8 Oldest Forts in Canada That You Can Still Visit

Canada’s rich tapestry of history is beautifully woven through its numerous historic sites, each offering a unique glimpse into the past. From the earliest days of colonial conflicts to the fur trade era, these forts and fortifications tell the stories of the people and events that shaped the nation. This collection of historic sites spans the country, providing educational and scenic experiences that highlight Canada’s diverse heritage and the strategic importance of its geography.

Fort Anne cannon
Canons at Fort Anne (1629)

Fort Anne – Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
Year: 1629

Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal is Canada’s oldest National Historic Site, offering a rich history of French and British colonial conflicts. The fort’s earthen walls and scenic grounds make it a picturesque and educational visit.

Fort Saint Louis – Quebec City, Quebec
Year: 1620

Located in the heart of Old Quebec, Fort Saint Louis offers an intriguing glimpse into the early defenses of the city. Although the fort no longer exists above ground, visitors can explore the archaeological remains unearthed in the main excavation from 2005 to 2007.

Fort La Tour – Saint John, New Brunswick
Year: 1631

Situated on the Saint John River, Fort La Tour is a site of significant historical battles and trade. Its rich history and scenic river views make it an intriguing destination for visitors interested in early Canadian history.

Fort Sainte-Marie, Midland, Ontario

Year: 1639

This Jesuit mission in Ontario offers an immersive experience into the lives of early missionaries and their interactions with Indigenous peoples. Fort Sainte-Marie’s reconstructed buildings and engaging exhibits provide a vivid historical journey.

Castle Hill, Placentia, Newfoundland & Labrador
Year: 1662

Castle Hill National Historic Site offers panoramic views of Placentia Bay and tells the story of 17th-century French and English conflicts. The site’s strategic location and well-preserved fortifications provide a fascinating glimpse into the region’s colonial past.

Fort Chambly, Chambly, Québec
Year: 1665

Fort Chambly, with its stunning location along the Richelieu River, is a well-preserved stone fortification. The fort’s exhibits and beautiful surroundings make it a popular destination for those interested in military history and outdoor activities.

Fort de la Montagne – Montréal, Québec

Year: 1682

Nestled in Montreal, Fort de la Montagne offers a unique look at the city’s early defense structures. Its urban location and historical significance make it a fascinating spot for both tourists and locals.

Prince of Wales Fort – Churchill, Manitoba
Year: 1717

Located on the coast of Hudson Bay, Prince of Wales Fort is an imposing stone fortress offering a glimpse into the fur trade era. Its remote and rugged location makes it an adventurous destination for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Exploring these historic forts provides an enriching journey through Canada’s colonial history, revealing the strategic, cultural, and economic factors that influenced the nation’s development. From the oldest National Historic Site at Fort Anne in Nova Scotia to the rugged Prince of Wales Fort in Manitoba, each location offers a unique window into the past. These sites not only preserve history but also offer picturesque settings that enhance the visitor experience, making them must-visit destinations for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

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