Throwback Thursday: Kingston’s Fort Frontenac

November 7, 2013



Fort Frontenac was initially constructed by Louis de Buade de Frontenac in 1673 to protect the French fur trade business against English competitors. The fort was strategically placed to protect a small, sheltered bay that allowed larger vessels to make shipments, leading to increased profit.

Fort Frontenac was located in present-day Kingston, Ontario at the mouth of the Cataraqui River. Increased tensions between the British and French to gain control of the fur trade led to an upgrade in Fort Frontenac’s defensive capabilities, which included new barracks, weaponry, and a larger garrison. Despite these military additions, the fort’s strategic power dwindled and Fort Frontenac served only as storage for supplies and a harbour for French vessels. In 1758, Lieutenant-Colonel Bradstreet attacked the fort with an army of 3,000 British soldiers, causing its 110 French inhabitants to flee. Fort Frontenac remained abandoned for the next twenty-five years.

In 1783, the British military revitalized Fort Frontenac in order to protect Cataraqui’s expanding population from the threat of American attack. It was also the focus of military action in Kingston during the War of 1812. Fort Frontenacwas deemed a National Historic Site of Canada in 1923 and its remains are still open to the public for exploration.


The Champlain Society is hosting their Annual General Meeting this Saturday, November 9th from 2:00-5:00pm at the City of Toronto Archives; view event details here. If you are interested in attending the meeting, please RSVP to Lauren Mitchell  –

To view more from The Champlain Society’s digital collection of archives, click here.

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