Description of Historic Place
Centrally located at the highest point within Fort McNab National Historic Site of Canada, on McNab’s Island, the Battery Command Post overlooks the approaches to Halifax Harbour. The low, concrete, structure features narrow observation windows with metal shutters. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Battery Command Post is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Battery Command Post is one of the best examples of a structure associated with
the maritime defence of Canada during the Second World War and post-war period. Fort McNab functioned as a counter bombardment battery, and later provided support to naval anti-submarine and fixed harbour defences. In the 1950s Fort McNab was part of Canada’s Cold War coastal defence strategy. The command post housed the technology for control of guns, searchlights and communications.
The Battery Command Post is a good example of a mid-20th century military design. It shares common design characteristics with command posts at other coastal defence sites, including a low profile, rectangular proportions, partial underground construction, and narrow ribbon-like observation windows with metal shutters. The reinforced construction and simple, functional design is typical of that used for the housing of complex military equipment within a restricted space.
The Battery Command Post reinforces the present military character of the Fort McNab National Historic Site of Canada setting and remains conspicuous due to its elevated position on the central mound overlooking the harbour.
Sources: Ian Doull, Fort McNab, Halifax Defence Complex, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 96-024; Battery Command Post, Fort McNab, Halifax Defence Complex, Halifax, Nova Scotia Heritage Character Statement 96-024
The character-defining elements of the Battery Command Post should be respected.
Its functional military design and good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the simple massing of the structure that is partially concealed within the central mound;
-the reinforced concrete walls, the slightly projecting reinforced concrete splinter-proof roof, the concrete chimney and the concrete access stairway;
-the narrow observation windows with metal shutters;
-the interior layout and fittings, including the rangefinder pedestal.
The manner in which the Battery Command Post reinforces the present military character of the setting within Fort McNab National Historic Site of Canada and is a familiar landmark as evidenced by:
-the ongoing relationship of the specialized military structure to the central mound and to the other structures within Fort McNab;
-the high visibility of the building within the fort and from the harbour.