Fort Wellington National Historic Site now open for the 2021 summer visitor season
Defensive works replacement project completed and Fort grounds fully reopen
June 29, 2021 Prescott, Ontario Parks Canada Agency
National historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas offer Canadians places to enjoy the mental and physical benefits of being outdoors and opportunities to discover history, while respecting the guidance of public health experts.
On June 25, Fort Wellington National Historic Site fully reopened the grounds of the fort and began to welcome visitors for the 2021 visitor season. Over the past three years, parts of the fort grounds have been closed while Parks Canada undertook a $2.6 million federal infrastructure investment renewal of exterior fortifications. The fraising (staked horizontal fence), palisades, revetment wall, and entrance gate have all been enhanced and reconstructed using smart designs. This was done to extend the life of wooden elements in a way that is true to the historic appearance of the fort, does not damage any underground cultural resources, and is economically sustainable to support the long-term presentation of this historic site.
Fort Wellington, as it is presented today, is representative of the 1840s period, and as such, the look is important to the integrity and authenticity of the fort’s story. The wooden fortification elements, including the fraise, are an important part of the fort’s presentation and interpretation. Using modern techniques and materials, still accurately portrays the fort’s defences while allowing the site to be more sustainable and to share Canada’s rich history for generations to come.
The COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing Ontario public safety measures mean that only the fort’s outdoor green spaces are open for visitors at this time. The health and safety of visitors, employees and all Canadians is of the utmost importance to Parks Canada. Before visiting, there are a few things that everyone should remember:
- Plan ahead. The Parks Canada website provides detailed information on what locations are open, what to expect, how to prepare, and what services are available. Be sure to check the website before you travel.
- Follow travel restrictions and respect the guidance of public health experts. We all need to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep one another safe. It is important to always follow travel restrictions, even when visiting national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas.
- Make safe choices. Choose activities that correspond with your level of experience in order to avoid injury and/or getting lost and help minimize the demands placed on emergency response, search and rescue teams, and on the health care system.
- Be aware of roadworks. The Town of Prescott is undertaking roadworks on streets adjacent to Fort Wellington. Visitors must access the fort by turning north off King St. East onto Vankoughnet St. This street may be marked as being for local traffic only, which will include access to the fort.
Further information and tips to help ensure a safe and enjoyable visit are available on the Parks Canada website at: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/voyage-travel/securite-safety/covid-19-info/covid-19-visite-visit.
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“Over the past year, so many Canadians have benefited from the health and wellness benefits that come from being outdoors and in nature. I too have taken every opportunity to get outside. National historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas offer countless opportunities for Canadians to safely connect with nature and history while following the guidance of public health authorities to help limit the spread of COVID-19. The 2021 visitor season at Fort Wellington will bring increased access to the fort’s outside space and the federal investment to complete the renewal of the fort’s battlements will allow Parks Canada to tell the story of the fort’s special place in Canada’s history for generations to come.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“Fort Wellington National Historic Site is a small fort that played a big role in the creation of Canada as an independent country. Parks Canada has undertaken a unique and leading edge restoration of the fort using new techniques and concepts. As we welcome you back, the health and wellbeing of visitors, employees, and all Canadians are of the utmost importance. The Parks Canada team is working extremely hard to provide a safe, clean, and healthy experience at Fort Wellington National Historic Site and everyone can play an important role. Visitors should make every effort to plan ahead, respect travel restrictions, follow the guidance of public health experts, make safe choices, and leave no trace when visiting outdoor spaces. By working together, we can ensure a safe and enjoyable 2021 visitor season for all.”
President & Chief Executive Officer, Parks Canada
Fort Wellington National Historic Site was originally constructed by the British Military, during the War of 1812, as a one-storey blockhouse enclosed by earthen ramparts.
In the 1830s, the fort was rebuilt on the same footprint. The blockhouse was then expanded to a three-story structure and a guardhouse, cook house, latrine and an officer's quarters were all added inside the earthworks.
Parks Canada has chosen to represent Fort Wellington as closely as possible to its 1840s appearance, even though it was operated as an active military site right through the end of the First World War.
In 2021, roadworks are being completed on streets around the fort. The fort remains open and visitors can access the fort by turning north off King St. E. onto Vankoughnet St.
The Parks Canada app makes trip planning for first-time visitors to Parks Canada locations across the country even simpler. Visitors can now find Learn-to Camp content in the app and can obtain information on proper camping equipment, tips, and recipes. Visitors can even plan their entire trip itinerary and create a camping checklist.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Parks Canada Agency
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