On behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, Mike Wallace, Member of Parliament (Burlington), today announced funding for the Fort York National Historic Site.

The town of York, which would later become Toronto, was founded at Fort York in 1793. The 43-acre National Historic Site was opened to the public in 1934 and today contains the largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings in Canada.

“We are immensely proud to invest in the revitalization of Fort York,” said Minister Moore. “Fort York represents the very foundations of Toronto, and it has played an essential role in the defence of our country. It is now our responsibility to protect and enhance this historic asset for the community, the city, and the country that it has so dutifully served.”

Funding will support the creation of a 22 000-square-foot visitor centre as part of the larger Fort York revitalization project. This new facility will enhance the visitor experience and access to the site’s collections and resources. It is slated to be functional by 2012, in time for the Bicentennial Commemoration of the War of 1812, in which Fort York played an important role.

“Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, our Government is stimulating the economy with targeted investments in sectors such as arts and culture,” said Mr. Wallace. “Fort York’s ambitious rejuvenation project will bring renewed interest to one of Toronto’s preeminent landmarks and tourist destinations, while issuing an essential reminder of our past to Canadians everywhere.”

“The new Visitor Centre is key to the revitalization of Fort York National Historic Site,” said Joe Pantalone, City of Toronto Deputy Mayor and Chair of Toronto’s War of 1812 Bicentennial Steering Committee. “The financial support provided by the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund is a very significant contribution towards the achievement of our goals.”

The Government of Canada has provided funding of $4,000,000 under the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund (formerly Cultural Spaces Canada). This program of the Department of Canadian Heritage seeks to improve physical conditions for artistic creativity and arts presentation or exhibition. It is also designed to increase access for Canadians to performing, visual, and media arts, and to museum collections and heritage displays.