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Fort Malden National Site of Canada, Ontario

Fort Malden, along the banks of the Detroit River was the second fort built by the British to protect Upper Canada from attack. The first fort, Fort Amherstburg, was destroyed by the British when they were forced to retreat in September 1813. Today no visible signs are visible of that first fortification. After the War of 1812 the British government was reluctant to expend large sums of money of the fort for repairs and by the 1830’s the fort was falling into disrepair. Because of the easing of tensions with the Americans the fort was no longer seen as an important strategic location and all troops were withdrawn from the fort in 1836. The following year the fort was once again fortified to repel attacks and skirmishes by rebels and their American sympathizers. During the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837-1839 Fort Malden was completely rebuilt. After the rebellion tensions subsided between the British and Americans and the Fort was generally discarded. A few retired soldiers and their families were left to tend the grounds and farm the fields surrounding the fort. In 1859 the Fort was refurbished as a “lunatic asylum”, and changes were made to the construction to provide for the patients and staff. By 1921 Fort Malden was recognized as being of national historic significance and by 1937 land was acquired for a small park. The 4.5 hectare site includes remains of the 1840-period earthworks and four buildings, including a restored and furnished 1819 brick barracks. An orientation centre and interpretation centre with exhibits will help you to discover the fascinating history of this outpost of the British Empire.

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