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Parliament

Then (left): York, Upper Canada, c. 1804 (detail), Elizabeth Frances Hale; Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, 1970-188-2092; Now (right): Design concept for Parliament, the Trust’s new centre commemorating the site of Ontario’s first purpose-built parliament buildings and the War of 1812

Then (left): York, Upper Canada, ca.1804 (detail), Elizabeth Frances Hale; Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, 1970-188-2092; Now (right): Design concept for Parliament, the Trust’s new interpretive centre commemorating the site of Ontario’s first purpose-built parliament buildings and the War of 1812

265 Front Street East, Toronto
Telephone: 416-212-8897
Email: programs@heritagetrust.on.ca

Interactive school programs for Grade 7, 8 and 10 students

Hours:

  • Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Closed Sunday and Monday (except holidays)

Admissions:

  • Adults: $5
  • Seniors: $3
  • Students: $3
  • Children under 8: Free
  • Family rate: $13
  • Group rates: Contact us for details

In 1797, parliament buildings were constructed for the recently established province of Upper Canada. The province was then only six years old and its capital had just been moved from Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) to York (now Toronto). Located near the foot of what would become Parliament Street, these were the first purpose-built parliament buildings in the province. Within their brick walls, discussions, debates, decisions and laws unfolded that laid the foundations of Ontario society.

Now, more than 200 years later on that same site, the Parliament interpretive centre allows visitors to glimpse into that past. Our dynamic exhibit – Foundations & Fire: Early Parliament and the War of 1812 Experience at York – traces the history of the site from the 1700s to 2005, when a part of the site (now 265 Front Street East) was acquired by the Ontario Heritage Trust. Through images, artifacts and interpretive panels, the exhibit explores key events, such as the burning of the parliament buildings by American troops during the War of 1812 (and the retaliatory burning of the White House in Washington); the establishment of a prison on the site, then of a gasworks that fuelled much of Victorian and Edwardian Toronto; and the fascinating archaeological excavations that brought these stories to light.

The exhibit explores the broader significance of the site by placing these events within the context of the development of Toronto, Ontario and Canada. The range of factors that have shaped the site – from the natural landscape to the social and political influences of the British, First Nations and United States – are core elements of our identity and heritage.

As the name suggests, the Parliament interpretive centre is a place of discussion and exchange, where a variety of perspectives are voiced, represented and interpreted. We regularly host lectures, discussions, tours and a range of other activities for visitors of all ages. Check the Trust’s News and Events calendar for upcoming events and activities.

Visit the Fulford Place website

Visit the Fulford Place website

Spend a century with us today! Learn about this famous Edwardian mansion along the St. Lawrence River. (Photo: Glyn Davies Photography)
See what’s in our collections

See what’s in our collections

Explore the collection at Fulford Place
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