Home / Accueil

Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site of Canada

603 Fort Rodd Hill Road, Colwood, British Columbia, V9C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1958/11/03

General view of Fort Rodd Hill, showing the integrity of topographical land forms and vegetation strategically linked to the setting of individual structures and batteries, 1997.; Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, J. Mattie, 1997.
General view
Director's tower at Fort Rodd Hill, 1997.; Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, J. Mattie, 1997.
General view
General view of the guardhouse and the loopholed defensible wall at Fort Rodd Hill, 1997.; Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, J. Mattie, 1997.
General view

Other Name(s)

Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site of Canada
Fort Rodd Hill
Fort Rodd Hill
Victoria-Esquilmalt Fortifications

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1895/01/01 to 1897/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/08/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site of Canada is a 19th and 20th century coastal defence site strategically located on Esquimalt Harbour near Victoria, British Columbia. It contains three artillery batteries set within an open, park-like site, linked by an historic circulation pattern. The site includes additional buildings and structures located outside individual batteries. The fort is surrounded by natural forested areas on the north and west, Esquimalt Harbour on the east, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the south. Official recognition refers to the property of the site at the time of designation (1958).

Heritage Value

Fort Rodd Hill was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1958 to:
- commemorate the role of the Victoria-Esquimalt fortifications (1878-1956) in the defence of Victoria and the naval base at Esquimalt, and by extension the defence of Canada and the British Empire.

The heritage value of Fort Rodd Hill lies in the integrity and legibility of its cultural landscape. Its strategic location and setting as well as the layout, orientation, nature and composition of the many defence structures it contains witness almost a century of change in military design and requirements.

In 1878, Canada first built temporary batteries at Macaulay Point using surplus British naval ordnance. This battery was meant to protect the port of Victoria and the Esquimalt naval harbour during the Anglo-Russian crisis of that year. In the 1890s, Canada negotiated with Great Britain for the construction of a series of permanent defences for the Victoria-Esquimalt area, to be manned by British troops in defence of the Empire. Construction began on Fort Rodd Hill in 1895 and Canada assumed control of these fortifications in 1906, extensively enlarging and rebuilding them by the end of the Second World War. They were declared obsolete in 1956. The site was subsequently acquired by Parks Canada.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1958, 1992; Commemorative Integrity Statement, November 1996.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- its strategic location and orientation at the entrance to Esquimalt Harbour;
- its profile, deliberately minimized by the strategic use of topographical features;
- its spatial organization in three separate batteries (Upper Battery, Lower Battery, Belmont Battery);
- the massing and profile of individual batteries, their layout, design, and orientation, the integrity of their component buildings, structures and spaces, the interior layout, materials and details, and the disposition and orientation of individual buildings and structures within each battery;
- the integrity and function of spaces, pathways, roads, trails, communication lines and viewscapes between batteries;
- the massing and profile of individual structures and buildings outside the batteries, particularly those of greater interest with regards to function, original design and components, including the World War II Hut, Warrant Officer’s Quarters, Battery Commander’s Post, Searchlight No. 7, Searchlight Engine Room, Canteen, Fortress Plotting Room;
- their simple utilitarian forms, and the elements of their design, form, and materials that speak to their military role, their construction materials and craftsmanship, particularly the stone masonry, and interior evidence of early original materials, layout and finishes;
- the integrity of the machinery and special features of each building which reflect its purpose;
- the placement and orientation of each building and structure within its compound and its setting in relation to the dominant landscape features of the battery;
- the integrity of topographical land forms and vegetation strategically linked to the setting of individual structures and batteries;
- residual evidence (such as archaeological footprints, vestiges of earlier structures integrated in the footings of newer buildings) relating to the military use of buildings, structures, individual batteries and the overall cultural landscape over the 1895-1856 period;
- viewscapes to Esquimalt Harbour, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1958/11/03

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1906/01/01 to 1956/01/01
1897/01/01 to 1900/01/01
1906/01/01 to 1956/01/01
1906/01/01 to 1945/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Military and Defence

Function - Category and Type

Current

Leisure
Historic or Interpretive Site

Historic

Defence
Military Defence Installation

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

Department of National Defense, Canadian Armed Forces

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

99

Status

Published

Related Places

Fisgard Lighthouse

Fisgard Lighthouse and Dwelling

The Fisgard Lighthouse and Dwelling at Fort Rodd Hill is a tall, slightly tapering round shaft supporting a multi-facetted lantern which is built into a rectangular two-storey…

General view

Warrant Officer's Quarters

Facing a large field, the Warrant Officer’s Quarters stands on the path linking the three batteries within Fort Rodd Hill. It is a simple, rectangular, two-storey, red brick…

General view of the place

Searchlight Engine Room

The Searchlight Engine Room is situated near the centre of Fort Rodd Hill. The L-shaped, partly subterranean structure has two elevations exposed towards a ramp in a ditch. One…

General view

Searchlight N° 7

Situated near the water’s edge, Searchlight N° 7 of the Fort Rodd Hill complex faces south across the Juan de Fuca Strait. The single-storey, flat-roofed massing of the…

Exterior photo

Guardhouse, Upper Battery

The Guardhouse sits behind the Upper Battery protecting its entrance. The flat-roofed, concrete structure has a low, rectangular massing and a prominent chimney with an integrated…

General view

Guardhouse, Lower Battery

The Guardhouse sits behind the Lower Battery protecting its entrance. The flat-roofed, concrete structure has a low, rectangular massing and a prominent chimney with an integrated…

Exterior photo

Gun Emplacement and Magazine, Upper Battery

The Upper Battery is defined by the U-shaped gun pit, raised platform and the open areas behind, including the perimeter walls and building. Consisting of an open Gun Emplacement…

Exterior photo

Gun Emplacement and Magazine, Lower Battery

The Lower Battery in the Gun Emplacement and Magazine are defined by the two U-shaped gun emplacements, their raised platforms and the open areas behind, including the perimeter…

Fortress Plotting Room

Fortress Plotting Room

The Fortress Plotting Room sits on hilly terrain within Fort Rodd Hill. Carefully camouflaged by a wall, the structure is defined by the projecting single-storey entrance, the…

Exterior photo

Defence Electric Light Number 1

Facing south across the Juan de Fuca Strait, Defence Electric Light No1 is situated near the water’s edge at the western extremity of the Fort Rodd Hill complex. The single-storey…

Exterior photo

Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site, Lower Battery, Casemate Barracks (6 Buildings)

Located within Fort Rodd Hill and overlooking the Juan de Fuca Strait, the Casemate Barracks (6 Buildings) at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site, Lower Battery sits on a gentle…

Exterior view

Fort Rodd Hill, Canteen

The Fort Rodd Hill, Canteen sits on the southern edge of an open field within Fort Rodd Hill. The flat roofed structure has low rectangular massing and a prominent chimney. The…

General view

Fort Rodd Hill, Battery Commander’s Post

The Fort Rodd Hill, Battery Commander’s Post sits on a rock promontory within Fort Rodd Hill overlooking Esquimalt Harbour and the Juan de Fuca Strait. The concrete,…

Exterior photo

House

The House stands on the crest of a hill overlooking the harbour and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The structure has a modified rectangular plan with a medium-pitched roof and…

Exterior view

Gun Emplacement, Building 578

Gun Emplacement No. 578 is strategically located on the southern brow of Signal Hill overlooking Esquimalt Harbour. The partially subterranean structure has low massing that is…

SEARCH THE CANADIAN REGISTER

Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Find Nearby PlacesFIND NEARBY PLACES PrintPRINT
Nearby Places