept the trade of indigenous people travelling towards a British fur-trading post in present-day Oswego. According to a report of the Abbé Picquet, the indigenous people received a larger amount of silver for their beavers at Oswego. Although they preferred French brandy, this was not enough to dissuade the natives from going to Oswego.[5] "To destroy the trade there, the King's posts ought to have been supplied with the same goods as Chouegen (Oswego) and at the same price."[6] Learning that the indigenous people travelled south along the Toronto Carrying-Place Trail, the decision was made to locate the fort at Toronto.[6]

The new fort was named for Antoine Louis Rouillé, Comte de Jouy and French Minister of Marine and Colonies[7] from 1749–1753.

Abbé Picquet visited Rouillé in 1752. He found good bread and wine there and it was better-equipped than other outposts. The Mississaugas there expressed a wish for Picquet to build a church there; they had only been built a canteen. Picquet had worked among the Iroquois south of the lake and the Mississaugas felt that the Iroquois had been better treated.[8]

In 1756, war was declared between Britain and France. In 1757, with the garrison elsewhere, the Mississaugas looted the fort. A message was sent to Fort Niagara and the French returned the next day to take back the fort. The Mississaugas confessed to the plot, saying that they thought the French had been driven out and they were taking items away from the British. According to a report of a Captain Pierre Pouchot, he believed that they had only wanted the French brandy.[9]

In 1758, the order was given to reinforce Fort Niagara and all men and loyal natives were called to defend it. The fort continued to operate until 1759, during the Seven Years' War. The fort's garrison was instructed to evacuate and burn Fort Rouillé should Fort Niagara be captured. Following the French defeat at Fort Niagara in July 1759, the garrison at Fort Rouillé burnt down the fort, and withdrew to Montreal.[4] After the fall of Fort Niagara in July 1759, the British under Lieutenant Francis came to Rouillé and found only burnt timbers.[9]

After the destruction of Fort Rouillé no attempt was made to re-establish a settlement in the vicinity until more than thirty years later, when Governor Simcoe laid down the foundations of York in 1793, four miles east of the French stockade.[10]


A first-hand account of the fort describes the fort. "The fort of Toronto was at the end of the bay, on the side which is quite elevated and covered by flat rock, so that vessels cannot approach within cannon shot. This fort or post was a square about 180 feet on a side externally with flanks of fifteen feet. The curtains formed the buildings of the fort. It was very well built, piece upon piece, but was only useful for trade. A league west of the fort is the mouth of the Toronto river, which is of considerable size. The river communicates with Lake Huron by a portage of 15 leagues, and is frequented by the Indians, who come from the north." [11]

It was a small palisaded fort with a bastion at each of its four corners. The 180 by 180 feet (55 m × 55 m) fort consisted of five buildings: a corps de garde, storeroom, barracks, blacksmithy, and a building for the officers. A drawing [1] purported to date from 1749 shows the fort adjacent to Lake Ontario. Today the location is a hundred metres or so from the lake's current shoreline, which has been infilled.

A wall surrounded the fort with an entrance to the south facing Lake Ontario and a small road (chemin). Captain Gother Mann showed the layout in his map, "Plan of the Proposed Toronto Harbour," dated December 6, 1788. The map shows five buildings in the stockade as well as the bounds of the quadrangle enclosed by the palisades.[12]


York Pioneers Cabins & Cairn 1880
View of cairn marking location of fort near York Pioneer cabins in 1880

Vestiges of the fort remained for many years afterwards. When Toronto secured part of the garrison common for the Toronto Industrial Exhibition, the fort site's mounds were levelled and some depressions filled in. To mark the spot, a large granite boulder was dredged up from the bay, inscribed "This cairn marks exact spot of Fort Rouile, commonly known as Fort Toronto, an Indian Trading Post and Stockade. Established 1749 AD, by the order of the government of Louis XV in accordance with the recommendations of the Count de la Galissonniere, Administrator of New France 1717–1749. Erected by the Corporation of the City of Toronto, 1878."[9] In the summer of 1887, a large obelisk was unveiled to mark the spot where the original French-built Fort Rouillé was erected. The site is now part of Exhibition Place.

The grounds were excavated in 1979 and 1980 by the Toronto Historical Board, and again in 1982 by the Youth Committee of the Toronto Sesquicentennial Board. The outline of the original fort has been marked out in concrete around the obelisk. Two commemorative plaques – one in English, and one in French – are attached to the base of the obelisk, placed there by the Ontario Heritage Foundation. To the north, a third plaque commemorates the excavation done on the site, and to the west, a fourth plaque commemorates a visit to the site by Bertrand Delanoë, mayor of Paris, on September 6, 2003. A concrete outline of the original fort is marked on the ground.[13].

Fort Rouille Monument - CNE Grounds, Toronto (September 1 2005)
The Fort Rouillé monument at Exhibition Place marks the location of Fort Rouillé

The obelisk is flanked by a cannon and a mortar, dating from the 1850s. They are all British. A second cannon, present on the west side of the obelisk as recently as 2005, has since been removed.

There is a short street, Fort Rouille Street, located approximately 1 km (0.62 mi) north of the fort site accessible from Springhurst Avenue. The street at one time extended south to the fort site.


The English-language plaque erected by the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1957 at the Fort Rouillé monument reads:

The last French post built in present-day southern Ontario, Fort Rouillé, more commonly known as Fort Toronto, was erected on this site in 1750–51. It was established by order of the Marquis de La Jonquière, Governor of New France, to help strengthen French control of the Great Lakes and was located here near an important portage to capture the trade of Indians travelling southeast toward the British fur- trading centre at Oswego. A small frontier post, Fort Rouillé was a palisaded fortification with four bastions and five main buildings. It apparently prospered until hostilities between the French and British increased in the mid-1750s. After the evacuation of other French posts on Lake Ontario, Fort Rouillé was destroyed by its garrison in July 1759.

See also


  1. ^ Urban Change in Toronto: A Timeline
  2. ^ Peppiatt, Liam. "Chapter 31A: Fort Rouille". Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto Revisited.
  3. ^ Seputis, Jasmine (14 October 2015). "'Tarontos Lac': Geographer finds oldest known reference to Toronto on 340-year-old French map". CBC News. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Levine, Adam (2015). The Carry Place. Toronto: Biography of a City. Douglas & McIntyre. pp. 11–12. ISBN 1-7710-0022-8.
  5. ^ Scadding 1873, p. 5.
  6. ^ a b Scadding 1873, p. 6.
  7. ^ Peppiatt, Liam. "Chapter 31A: Fort Rouille". Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto Revisited.
  8. ^ Scadding 1873, p. 8.
  9. ^ a b c Robertson 1894, p. 70.
  10. ^ Peppiatt, Liam. "Chapter 31B: Fort York". Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto Revisited.
  11. ^ Peppiatt, Liam. "Chapter 31A: Fort Rouille". Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto Revisited.
  12. ^ Peppiatt, Liam. "Chapter 31A: Fort Rouille". Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto Revisited.
  13. ^ google maps view


External links

1759 in Great Britain

Events from the year 1759 in Great Britain. This year was dubbed an "Annus Mirabilis" due to a succession of military victories in the Seven Years' War against French-led opponents.

Battle of Fort Niagara

The Battle of Fort Niagara was a siege late in the French and Indian War, the North American theatre of the Seven Years' War. The British siege of Fort Niagara in July 1759 was part of a campaign to remove French control of the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley regions, making possible a western invasion of the French province of Canada in conjunction with General James Wolfe's invasion to the east.

Exhibition Place

Exhibition Place is a publicly owned mixed-use district in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located by the shoreline of Lake Ontario, just west of downtown. The 197-acre (80 ha) site includes exhibit, trade, and banquet centres, theatre and music buildings, monuments, parkland, sports facilities, and a number of civic, provincial, and national historic sites. The district's facilities are used year-round for exhibitions, trade shows, public and private functions, and sporting events.

From mid-August through Labour Day each year, the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), from which the name Exhibition Place is derived, is held on the grounds. During the CNE, Exhibition Place encompasses 260 acres (1.1 km2), expanding to include nearby parks and parking lots. The CNE uses the buildings for exhibits on agriculture, food, arts and crafts, government and trade displays. For entertainment, the CNE provides a midway of rides and games, music concerts at the Bandshell, featured shows at the Coliseum, and the Canadian International Air Show. The fair is one of the largest and most successful of its kind in North America and an important part of the culture of Toronto.

The buildings on the site date from the 1700s to recent years. Five buildings on the site (the Fire Hall/Police Station, Government Building, Horticulture Building, Music Building and Press Building), were designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1988. The grounds have seen a mix of protection for heritage buildings along with new development. The site was originally set aside for military purposes and gradually given over to exhibition purposes. One military building remains.

History of Toronto

The history of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, begins approximately 12,500 years ago, when the Laurentide Ice Sheet, a continental glacier that covered northeastern North America, retreated from the area of present-day Toronto. Soon afterward small groups of Indigenous people moved into the area to hunt animals such as caribou. Archaeological finds in the area have included artifacts of First Nations dating back several thousand years. Prior to 1000 AD, the Wyandot people were likely the first group to live in the area, followed by the Iroquois. When Europeans first came to Toronto, they found a small village known as Teiaiagon on the banks of the Humber River. Between visits by European explorers, the village was abandoned by the Iroquois, who moved south of Lake Ontario and the Mississaugas, a branch of the Ojibwa settled along the north shore of the lake.

The French first set up trading posts in the area, including Fort Rouillé in 1720, which they abandoned as the British conquered French North America. In 1786, Lord Dorchester arrived in Quebec City as Governor-in-Chief of British North America. His mission was to solve the problems of the newly landed Loyalists from the United States after the US War of Independence. At first, Dorchester suggested opening the new Canada West as districts under the Quebec government, but the British Government made known its intention to split Canada into Upper and Lower Canada. Dorchester began organizing for the new province of Upper Canada, including a capital. Dorchester's first choice was Kingston, but was aware of the number of Loyalists in the Bay of Quinte and Niagara areas, and chose instead the location north of the Bay of Toronto, midway between the settlements and 30 miles (48 km) from the US. Under the Imperial policy of the time, namely the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which was rooted in Roman Law, Dorchester arranged to purchase the lands from the Mississaugas. A provisional Upper Canada government was set up in Newark (today's Niagara-on-the-Lake) in 1791.

In 1793, Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe moved the capital of Upper Canada to Toronto, which he named York, not wanting an aboriginal name. Simcoe originally planned for York to be a city and military outpost and to set up a capital in the area of London, Ontario, but he abandoned the plan and York was named the permanent capital in 1796. The Mississaugas set up a settlement reserve in the area of Port Credit to the west of York and eventually moved further to the west.

Simcoe only lived in York for three years, but he directed its initial settlement on a gridiron layout near the mouth of the Don River. In 1797, the garrison which became Fort York was built at the entrance to Toronto Harbour. Tensions between the British and Americans persisted and war broke out in 1812. In 1813, the garrison was attacked and overrun by the Americans forcing the British to retreat. In a parting blow, General Roger Sheaffe ordered the grand magazine, a timber structure on the shore of Lake Ontario packed with 30,000 pounds of gunpowder, 30,000 cartridges, 10,000 cannonballs and numerous musket balls, be torched to prevent it falling into American hands. The blast, powerful enough to perforate eardrums and hemorrhage the lungs of some American soldiers massed outside the Fort was said to have rattled windows 50 kilometres across the lake in Niagara. The Americans, who lost their commanding officer in the explosion, proceeded to sack the town and burn down the government buildings but did not take possession of York. Peace came after only two years of the war which ended in a stalemate. During peacetime, York steadily grew in population, although its infrastructure lagged, leading to the nickname of "Muddy York". As the village grew, tensions grew between the ruling class in York and growing merchant and worker classes who advocated for reforms. York was incorporated and renamed Toronto in 1834, leading to the first Toronto elections. Toronto's first mayor William Lyon Mackenzie, a reformer, persisted in his efforts to reform Upper Canada, culminating in his organization of a rebellion in 1837. Upper Canada forces defeated the rebels, and Mackenzie and others fled to the United States.

Peace again returned to Toronto and the city steadily grew during the 19th century, a major port of distribution as Upper Canada was settled. Toronto businesses grew including the meat packing business, leading to the nickname of "Hogtown". Toronto continued to grow by annexing outlying villages up until the early 1900s. After World War II, another major influx of immigrants came to the region, leading to the growth of numerous suburban villages. However, the suburban villages did not have the tax base to build the infrastructure to support the growth in population. To support the suburban growth, the Government of Ontario set up Metropolitan Toronto, a regional government encompassing Toronto and its suburbs, in 1954. The regional government built roads, water treatment and highways in Toronto, although the central city remained the largest municipality and occasionally defeated regional projects, such as the Spadina Expressway and other expressways and the clearing of the Toronto Islands. In the second half of the 20th century, Toronto surpassed Montreal as Canada's largest city and became the economic capital of the country. In 1998, the "megacity" of Toronto was formed by the dissolution of the regional government and the amalgamation of the Toronto municipalities into one municipality.

In the 21st Century, Toronto has integrated the core and the suburbs under one government, although many bylaws enacted by the former municipalities remain in effect. A division has persisted between the interests of those who live in the former suburbs and those of the central core. The central core has seen unprecedented office growth and residential growth, particularly of condominium apartments, while the former suburbs and further outlying suburbs have seen the bulk of new industrial investment. A major metropolis of just over 2.8 million people, Toronto is also one of the most ethnically diverse in the world. All of this growth took place on the lands of the original Toronto Purchase, of which final agreement was only finally reached between the Mississaugas and the Government of Canada in 2010.

Humber Bay

Humber Bay is a bay of Lake Ontario south of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located between Ontario Place on the east and Mimico Creek to the west. The bay gives its name to Etobicoke's Humber Bay neighbourhood.

List of French forts in North America

This is a list of forts in New France built by the French government or French Chartered companies in what later became Canada, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and the United States. They range from large European-type citadels like at Quebec City to tiny fur-trade posts.

Magasin Royal

Magasin royal ("royal store") was the name given to a trading station under the purview of the King of France. It also applied specifically to two trading stores built along the Humber River by French fur traders in 18th-century in the area of today's Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The first trading store was built in 1720 near present-day Baby Point along the Humber River at Old Mill. It was built by Philippe Dagneau dit Douville, sieur de la Saussaye, and is commonly known as Fort Douville. The wooden magazine was similar to the one built in Lewiston, New York (likely the French forts or trading post located now in Fort Niagara). The two-storey wood structure had a barricade and was home to three traders from June to July 1750. The lack of other records suggests that there was no permanent settlement in the Toronto area between 1730 and 1750.From fall of 1750 to April 1751 a larger royal store was built along the Humber, this time at the mouth of the waterway with Lake Ontario. It is commonly referred to as Fort Portneuf after the French military officer who had been instructed to build the fort, Pierre Robineau de Portneuf (1708-1761). This fort was very successful in trading with the first nations and plans were made to build another, larger, trading post on the shores of Lake Ontario, to the east of the Humber River. It was in operation until 1759 and was named Fort Rouillé. Portneuf was the first commandant of Rouillé. All three forts disappeared and only the last fort, Fort Rouillé is still remembered today.

For a time after the defeat of the French, Canadian-born French Canadian fur trader Jean-Baptise Rousseau (1758-1812) lived in a house at Portneuf from 1792. After the establishment of Upper Canada in 1793, the land along the east bank of the Humber was reserved for timber for the saw mill. Rousseau accepted a land grant at Head of the Lake near Ancaster in 1795 and moved his family there to continue his trading with the first nations peoples.

New Fort York

New Fort York was a military base in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was built to replace Toronto's original Fort York at the mouth of Garrison Creek as the primary military base for the settlement. Unlike the older fort, it was made with limestone, instead of wood, and it did not have a wall as protection, which was planned but never built. One building remains, the officer's mess remains standing today.

Outline of Toronto

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Toronto:

Toronto – largest city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. Toronto is a relatively modern city. Its history begins in the late 18th century, when the British Crown purchased its land from the Mississaugas of the New Credit.

Pays d'en Haut

The Pays d'en Haut (French: [pɛ.i dɑ̃ o]; Upper Country) was a territory of New France covering the regions of North America located west of Montreal. The vast territory included most of the Great Lakes region, expanding west and south over time into the North American continent as the French had explored. The Pays d'en Haut was established in 1610 and dependent upon the colony of Canada until 1763, when the Treaty of Paris ended New France, and both were ceded to the British as the Province of Quebec.

Pierre Pouchot

Captain Pierre Pouchot (April 8, 1712 – 1769) was a French military engineer and officer in the French regular army.

He was born at Grenoble, France, son of a merchant. In 1733 he joined the regular army as a volunteer engineer and on May 1, 1734 was appointed a second lieutenant in the Regiment de Bearn. He later served in Italy, Flanders, and Germany and became an assistant adjutant within ten years. In the War of the Austrian Succession his engineering service won distinction and he received the Cross of the Order of St. Louis and in September, 1748 a Captain's commission.

In 1754 during the French and Indian War his regiment was selected for service in Canada. He arrived at Fort Frontenac in July, 1755 and then was sent to Fort Niagara to improve its defenses.

In July and August, 1756 he assisting in laying out the siege works in the Battle of Fort Oswego.

After came construction in Montreal, then Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Frontenac. He was then given command of Fort Niagara (and Pouchot arrived briefly in Fort Rouillé in 1757, a settlement that eventually ended in British hands and is now known as Toronto). In October 1757, he was removed from his command at Fort Niagara and rejoined his regiment in Montreal. He was dispatched again as commander of Fort Niagara in March, 1759.

He died May, 1769 on Corsica as a military engineer.

Pierre Robineau de Portneuf

Pierre Robineau de Portneuf, was an officer in the colonial regular troops. He was born on August 9, 1708 in Montreal, Quebec, second son of René Robineau de Portneuf and Marguerite Daneau de Muy, He married Marie-Louise Dandonneau Du Sablé on April 22, 1748. He died November 15, 1761 in the shipwreck of the Auguste off Cape Breton Island.

Scadding Cabin

Scadding Cabin (or Simcoe Cabin) is a 1794 log cabin in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was built by John Scadding and is the oldest known surviving house in Toronto.

St. Lawrence, Toronto

St. Lawrence is a neighbourhood located in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The area, a former industrial area, is bounded by Yonge, Front, and Parliament Streets, and the Canadian National railway embankment. The Esplanade off Yonge St., lined with restaurants, cafés and hotels runs through the middle of the area. In previous times, the area was sometimes referred to as 'St. Lawrence Ward' or more often today as 'St. Lawrence Market', synonymous with the large retail vendor market which is the neighbourhood's focal point. The area is the site of a large city-sponsored housing project of the 1970s, which revitalized an old 'brownfields' area. The boundaries of the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association and the St Lawrence Market BIA are somewhat larger than those noted above. Both groups have boundaries that extend from Yonge to Parliament Streets and Queen Street East to the rail corridor.

The Esplanade (Toronto)

The Esplanade is an east-west street along the central waterfront of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Originally conceived as a city beautification project to clean up the city's waterfront in the 1850s, the street was taken over by the coming of the railways to Toronto in 1850. The railway eventually moved to an elevated viaduct, leaving only the eastern section of the street today. The area, east of Yonge Street, was dominated by industrial uses until the second half of the 20th Century. As the harbour declined as a transfer point, the railway and industrial uses left the area. The Esplanade was redeveloped into a residential area, known as the "St. Lawrence Neighbourhood" in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This neighbourhood consists of generally low-rise and mid-rise housing - condominiums, public housing, cooperatives and some town homes betweenJarvis and Parliament Street south of Front Street. In the blocks between Jarvis and Parliament the southern part of the street (and the former rail tracks) - were converted to a long strip of park and recreation space for the residents - David Crombie Park. The stretch between Scott Street and Market Street is a popular restaurant area.

Timeline of Toronto history

This timeline of the history of Toronto documents all events that occurred in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, including historical events in the former cities of East York, Etobicoke, North York, Old Toronto, Scarborough, and York. Events date back to the early-17th century and continue until the present in chronological order.

In this timeline, the name Toronto refers to the former city of Toronto in events listed before 1998.

Toronto Carrying-Place Trail

The Toronto Carrying-Place Trail, also known as the Humber Portage and the Toronto Passage, was a major portage route in Ontario, Canada, linking Lake Ontario with Lake Simcoe and the northern Great Lakes. The name comes from the Mohawk term toron-ten, meaning "the place where the trees grow over the water", an important landmark on Lake Simcoe through which the trail passed.

From Lake Ontario, the trail ran northward along the eastern bank of the Humber River. It forked at Woodbridge, with one path crossing the east branch of the Humber and running along the west side of the river to the vicinity of Kleinburg, where it crossed the river again. This trail was probably used during the seasons when the water was low enough to ford. The other path of the fork followed the east side of the river and angled cross-country to King Creek, joining the other fork before crossing the river near Nobleton, some 50 kilometres (31 mi) north of Lake Ontario. From there it runs north over the Oak Ridges Moraine to the western branch of the Holland River, and from there north-east into Lake Simcoe some 80 kilometres (50 mi) north.

A second route of the trail runs from Lake Ontario at the Rouge River, following the river northwest to the Oak Ridges Moraine. Crossing the Moraine it met the eastern branch of the Holland River near Aurora, Ontario. This arm appears to have been favoured by the French explorers in the area, without ever having seen the Humber arm. Near the mouth of the Rouge River, the Seneca had established a village by the name of Ganatsekwyagon. The Bead Hill site in Rouge Park is believed to contain the archaeological remains of the village.

Once into Lake Simcoe, known as Ouentironk among the First Nations people living in the area, the trail continues north through straits on the north end of the lake into Lake Couchiching. These straits, an important fishing area, gives rise to the name Toronto, as this is "the place where the trees grow over the water". The First Nations peoples had planted trees in the narrows between the lakes to act as a weir to catch fish. From there the trail follows the Severn River into Georgian Bay. Many of the major First Nations tribes lived in the area around and to the north of Lake Simcoe, which were easily reachable via the many rivers leading to the lake.

It is widely stated that the first European to see the Humber arm was Étienne Brûlé, who traveled it with a group of twelve Huron in 1615. However it is now believed that this is in error, and he actually traveled further west, to Lake Erie.

Further French settlement used the Humber portion of the trail primarily. Near the mouth of the Humber and along the Toronto Passage was a trading post called Teiaiagon, where the French and English met with the locals for trading. The site is marked with a plaque and is near the heritage Old Mill Inn. This included the construction of three forts on or near the trail. The first of these, Fort Douville or Magasin Royal, was built in 1688 about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of Lake Ontario on the Humber. The second, Fort Toronto, was built in 1750 only a few hundred metres north of the lake, right on the trail. The final one, Fort Rouillé, but also known widely as Fort Toronto, was built about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to the east of the river during 1750 and 1751, and today lies near the bandstand at Exhibition Place.

The trail was widely used by both French and English fur traders until Toronto started to be permanently settled in the early 19th century, bringing to a close over a millennium of use. The connection north to Lake Simcoe was then made along Yonge Street, constructed after Simcoe followed the eastern branch into Toronto.

Toronto waterfront

The Toronto waterfront is the lakeshore of Lake Ontario in the City of Toronto, Ontario in Canada. It spans 46 kilometres between the mouth of Etobicoke Creek in the west, and the Rouge River in the East.

York, Upper Canada

York was a town and second capital of the district of Upper Canada. It is the predecessor to the old city of Toronto (1834–1998). It was established in 1793 by Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe as a "temporary" location for the capital of Upper Canada, while he made plans to build a capital near today's London, Ontario. Simcoe renamed the location York after Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, George III's second son. Simcoe gave up his plan to build a capital at London, and York became the permanent capital of Upper Canada on February 1, 1796. That year Simcoe returned to Britain and was temporarily replaced by Peter Russell.

The original townsite was a compact ten blocks near the mouth of the Don River and a garrison was built at the channel to Toronto Harbour. Government buildings and a law court were established. Yonge Street was built, connecting York to the Holland River to the north. To the east, Kingston Road was built to the mouth of the Trent River. In 1797, the town site was expanded to the west to allow for public buildings and expansion. One of the new area's public functions, a public market, was started in 1803. It continues today as St. Lawrence Market.

The garrison was attacked during the War of 1812. As the British Army retreated, it blew up the garrison, leading to the death of numerous American soldiers and the American general commanding the attack. The victorious Americans sacked the town and burned down the government buildings. The Americans chose not to occupy the town and the British eventually returned without conflict. A retribution attack was made on the American capital of Washington.

After the war was over, the town continued to grow, expanding to the west, leaving the original town site, a less desirable location, somewhat undeveloped. A new parliament building was erected, near the original location, but this burned down and a new building was built in the new lands to the west. A permanent fort, Fort York, was built on the site of the garrison. Dundas Street was built to connect York to towns to the west. In the 1820s, the town experienced a surge of immigrants, expanding from 1,000 residents to over 9,000 by the time the town was incorporated as the City of Toronto in 1834. During its existence, the town did not have its own government; it was governed by the province of Upper Canada, with a mix of elected officials and an aristocracy known as the Family Compact controlling the government. By 1830, this led to an ongoing political conflict, which would later lead to the 1837 Upper Canada Rebellion.

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