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Fort Henry was built from 1832 to 1837 to replace an existing fortification from the War of 1812 era.
Situated atop Point Henry, the Fort protected the naval dockyard at Point Frederick, the entrance of the Rideau Canal and the town of Kingston, which was the major transshipment point along the supply route between Montreal or Ottawa and all points west.
The British Army garrisoned Fort Henry until 1870 when Queen Victoria's troops were pulled out of Canada. Soon after, "A" Battery, School of Gunnery, followed by "B" Battery, took up residence in the Fort and remained there until 1891.
During World War I, Fort Henry was superficially repaired and used as an internment camp for political prisoners. Following the war, the Fort fell into complete disrepair.
Fort Henry's Reconstruction
Fort Henry was restored from 1936 to 1938 as a joint Federal / Provincial make work project costing over $1 million. The Fort was opened as a museum and historic site "in the name of all British soldiers who served there" by Prime Minister Mackenzie King in August 1938. During World War II, the Fort became Camp 31, a Prisoner of War camp for enemy merchant seamen, soldiers, sailors and airmen. Reopened in 1948, the Fort has seen millions of visitors pass through its gates to watch the internationally acclaimed Fort Henry Guard perform.
The Fort Today
Guards Marching Years later, Fort Henry continues its role as a museum and historic site to residents of Kingston and visitors from all around the world. Once inside the wooden gates, visitors enter the realm of 19th century military life, experience guided tours, scenic views, heart-pounding musical performances and precision military demonstrations by the Fort Henry Guard* (a highly disciplined group of university student recruits trained as British soldiers from 1867). You will also see people representing the civilian population of the Fort as schoolteachers and soldiers' wives. The Fort also plays host to numerous special ceremonies and events that take place all season long.
*Fort Henry Guard has no connection to either the Royal Military College or to the modern Canadian Armed Forces.