Chapel Point Battery Site
Chapel Point Fortification
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Chapel Point Battery Site is a World War II era fortification site at Sydney Mines, Cape Breton Island, built to guard Sydney Harbour. Chapel Point includes an observation post and gun batteries and several below ground fortifications. The buildings and underground fortifications are all included in the designation as well as the surrounding property.
Chapel Point is valued historically as it played a significant role in the defense of Sydney Harbour during World War II. It is also valued architecturally for its massive construction and such details as deeply placed magazines. It is unique among Canada's wartime coastal defences.
Chapel Point was built in 1939 by E.G.M. Cape Construction Company. Working in conjunction with Fort Petrie, located across the harbour, Chapel Point guarded Sydney Harbour. Both sites protected departing convoys and naval ships based at nearby Point Edward Naval Base from German submarines that patrolled waters surrounding eastern Canada, as well as local industry, which was vital to the war effort . Because of its proximity to the cod fishery, coal mines and the entrance to central Canada through the St. Lawrence River, Sydney Harbour was a strategic defense location, second only to Halifax.
Chapel Point consisted of a battery observation post, gun emplacements, and an extensive underground system housing magazines, and unidentified restricted areas. Chapel Point was decommissioned in 1943 and largely dismantled in 1948. The town of Sydney Mines later purchased the site.
Fort Petrie, Chapel Point's sister fort, was also built in 1939 by E.G.M. Cape and was last of the Sydney Harbour fortifications to be decommissioned in 1956. The communication tower was demolished in 1968. The Sydney Harbour Fortification Society bought the fort in 1991. A museum is now contained in the battery observation post dedicated to the history of the site.
Source: Provincial Heritage Property files, no. 175, Heritage Division, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS
Character-defining elements of the fortification at Chapel Point include:
- location of the fort within Sydney Harbour and across from Fort Petrie;
- all remnants of the gun emplacements and underground magazines with escape shafts.
Character-defining elements of the battery observation post include:
- placement of the tower on the fortification site set back from the gun emplacements and the underground magazines, and facing Sydney Harbour;
- the concrete, four storey tower.
Province of Nova Scotia
Heritage Property Act
Provincially Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
- Governing Canada
- Military and Defence
Function - Category and Type
Architect / Designer
E.G.M. Cape Construction Company
Location of Supporting Documentation
Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 175, 1747 Summer Streeet, Halifax, NS
Cross-Reference to Collection