People generally know that the founding of urban Toronto occurred in 1793 with the establishment of Fort York and the nearby Town of York. The reasons why that happened, however, remain elusive. In this illustrated presentation, Dr. Carl Benn explores the frontier crisis that saw British authorities create a new settlement by the shores of Toronto Bay in response to the Ohio war between the First Nations and the United States, Britain’s alliances with Indigenous peoples, and the imperatives to control communications lines to defend Upper Canada.
Dr. Carl Benn has been a History professor at Ryerson University since 2008. Previously, he worked in museum field for 34 years, with his last heritage sector post being Chief Curator of the City of Toronto’s Museums and Heritage Services. Dr. Benn has curated exhibits and restorations, and has published extensively in journals and other venues. His books include Historic Fort York (1993), The Iroquois in the War of 1812 (1998), The War of 1812 (2002), Mohawks on the Nile (2009), Native Memoirs from the War of 1812 (2014), and A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812 (2019). Currently he is researching the history of the Royal Ontario Museum for his next book.