Description of Historic Place
The Fortress Observation Post, obscured by forest cover, is situated on a sloping plateau to the west of Halifax Harbour. It is an ‘L’-shaped, one-storey, utilitarian concrete structure with a flat roof. The structure’s main elevation features two doors and four windows. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Fortress Observation Post is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Fortress Observation Post is an example of a late-19th century structure associated with the coordination of shore-based coastal defence for the Imperial naval station of Halifax. The upgrade of the Halifax defences had a significant economic impact on the community of Halifax.
The Fortress Observation Post is a good example of a specialized, defensive command structure integral to a permanent late-19th century fortification. The irregularly shaped plan proved versatile and housed observation equipment while two other interconnected rooms served as office, communications room, or guardroom and barracks. This functional structure exhibits good craftsmanship and materials.
The Fortress Observation Post reinforces the Spion Kop fire command position and the present military character of the York Redoubt National Historic Site setting that is familiar to staff and visitors within the immediate area.
Ian Doull, York Redoubt, Halifax Defence Complex Volume 3, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 95-001
Fortress Observation Post No. 658, York Redoubt, Halifax Defence Complex, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Heritage Character Statement 95-001.
The following character-defining elements of the Fortress Observation Post should be respected:
The functional, utilitarian design and good quality materials, for example:
- The irregular massing of the ‘L’-shaped, multi-functional structure, the reinforced concrete walls, the gently pitched concrete slab roof and cast-in-place concrete chimneys.
- The opening pattern on the main elevation consisting of two doors and four windows.
- The internal arrangement of the space including, a central space which connects to two other rooms.
The manner in which the Fortress Observation Post reinforces the present military character of the setting within the York Redoubt National Historic Site and is familiar within the immediate area of Spion Kop, as evidenced by:
- The specialized, utilitarian design and materials that ensure a physical relationship to other related, operational buildings.
- Its visibility to visitors and to staff within the immediate vicinity.