Historic Fort Willow

April 24, 2021 0 By Charm San
  • TnT Rating:

Fort Willow is deliberately established as a supply depot during the War of 1812, and this area was used for centuries by the fur traders, First Nations, and French explorers as part of a primary transportation route identified as the Nine Mile Portage. You can see some of the restoration efforts and archaeological investigations around the area, and the soldiers used it.

Festival at Fort Willow

 In September each year, a festival occurs to showcase British soldiers’ life and daily activities and indigenous people.  

Long Hiking trails available in the surrounding trail area including, Ganaraska, North Simcoe Rail and Trans Canada trails.


Picnic tables

Washrooms (wheelchair-accessible) 

Sheltered rest areas (family and group use)

Parking Charges

Daily Parking is $10.00 per vehicle

you can also get Annual Parking which is $70.00​ per vehicle (valid for all NVCA-operated conservation areas)

The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) is a public agency. The parking fee must be paid through their website or by downloading an App.

Operating Hours

  • Dawn to dusk- all week

Location and how to get there 


2714 Grenfel R., Springwater Township 

GPS: X-503000, Y-4916321


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. 

From Toronto : Take roughly 1 hour and 15 min

Get on Don Valley Pkwy N

Continue on Don Valley Pkwy N. Take ON-407 and ON-400 N to Dunlop St W in Barrie. Take exit 96B from ON-400 N 

Continue on Dunlop St W. Drive to Grenfel Rd in Minesing

Special Features

  • The Fort Willow Conservation Area has a rich history of local and regional significance which is linked to the Nine Mile Portage
  • It has archaeological and ecological significance (connects to Minesing wetland)
  • Wildlife Habitat – White-tailed Deer habitat
  • Many kilometres of hiking area
  • Biking
  • Bird watching
  • Festival

Check out this video of the Festival at Fort Willow

Travel Advice

Why go to Fort Willow?

There are number of reasons why you would want to visit Fort Willow. 1) It could an educational trip for kids 2) long hiking area 3) wonderful experience if you are able to go during the festival times 4) Due to its rich archaeological and ecological significance

Is it worth a visit?

Again if you are in a neighbourhood such as Barrie or closer to that area, then it is a great place to visit. However, if you are coming from another country or province, this conservation area does not have any special features that may interest you. Obviously, if you are a nature lover, and you see the world of green trees as magical then you will love that uplifting feeling.

Take a look at my pictures of Fort Willow and let me know whether you would prefer to visit this area.