Description of Historic Place
The Gun Emplacement, Magazine and Crew Shelter 2 is located within Fort McNab National Historic Site of Canada, and faces the water overlooking Halifax Harbour. The structure consists of a raised concrete gun platform, and a subterranean complex containing a multi-chambered concrete magazine and gun-crew shelter. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Gun Emplacement, Magazine and Crew Shelter 2 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Gun Emplacement, Magazine and Crew Shelter 2, as an integral part of Fort McNab, is associated with the defence of maritime Canada between 1888 and 1960. Established as a key component of the fortifications defending Halifax harbour and the Imperial naval station, Fort McNab served as a heavy artillery coastal defence installation from 1906 until 1945. Gun Emplacement, Magazine and Crew Shelter 2 was one of the principal gun positions in the fort and was used for coastal artillery training during the Cold War period. Successive modernizations of the emplacement illustrate the technological evolution of coastal defence artillery.
The Gun Emplacement, Magazine and Crew Shelter 2 and the accompanying magazine and crew shelter is a good example of a specialized and utilitarian coastal defence structure. It was modified over time to meet changing functional requirements. The gun platform is of standard design for breech-loading coastal artillery guns of the period. The underground magazine was constructed to meet late-19th century standards for the safe and efficient storage and handling of shells and explosives.
The Gun Emplacement, Magazine and Crew Shelter 2 is one of three aligned gun emplacements at Fort McNab and reinforces the other concrete military structures at Fort McNab.
Ian Doull, Fort McNab, Halifax Defence Complex, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 96-096; Gun Emplacement 2, Right Flank (includes Magazine 2 and Crew Shelter 2) Fort McNab, Halifax Defence Complex, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Heritage Character Statement 96-096.
The character-defining elements of the Gun Emplacement, Magazine and Crew Shelter 2 should be respected.
Its functional defensive design, its good quality materials and craftsmanship such as:
- the low profile, reinforced, partly subterranean concrete structure of utilitarian design;
- the physical relationship, and irregular footprint created by its three components: the above ground gun platform, the underground magazine and the underground crew shelter;
- the gun platform, consisting of a raised platform accessed by concrete and metal stairs, a single issuing hatch, a larger concrete issuing aperture, and several shell and cartridge recesses;
- the underground magazine, consisting of an entryway flanked by concrete wing walls, a concrete stairway, a segregated lamp room, explosives and shell stores chambers and a separate room for the heating system and features such as the shifting chamber between the explosives and shell stores rooms, a brick-lined vaulted ceiling in the explosives chamber, and lamp recesses in all rooms and corridors;
- remaining magazine fixtures, including a sliding metal fire door, visible elements of the 1945-6 oil heating system, and various wall brackets and shelves;
- the crew shelter, consisting of one small, underground, vaulted concrete room with separate entryway and wing walls.
The manner in which the Gun Emplacement, Magazine and Crew Shelter 2 reinforces the present military character of the Fort McNab National Historic Site of Canada and is a familiar landmark as evidenced by:
- its scale, materials and military appearance that are compatible with the other structures within the military complex;
- its strategic location within the fort.