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Saint John Harbour Defensive Network

Perimeter of Saint John Harbour, Saint John, New Brunswick, E2M, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2000/03/30

View of Saint John Harbour from Fort Howe; Province of New Brunswick
Saint John Harbour Defensive Network
Carleton Martello Tower; Province of New Brunswick
Saint John Harbour Defensive Network
View of the Fort LaTour site approching downtown Saint John; Province of New Brunswick
Saint John Harbour Defensive Network

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/09/04

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Saint John Harbour Defensive Network consists of 17 military installations that collectively ring Saint John Harbour. Spanning more than three centuries, the components of the network consist of Fort La Tour (1631), Fort D’Aulnay (1648, in succession referred to as Fort Villebon 1698, Fort Boishebert 1750 and Fort Frederick 1758), Fort Howe (1778), Lower Cove Battery (1793), Prince Edward Battery (1793), Grave Yard Battery (1793), Mortar Battery (1793), Dorchester Blockhouse (1793), Partridge Island Battery (1800), Carleton Martello Tower (1812), Drummond Blockhouse (1812), Johnson Blockhouse (1813), Southeast Battery (1813), Red Head Battery (1864), Negro Point / Fort Dufferin (1864), Courtenay Bay Breakwater Battery (1939) and Fort Mispec (1940).

Heritage Value

Saint John Harbour Defensive Network is designated a Provincial Historic Site for the strategic military importance of these sites from the 1600’s through 1945. The designation recognizes the significance of the network, including 17 known installations, that has evolved over time in and around Saint John Harbour related to the defence of the port.

Built over a period of over 350 years, all of these installations protected the strategically important Saint John Harbour at various times of military threat. Each successive threat led to construction of defensive installations reflecting changing naval technologies. This represents considerable heritage and interpretative value relating to the important role of Saint John and its harbour in the history of New Brunswick. The installations are currently in various states, ranging from potential archaeological remains to the well-preserved Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site of Canada.

Source: Department Wellness, Culture and Sport - Heritage Branch, Site File: Vol. VIII, 100

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements relating to the Saint John Harbour Defensive Network and its strategic military importance in defence of the port include:
- the distributive nature of the overall network of sites located throughout the inner and outer harbour;
- the general expanding nature of the network;
- the differing defences on the sites at various times, as the notion of strategic place changed in reaction to evolving navel and defence technologies;
- the viewscapes from various component sites that include the harbour and various other sites within the network;
- the remnant architectural elements and/or structural remains at the various sites;
- the known and potential archaeological resources;
- the educational and interpretive value of the overall network and of the individual sites.



New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Province of New Brunswick

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites Protection Act, s. 2(1)

Recognition Type

Historic Sites Protection Act – Historic

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1600/01/01 to 1945/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Military and Defence

Function - Category and Type


Historic or Interpretive Site


Military Defence Installation

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Department Wellness, Culture and Sport - Heritage Branch, Site File: Vol. VIII, 100

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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