Fort Frederick

The original Fort Frederick was built on this site in 1813. It was leveled in 1846 to make way for the present Fort, built as part of the Kingston Fortifications. The present Fort represents the best of smooth bore gun technology, and is the largest of the Martello Towers built in Kingston. Martello towers are small defensive forts that were built across the British Empire during the 19th century.

In 1832, the Rideau Canal was completed; in order to protect the southern end of the Canal, the British began to fortify the harbour with the construction of Fort Henry, situated atop Point Henry. Designed by the British Royal Engineers, the new Fort called for a series of inter-connected supporting batteries and redoubts to augment its defences. Only two of the originally planned towers were initially built, at Murney Point and at Cedar Island.Two towers were later added to the plan, and built at Point Frederick (1846-47) and at the Market Battery. These additions were due to military tensions with the United States over the Oregon Boundary Crisis.


Did You Know?

  • Fort Frederick is the only 3-storey Martello tower in Kingston.
  • Thickness of the wall facing lake – 15 feet/4.6m
  • Thickness of the wall facing land – 9 feet/2.7m
  • The snow roof would be removed before the battery went into action.


Fort Frederick was to be the most heavily armed of all the Kingston Martello towers. It was capable of firing over the parapet of the main battery into Navy Bay and the commercial harbour, and of sweeping most of low-lying Point Frederick.

The tower had three 32 pounder guns, each with an effective range of approximately 2,000 yards/1830m. They could fire solid shot, hollow shell, or hot “shot”. Each gun was manned by one officer and six men, and could be fired and reloaded again in 90 seconds.

Did You Know?

  • The 32 pounder carronades could fire grape or solid shot to a distance of 400m.
  • The 8″ Armstrong Gun could fire a 100 pound/45.4 kilogram round to a range of approximately 4.5 miles/7.3 kilometers.
  • The ramparts had six 32 pounder guns, two 5 1/2″ Howitzers, two 24 pounders, and the 8″ Armstrong Gun.
  • The Fort was not fully armed until 1863.