The histories of Fort York and modern Toronto are inextricably tied, with the structure standing as a monument to the British settlement of the area. But recently, Fort York has formed a new connection to the city, hosting new and growing summer festivals that highlight everything from folk to indie rock.
Fort York was initially built in 1793 before falling victim to the elements and attacks in the War of 1812. It saw restoration over many years, most notably in the 1930s when it was declared a historic site. Currently, the site holds artifacts of its long life, acting as a museum of Canada’s colonial history.
In 2013, Toronto indie label Arts & Crafts celebrated its first decade in business with a one-day festival at Fort York, featuring a number of artists from its roster. The event, dubbed Field Trip, expanded to a two-day celebration the next year, and until 2018 brought artists like Alabama Shakes, the National and Thundercat to the fort’s grounds. The Toronto Urban Roots Festival also launched at the site in 2013 with performances by She & Him, the Hold Steady and more. It returned each year until 2017, attracting artists such as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Neko Case and the Sadies. TIME Festival has called Fort York home during its run between 2014 and 2016, recruiting internationally renowned DJs and performers like Run The Jewels, Grimes, St. Lucia and Jon Hopkins. With festivals like these, Fort York has earned a place in Toronto’s musical memory.