Fort York was attacked by a combined naval and infantry force from the United States on April 26, 1813 as part of the ongoing battle for the Great Lakes. York was targeted because it was both the capital of Upper Canada and a major depot of supplies and shipbuilding materials. The Americans landed from the lake and attacked the Fort. The British defenders and Native allies attempted to withstand the assault but were eventually forced to retreat. One notable casualty was Zebulon Pike, the famous explorer of the American West, who was killed when the Fort's magazine exploded. The US forces took the Fort and the city of York proper. Over the next few days the occupying force looted and burned many local homes and government buildings. It has been said that the burning of the White House the following year was in retribution for the plundering of York.
Today the Fort remains well preserved in its easily accessible location close to the Canadian National Exhibition fairgrounds. Each of the standing barracks, blockhouses and other buildings contains various artifacts, displays and maps relating the history of the war, life and culture of the period and the specifics of the battle. Currently, it is not a large park so it can be toured comfortably in a few hours. However, the venue is undergoing a major upgrade to enlarge the grounds and facilities, so it might be worth checking in on completion before planning a visit.