Fort Henry

In 2007, UNESCO’s World Heritage Organization designated Fort Henry and Kingston’s Rideau Canal Fortifications as a World Heritage Site; Canada’s thirteenth such site, and
Ontario’s first.

When you are in Kingston, Fort Henry is a must see.

From just east of Kingston’s LaSalle Cause, you can drive, bike or walk up the winding roadway to the massive bulwarks of Fort Henry. They are squat and gray and threatening and overlooking eastern Lake Ontario, the mouth of the St. Lawrence, and access to the Rideau Canada (Cataraqui River). It is easy to understand why the fort was built where it was. It’s a powerful location for defense.


The fort is named after the point of land on which it sits, and that point of land is named after Henry Hamilton who was the first Lieutenant Governor of Quebec. When you wander through the battlements, ponder the fact that you are standing in the second Fort Henry, built around 1832 or so. The first Forth Henry was built around 1813 and dismantled to allow construction of a “newer” fort.

It’a also interesting to think about the fact that the “enemy” the fort was built to protect against was the United States!

During the 1837 rebellion, the first World War (1914-1918) and during the Second World War (1939-1945) Fort Henry saw duty as a prisoner of war camp.


The weapons and dress of some of the characters that role play the life and times of the fort (and there’s much more to see inside the stone walls) depict the style worn around 1867. That year – 1867 – and that dress was decided upon as a focal point as it was the year of Canada’s Confederation. In wearing the dress of that time in history the actors in the drama that is on display in Fort Henry are paying homage to Canada’s beginning.

You can see from the photos in the show how much of Kingston, Lake Ontario and even the beginning of the St. Lawrence River is overseen by the fort. Check out the mini-Martello type towers guarding the water access to the fort itself. Some of the shots are taken from the grounds of the Royal Military College across the inlet from the Fort.

Fort Henry offers special events during the summer and fall. For complete information visit


Don’t miss the Fort Henry Sunset Ceremony held during July & August.


We welcome your comments and your photos about your visit to Fort Henry in Kingston.

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