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Casemates

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1997/09/18

View of the exterior of the Casemates, showing its location within the embankment of the central earth mound, 1996.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1996.
Detail view
View of the exterior of the Casemates, showing the multiple-bay construction of contiguous casemates, 1996.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1996.
Exterior view
Interior of the Casemates, showing the concrete construction and vaulted interior, 1996.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1996.
Interior view

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1888/01/01 to 1892/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/01/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Casemates building is situated within the embankment of the central mound at Fort McNab National Historic Site of Canada. It is a long, low, one-storey, concrete structure composed of seven vaulted bays. Four of the bays retain the original arrangement of a central door with a transom, flanking windows, and a round-headed, recessed concrete panel. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Casemates building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value
The Casemates building, an integral part of Fort McNab, is closely associated with the defence of Canada between 1888 and 1960. Fort McNab was established as a key component of the fortifications defending Halifax harbour and the Imperial naval station. It remained in active use until after the Second World War. It was constructed to accommodate non-commissioned officers’ quarters, men’s barracks, a boiler house and coal store, a canteen, a cookhouse and an ablution room. It was used briefly as artillery stores in 1902, and in 1919 it was converted to an electrical power generating plant.

Architectural Value
The Casemates building is a good example of a specialized coastal defence support structure. It is typical of casemate design by the Royal Engineers to satisfy specific functional requirements within a restricted space. Its defensive characteristics are exemplified by its low profile, partial underground construction, and other protective features.

Environmental Value
The Casemates building reinforces the present military character of the setting and is compatible with the other structures in the fort. While it is only partially visible, it is a familiar fort feature to visitors.

Sources: Ian Doull, Fort McNab, Halifax Defence Complex, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 96-096; Casemates, Fort McNab, Halifax Defence Complex, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Heritage Character Statement 96-096.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Casemates building should be respected.

Its functional defensive design, its good quality materials and craftsmanship, such as:
- the multiple-bay construction of contiguous casemates and the arrangement of openings in each bay, comprising a central door with transom and flanking windows;
- the concrete construction and vaulted interior;
- its location within the embankment of the central earth mound, visible only from the front elevation.

The manner in which the Casemates building reinforces the present military character of the Fort McNab National Historic Site of Canada and is a familiar landmark, as evidenced by:
- the specialized design and materials that maintain a visual and physical relationship between the central mound and the interior of the fort complex;
- while partially invisible, the casemates are an integral part of the fort and consequently well known to visitors to the national historic site of Canada.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date

1997/09/18

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Defence
Military Support

Architect / Designer

British Royal Engineers

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

8175

Status

Published

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