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Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site of Canada

Tower Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1943/05/20

General view of the Prince of Wales Tower, showing the squat, massing tower, 1993.; Parks Canada Agency/ Agence Parcs Canada, 1993.
General view
Historic view of Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site of Canada .; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada
Historic view
General view showing its symmetry, with circumference and height of equal proportion.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada
General view

Other Name(s)

Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site of Canada
Prince of Wales Tower
Tour Prince-de-Galles

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1796/01/01 to 1799/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/06/04

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site of Canada is a large, round stone defensive tower located in Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Heritage Value

Prince of WalesTower was declared a National Historic Site for:
- its role in the development of Halifax as one of the four principal naval stations of the British Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries,
- its importance as an element in the uniquely complete conspectus of shore defences that developed at Halifax between the 18th century and World War II,
- its significance as a type of military architecture.

The heritage value of Prince of Wales Tower lies in the legibility as a specific type of defensive structure, and in its siting and relationship with other 18th -20th century elements in the shore defence facilities of Halifax harbour. It was built by the British government on the order of Edward, Prince of Wales (1796-1799) to defend the sea batteries at Point Pleasant. The tower ceased to be used for military purposes in the 19th century and was transferred to National Parks and Historic Sites in 1936. It was declared a National Historic Site in 1943, and restored and opened for visitation in 1978.

Source: HSMBC Minute, June 1978; Commemorative Integrity Statment.

Character-Defining Elements

- the squat, round massing under a flat roof,
- its symmetry, with circumference and height of equal proportion,
- the building's articulation as a defensive structure with a second storey entrance reached by a steep exterior staircase, a solid parapet with four equally-spaced stone projections securing four ''window'' openings in the middle of the structure, its bomb and fire-proof construction of thick rubblestone walls,
- the original fabric and craftsmanship of the stone walls,particularly the ashlar banding on the top and bottom of the parapet,
- vestiges of its original, conical, metal-clad roof,
- the functional interior layout with its central staircase, second storey barrack quarters, lower storey powder magazine and food provision areas,
- its siting as the first of five Martello towers situated to guard Halifax harbour, on high ground to the rear of sea batteries at Point Pleasant, bounded by the inner harbour channel and the Northwest Arm,
- its historic viewplanes of the landward sides of chain rock battery, the North-west Arm battery, Point Pleasant battery, and Fort Ogilvie, the sea batteries.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1976/01/01 to 1978/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Military and Defence

Function - Category and Type



Civil Defence Site

Architect / Designer




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




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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…


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