CA - Fort Willow - NVCA

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Skip Navigation LinksNVCA > Recreation > Conservation Areas > Fort Willow
The NVCA asks visitors to respect physical distancing rules and not to gather in groups of larger than five people, and staying at least 2 metres (or 6 feet) away from other groups.​

Historic Fort Willow

Strategically located as a supply depot during the War of 1812, the Fort Willow area was also actively used for centuries by First Nations, the fur trade and French explorers as part of a major transportation route known as the Nine Mile Portage.

Restorations and archaeological investigations have located and outlined the former buildings used by the soldiers. Information kiosks provide a thorough history of the area's past use and how its location helped ensure the geographical boundaries of Canada today. 

Owing to their importance in the development of our nation, Fort Willow and the Nine Mile Portage are recognized​ as both provincial and national historic sites.

The laid-back, peaceful environment that is enjoyed by visitors today is a definite change from years gone by. The many Monarch butterflies that call this area home during the summer make for a magical visit as they prepare for their journey south.

Fort Willow and the Nine Mile Portage are part of ​the Route Champlain. ​​Information about the history of Fort Willow is available in French​ on the Friends of Fort Willow website. 

Update for 2020 Festival at Fort Willow: The organizers of Festival at Fort Willow have decided to cancel the 2020 festival due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Held in September each year,  the festival brings to life the daily activities of British soldiers, camp followers and indigenous people living in Simcoe County in 1812. Smaller scale events may be held if the Government of Ontario advises that it is safe to do so. ​

​Recreational Visitors

Hike the surrounding trail network - including the Ganaraska, North Simcoe Rail and Trans Canada trails, and plan to have lunch at the Fort. Amenities include picnic tables, dry washrooms (including wheelchair-accessible) and sheltered rest areas are available for family and group use.

Keep an eye on our events page for information on events at Fort Willow, including the annual Festival at the Fort each September, featuring re-enactments of the War of 1812.

Parking Fees

  • Daily Parking - $6.50 per vehicle
  • Annual Parking - $45.50 per vehicle (valid for all NVCA-operated conservation areas)
  • For payment options and details, see parking fees.

Your parking fees help offset the cost of maintaining and improving NVCA conservation areas, and helps fund volunteer groups like the Friends of Fort Willow.

Operating Hours

  • Dawn to dusk, daily

Getting There

  • ADDRESS: 2714 Grenfel R., Springwater Township
  • GPS: X-503000, Y-4916321
  • DIRECTIONS: From the City of Barrie, go west on County Rd. 90 (Dunlop St.) to George Johnston Road. Turn right (north) and travel for 8 km. Turn left onto Portage Road and travel for 3 km to the front gates. 

Facility Rentals

The Bernie Longson Memorial Pavilion is a lovely post-and-beam structure that may be rented for events such as family or corporate picnics or for a rustic wedding ceremony​. Contact us at events@nvca.on.ca or 705-424-1479 for more information on renting our facilities.

The entire Fort may also be rented for community activities such as Guide or Scout activity days. Contact us at events@nvca.on.ca or 705-424-1479 if you are interested.


Friends of Fort Willow

Festival at Fort Willow - 2011 - 41.jpgThe Friends of Historic Fort Willow are volunteers working to preserve the original site and its reconstructed features and promote the historical, educational and recreational activities happening at the fort. 

Visit the Friends of Fort Willow website to learn more.