The Blockhouses of Toronto: A Material History Study

by Carl Benn, Toronto Historical Board


Between the 1790s and the 1830s, the British army built 13 blockhouses in Toronto and planned, but did not construct, a number of others. These buildings represented most of the typical blockhouse types common to North America and thus form a good study collection of this architectural feature. This paper utilizes primary and secondary literature; primary plans, maps and illustrations; archaeological data; and two surviving 1813 blockhouses to explore the different uses and forms of Toronto blockhouses within a broader North American context. One main conclusion is that blockhouses varied tremendously, depending on function, construction, siting and armament. Researchers therefore ought to be aware of these variables when they assess the particular blockhouses they encounter. Click here to read the complete article.