Home / Accueil

York Redoubt National Historic Site of Canada

Shore Road and Purcell's Cove Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3V, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1962/11/26

Part of the York Redoubt National Historic Site of Canada; Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada
York Redoubt
Aerial view of the York Redoubt National Historic Site of Canada; Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada
York Redoubt
No Image

Other Name(s)

York Redoubt National Historic Site of Canada
York Redoubt

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/07/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

York Redoubt National Historic Site of Canada is comprised of a large, cleared plateau on the west side of Halifax's inner harbour opposite McNabs Island and a gun battery and searchlight positions located close to sea level, reached by a path. The redoubt contains some 27 buildings, related structures, and armament developed over 150 years. The upper portion of the redoubt is located high above wooded cliffs, overlooking the entrance to Halifax harbour which it has protected since the late 18th century.

Heritage Value

York Redoubt was declared a national historic site for its evolving role as part of the Halifax Defence System from the late 18th century to World War II in protecting the principal naval stations of the British Empire and of Canada.

The heritage value of York Redoubt lies in its physical illustration of the historical evolution of the Halifax harbour defence system. York Redoubt was first developed as a component of Halifax fortifications in 1793 by the British government. Major alterations to its facilities occurred in 1794, 1812-1814, 1863-1875, 1890-1899, 1940-1943. It was opened for visitation as a national historic site in 1968.

Sources: HSMBC Minutes, November 1962, May 1965; Commemorative Integrity Statement, 1999.

Character-Defining Elements

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

- the quality and completeness of the cultural landscape which contains extant buildings, ruins, gun emplacements, searchlights, and position finding equipment associated with different defence systems over one and a half centuries,
- the siting on a high bluff commanding the surrounding terrain and overlooking the harbour entrance and McNabs Island,
- the siting of the gun and searchlight positions at the bottom of the cliff, close to sea level,
- the natural landscape of a rocky bluff with a treed slope extending to an exposed shoreline,
- viewplanes to the harbour entrance and its inner passage,
- the spatial relationship of the various defence facilities including the Martello tower, the RML armament and its improved 1885 emplacements, range finding technology, the Fire Command Post at Spion Kop, the breech-loading guns and their respective fire control systems, searchlight batteries, submarine mining and net defences,
- the found form, massing, materials and craftsmanship of the fortifications, buildings and other structures which reflect their military design and construction over the various periods of site use,
- location and physical remains of shore defences, including an 18th-century martello tower, 19th-century building and structure, gun emplacements, fire control systems, 20th-century searchlights and submarine mining and net defences,
- archaeological remnants of usage and former installations.




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)

1794/01/01 to 1794/01/01
1812/01/01 to 1814/01/01
1863/01/01 to 1875/01/01
1890/01/01 to 1899/01/01
1940/01/01 to 1943/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Military and Defence

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




Related Places

Corner view

Fire Command Post

Situated on Position Hill, the Fire Command Post, also known as the Fortress Plotting Room and Building 614, at the York Redoubt National Historic Site of Canada is an L-shaped,…

Exterior photo

Former Artillery Stores, Building 629

The Former Artillery Stores, Building 629 as an integral component of York Redoubt, sits on a sloping plateau on the western side of Halifax Harbour. It is a small, rectangular,…

Exterior photo

Cookhouse, Building 626

The Cookhouse, situated in the Old Gorge Wall of York Redoubt, is a small, utilitarian structure built of brick. It has a low-pitched gable roof and prominent chimney. The…

Exterior photo

South Caponier

The South Battery of York Redoubt is a self-contained, concrete structure that consists of gun bases, two subterranean chambers and an underground passage. The gun bases are…

Overview of building

Battery and Magazine

Situated on the York shore, the York Shore Battery and Magazine consists of two large massively built reinforced concrete and steel structures with flat concrete roofs, each of…


Main Magazine, Building 611

The Main Magazine, Building 611 located at the Halifax Defence Complex consists of an earth covered brick chamber. The only visible components are single and double entrances set…

General view of the place

Command Post

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…

General view

Searchlights 690, 691, 692

The York Shore Battery Searchlights 690, 691, 692 consist of three identical emplacements. Each emplacement contains a one-storey covered unit set on a raised concrete base with…

Interior view

Range Finder Bunker

The Range Finder Bunker, part of Spion Kop at York Redoubt National Historic Site of Canada, is a reinforced concrete structure with a projecting eastern wing, chimney, and a…


Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places