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Defensive Casemates 5-6

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1996/03/28

Exterior photo; (Rhona Goodspeed, 1995.)
Exterior photo
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Other Name(s)

Defensive Casemates 5-6
Defensive Casemates 5-6
Casemates défensives 5-6

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1846/01/01 to 1848/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/01/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Defensive Casemates 5 and 6, located in the Southwest Demi-Bastion, are an integral part of Halifax Citadel, a star-shaped fort on the crest of Citadel Hill in downtown Halifax. Built side by side into the thick rampart wall of the fortification, the two adjacent casemates face the parade square within the Citadel. Similar in design, both are plain, vaulted, bomb-proof structures of rectangular plan and feature a high masonry front/retaining wall, pierced at intervals by window, door and ventilation openings. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Casemates 5 and 6 are a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of their historical associations, and their architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:
Casemates 5 and 6 are associated with the defence of the British Imperial naval station of Halifax against potential military incursions by the United States following the war of 1812. The upgrade of the Halifax defences and the resulting economic benefits had a significant impact on the community of Halifax.

Architectural Value:
Casemates 5 and 6 are good examples of specialized, reinforced defensive military support structures integral to a permanent 19th century fortification. Their defensive characteristics are exemplified by their partial underground construction, and other protective features. Designed to satisfy specific functional requirements for bombproof accommodation and storage within a restricted space this functional building exhibits very good craftsmanship and materials with their interior use of brick and exterior use of large, well-dressed granite blocks.

Environmental Value
Casemates 5 and 6 reinforce the present military character of the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site setting and are well known to staff and visitors within the Citadel.

Rhona Goodspeed with the assistance of Edgar Tumak, Consultant, The Citadel, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Volume One, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 95-001.

Casemates 5 and 6, Southwest Demi-Bastion, Halifax Defence Complex, Halifax, Nova Scotia Heritage Character Statement 95-001.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of Casemates 5 and 6 should be respected, for example:

The functional design and good quality materials, for example:

-The low profile of the structure.
-The granite ashlar construction of the front exterior/ retaining wall and also the rear wall which blends in completely with and forms part of the escarp.
-The arrangement of openings in each bay, comprising a door and small-paired windows for Casement no.5, a double door and larger window for Casement no.6. and ventilation openings for both.
-The plain interior brick walls and vaults topped by granite skewbacks, and the brick-relieving arch above the original fireplace in each casemate.
-The extensive use of chiselled granite for skewbacks, skirting, and the trimming of openings.
-The earth covered, bombproof roof.

The manner in which Casemates 5 and 6 are compatible with the present military character of the setting within Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, as evidenced by:

-The specialized military design and materials that maintain a visual and physical relationship to the rampart/escarp wall, the parade square and harmonize with the other buildings in the fortress.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Military Defence Installation

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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