Home / Accueil

Georges Island National Historic Site of Canada

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1965/05/17

General view of Georges Island, showing the drumlin land formation providing excellent viewplanes, 2008.; Georges Island, Morgan, 2008.
General view
Aerial view of Georges Island National Historic site of Canada.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada
Aerial view
General view of Georges Island, showing the evolved cultural landscape with its surviving  remnants of 18th, 19th and 20th-century military activity, 2007.; Georges Island, Geordie Lounsbury, 2007.
General view

Other Name(s)

Georges Island
Île Georges
Georges Island National Historic Site of Canada

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1749/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/06/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Georges Island National Historic Site of Canada is a labyrinth of military works that represented a vitally important element in the sea defences for Halifax Harbour. They cover a small island situated in the middle of the harbour directly in front of what today is the Halifax waterfront.

Heritage Value

Georges Island was designated a national historic site for:
- its role as part of the Halifax Defence Complex which protected one of the principal naval stations of the British Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries,
- its representative examples of the conspectus of shore defences.

The heritage value of Georges Island National Historic Site of Canada lies in its geographic and strategic location in the middle of one of the finest natural harbours in the world, and in the range of military works constructed during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries for inner harbour defence. The cultural landscape of the island bears witness to significant changes in military strategy and defence technology through the found location, form and materials of surviving complexes of historic buildings, engineering works, fortifications, paths, landscape features and remains above and below ground, on land and in water.

The construction of defence works on Georges Island began when Halifax was established in 1749. Significant periods during which facilities were upgraded include 1794-1812 (masonry escarp linking north and south batteries, stone Martello tower - smooth bore ordnance), 1864-1869 (construction of Fort Charlotte with rifled-muzzle-loading ordnance), 1870-1879 (submarine mine period), 1902 (the breech-loading period). The island continued to play a military role in the Canadian war efforts in both World Wars. Georges Island became a national historic site in 1960 and has since been conserved.

Sources: HSMBC, Minutes, 1965; Commemorative Integrity Statement, 1996.

Character-Defining Elements

Key features contributing to the heritage value of this site include:

- siting on an island in Halifax Harbour on an axis between the Halifax Citadel and the Dartmouth shore,
- the evolved cultural landscape with its surviving remnants of 18th, 19th and 20th-century military activity,
- the drumlin land formation providing excellent viewplanes,
- roadways, pathways, channels and tunnels providing internal communications,
- viewplanes up the harbour channel outer harbour defence works, to the inner harbour, including the town, the historic navy yard and the Citadel,

Built resources
- the polygonal footprint, surviving form and materials of Fort Charlotte,
- the spatial relationships of remnants of its defensive facilities during the smooth bore, rifled-muzzled-loading, breech-loading and submarine mining periods (including buildings, building complexes, fortifications, other defensive works and the barrels of ten rifled muzzle loaders that are part of the armament on the island during the rifled-muzzle-loading period),

Archaeological remains
- surviving forms, materials and spatial relationships of military remains, particularly the stone foundation of a Martello tower, and foundations for enlisted and senior non-commissioned officers’ barracks, single officers’ quarters and privy, torpedo mine store, and the drainage system related to mine assembly outside the fort.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1965/05/17

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1794/01/01 to 1812/01/01
1864/01/01 to 1869/01/01
1870/01/01 to 1879/01/01
1902/01/01 to 1902/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Military and Defence

Function - Category and Type

Current

Leisure
Museum

Historic

Defence
Military Defence Installation

Architect / Designer

n/a

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

278

Status

Published

Related Places

Exterior photo

Married Officers Quarters, former Building 125 Recognized Federal Heritage Building

The Former Married Officers' Quarters is a one-storey red brick building with an L-shaped plan, a recessed main entrance on the west elevation, slightly arched lintels above most…

Exterior photo

Former Stores Building 110 (Carpenter Shop and Smithy)

The Former Smithy and Carpenter's Shop is a simple, unadorned red brick building with a rectangular plan, simple openings, a low pitched gable roof, and a chimney on the southeast…

Entrance to Lower Battery

Lower Battery

The Lower Battery at Fort Charlotte, also known as Building 85, looks out from Georges Island over the water to Halifax Harbour. Seen from the seaward, the casemated Lower Battery…

General view of the place

Laboratory, former Building 92

The Former Laboratory (No.92), situated within Fort Charlotte on Georges Island located in Halifax Harbour, is a small, rectangular, parged brick building with a low-pitched roof.…

Exterior photo

Former Artillery Stores, Building 91

The Former Artillery Stores (No.91) is situated within Fort Charlotte on Georges Island located in Halifax Harbour. It is a one-storey, rectangular, red brick building with a…

Exterior photo

Former Field Forge Storage Building No. 90

The Former Field Forge Storage Building (No.90) is situated within Fort Charlotte on George's Island located in Halifax Harbour. It is a small, red brick building with a centrally…

Exterior photo

Former Guardroom and Prisoners' Quarters

The Former Guardroom and Prisoners’ Quarters is a component of the main gate of Fort Charlotte situated on Georges Island located in Halifax Harbour. Partially concealed within a…

General view

North Caponiers, Building 82A & 82B

The North Caponiers, Building 82A & 82B, as an integral part of Fort Charlotte, are situated on Georges Island located in Halifax Harbour. Similar in design they are plain,…

General view

Halifax Defense Complex, Georges Island, Fort Charlotte, South, Southeast and Southwest Caponiers

The South, Southeast and Southwest Caponiers, also known as 84A, 84B and 84C Caponiers, as an integral part of Fort Charlotte, are situated on Georges Island located in Halifax…

Exterior photo

Former Guardhouse / Fire Engine House / Coal Stores, Building 114

The Former Guardhouse/Fire Engine House/Coal Stores Building (No.114) is situated within Fort Charlotte on Georges Island located in Halifax Harbour. It is a one-storey, red brick…

SEARCH THE CANADIAN REGISTER

Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Find Nearby PlacesFIND NEARBY PLACES PrintPRINT
Nearby Places