The history of Fort Willow is closely linked with that of the Nine Mile Portage, a former transportation route between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay. The Fort was built during the War of 1812 as a supply depot for the British garrison at Michilackinac
Island, near modern-day Sault Ste. Marie.
A small party of sailors and 200 men of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment marched the 300 miles from Kingston to Willow Creek, in the winter of 1814. Here they created shelter and 29 wooden boats called ‘batteaux’. Each was loaded with
several tons of supplies and rowed to Michilimackinac Island. In 1996, a site improvement program was established by volunteers from the Midhurst Historical Society in order to preserve this historical landmark. This group now operates as the
Fort Willow improvement group, under the NVCA. Fort Willow is open year round. To get to Fort Willow, take County Rd. 90 to Grenfel Rd. and travel 5 km north to the parking lot on the left. An alternate route is George Johnston Rd.
off either County Rd. 90 from the south or Hwy 26 from the north, then go west on Portage Trail for 3 km. The route is well signed. You can access the Trans Canada / Ganaraska / North Simcoe Rail Trail by going down the stairs at the back of the Fort.
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