Prince of Wales Martello Tower
Prince of Wales Tower
Links and documents
1796/01/01 to 1799/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Standing in a spacious forest clearing, the Prince of Wales Martello Tower is a massively built, plain squat cylindrical tower of solid stone construction with a low profile. The tower is 72 feet in diameter at ground level. It has massive circular walls built of rubble masonry and its exterior wall inclines slightly inwards as it rises. The structure reaches 26 feet in height at the parapet. Near the top the wall is encircled by a stone cordon and above this four projecting galleries are evenly spaced around the Tower. Beneath each gallery are openings to the interior: on the north are wooden stairs to a door at the second level. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Prince of Wales Martello Tower is a Classified Federal Heritage building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Prince of Wales Martello Tower is one of the best examples of a structure associated with the defence of the British naval station of Halifax against possible French invasion. As the first Martello Tower in the British Empire, this structure was a pioneer in the development of standardized Martello tower design which was adopted by the British military in 1804. The Tower is also associated with the defence of the naval station against the possible American aggression as the result of the War of 1812. The building was also an integral part of the coastal defence system until 1906. Its construction, with the associated economic benefits and the subsequent influx of personnel had a significant impact on Halifax.
The Prince of Wales Martello Tower is an excellent example of a functional 19th century military defence design. It testifies to the early development and perfection of the Martello tower design and construction whose simple massing is characterized by its squat cylindrical profile. The Prince of Wales Martello Tower displays the massive circular masonry walls, the parapet walls and the original interior divisions between the barracks and the powder magazine which were characteristic of the Martello towers.
The building exhibits sound workmanship and care in the execution of its massive construction and its details.
The Prince of Wales Martello Tower is located at the highest point within Point Pleasant Park where it once overlooked the sea and is now situated within a spacious clearing in the park forest. The structure reinforces the coastal defence setting of Halifax and is a landmark to both local people and visitors to Halifax.
Rhona Goodspeed, Prince of Wales Martello Tower, Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 95-001.
Prince of Wales Martello Tower, Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Heritage Character Statement 96-023.
The character-defining elements of the Prince of Wales Martello Tower should be respected.
Its functional military defence design and good quality materials and craftsmanship as evidenced in:
-the simple geometric massing of the squat cylindrical tower of solid stone construction with a low profile;
-the massive circular walls built of rubble masonry and its exterior wall which inclines slightly inwards as it rises;
-the encircling stone cordon at the top the wall and above this the four projecting galleries which are evenly spaced around the tower;
-the openings to the interior beneath each gallery and on the north the wooden stairs to a door at the second level.
The manner in which the Prince of Wales Martello Tower reinforces the military character of the Halifax area
Government of Canada
Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy
Classified Federal Heritage Building
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Military Defence Installation
Architect / Designer
Captain James Straton
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection