Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site Management Statement

Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site

Table of contents


© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada, 2018

Cette publication est aussi disponible en français.

Issued also in French under the title:
Lieu historique national du Tour-Martello-de-Carleton Énoncé de gestion 2019

  • Paper: R64-549/2019E
  • 978-0-660-30305-5
  • PDF: R64-549/2019E-PDF
  • 978-0-660-30304-8

For more information about the management statement or about Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site of Canada:

Mailing address:
   Location: Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site of Canada
     454 Whipple Street
     Saint John, NB E2M 2R3

   Fax number: 506-887-6011


The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Canada’s national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas belong to all Canadians and offer truly Canadian experiences.

These special places make up one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and cultural heritage areas in the world.

The Government is committed to preserving our natural and cultural heritage, expanding the system of protected places and contributing to the recovery of species-at-risk. At the same time, we must continue to offer new and innovative visitor and outreach programs and activities so that more Canadians can experience Parks Canada places and learn about our environment, history and culture.

This new management statement for Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site of Canada supports this vision.

Management statements are developed through extensive consultation and input from various people and organizations, including Indigenous peoples, local and regional residents, visitors and the dedicated team at Parks Canada.

National parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas are a priority for the Government of Canada. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this management statement for their commitment and spirit of co-operation.

As the Minister responsible for Parks Canada, I applaud this collaborative effort and I am pleased to approve the Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site of Canada Management Statement.

Original signed by

Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Front Cover Image Credits

Parks Canada


Recommended by:

Michael Nadler
Acting Chief Executive Officer
Parks Canada

Trevor Swerdfager
Senior Vice-President, Operations
Parks Canada

Julie M. LeBlanc
Field Unit Superintendent
New Brunswick South Field Unit
Parks Canada 

The Parks Canada Agency manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and cultural heritage places in the world. The Agency’s mandate is to protect and present these places for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. This management statement outlines Parks Canada’s management approach and objectives for Carleton Martello Tower (CMT) National Historic Site of Canada.

Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site of Canada

Carleton Martello Tower is a cultural resource of national historic significance, on top of which sits a Second World War command post, a cultural resource of other heritage value. Together, the tower and the command post comprise a Recognized Federal Heritage Building.  In 1924, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada made the following recommendation: CMT is of national significance because it was built for the defence of Saint John during the War of 1812-1814, and because of its significance as a type of military architecture.

Carleton Martello Tower is located on a 1.17 hectare plot of steep, rocky, open ground called Carleton Heights, in what is now an older, well-established residential area of western Saint John, New Brunswick, across the harbour from uptown Saint John.  Because of the significant role CMT and other elements of the harbour defence complex played during the Second World War, the site’s history remains a source of pride for local residents, of which some are descendants of Second World War veterans. The success of recent partner-led events hosted at CMT, such as the ‘Hometown Heroes’ program, has re-invigorated those memories and reinforced the site’s strong connection with numerous stakeholders. 

Carleton Martello Tower is about 68.5 metres (225 ft) above sea level at its highest point, offering sweeping views of uptown Saint John and the harbour to the north and northeast, and of the Bay of Fundy to the east and southeast.  The view is an important driver of visitation, in addition to the site’s rich cultural history.  To support and enhance visitor experience, the site also has a small visitor centre that includes an interpretive centre, theatre, washroom facilities, parking area and office space for staff.   

To increase understanding and appreciation for CMT, Parks Canada actively engages a diverse network of partners, including the community, the municipality of Saint John, local and regional tourism and/or heritage groups, and private businesses.  Through continual growth of its network of partners and stakeholders, CMT has and will continue to grow and adapt opportunities for personal connection amongst its target audiences, defined through market segmentation research.

Restoration Activities

Battered by the elements, notably the cold winds and rain that sweep off the Bay of Fundy, and stressed by the weight of the two-storey concrete fire command post added to the top of the tower in the Second World War; Carleton Martello Tower has been plagued by leaks for a number of years. Investigative work in 2015 revealed the tower to be in a state of critical failure. In response to the urgent work required to conserve CMT, the Government of Canada committed $13 million in 2016 to rehabilitate it.

Investigative work was conducted during the 2016 operational season and a phased approach for renovation work has been identified.  For public safety, since 2016, the 1812 tower has been closed to visitors; however, the surrounding site remains open to visitors to enjoy and explore the visitor centre, exhibit gallery, gift counter, and grounds.  Visitor experience opportunities are still offered in collaboration with CMT’s network of partners, stakeholders and Indigenous organizations, to continue to connect Canadians to this important part of Canada’s history. 

Management Approach

Carleton Martello Tower is a National Historic Site operated by Parks Canada and enhanced through partner and stakeholder engagement. Parks Canada’s intent is to continue to increase Canadian’s understanding of and connection to CMT’s long spanning history of military defense through provision of quality visitor experiences including active visitor reception and orientation, and guided interpretation services which are enhanced by on-site partner-led historical re-enactments and heritage presentation programs and events.

Management Objectives

Building Relationships with Indigenous Partners

By forging strong relations, Parks Canada and local Indigenous organizations, will work together to ensure stories of the Indigenous connection to the land, site and history are shared. These stories will also include recognizing Indigenous War Veterans and their contributions in support of war efforts.

Building Relationships with Local/Regional Partners

Parks Canada is committed to building on successful past experiences and to establishing cooperative opportunities within the community, local and regional heritage groups, Indigenous communities, tourism operators, and private businesses. Carleton Martello Tower contributes to the heritage tourism industry in New Brunswick by attracting and retaining visitors in the Saint John area. This contribution can be further enhanced by continuing to work cooperatively with the tourism industry, the City of Saint John, Indigenous partner organizations and relevant provincial agencies and departments, as well as continuing to attract new partners.

Cultural Resource Conservation

Parks Canada protects cultural resources at its heritage places in accordance with its Cultural Resource Management Policy and the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. This includes basic monitoring of the state of cultural resources and documentation of interventions at the site. At CMT, the focus is on ensuring the structural integrity of the 1812 tower.

Visitor Experience

Parks Canada will enhance its on-site visitor experience offer and facilitate community engagement through Parks Canada-led, partner-led and collaborative programming and events. These visitor experience opportunities will deepen visitors’ understanding of the significant role CMT, the City of Saint John, the Port of Saint John and the Saint John River have played in the Story of Canada; including pre-contact era, the War of 1812 and the First and Second World Wars. The opportunities will also position CMT within the larger network of military infrastructure and historic sites of Saint John.

Visitor Safety

Parks Canada puts appropriate measures in place to protect the health and safety of visitors to the site. At CMT, this includes visitor safety briefings by front-line staff, information online and in brochures, barriers to prevent visitors from accessing high-risk areas and temporary closures of the Fire Command Post during extreme weather events.

Site Maintenance

Parks Canada maintains the property it administers so as to respect the site’s heritage values, present a positive image to the public, and reflect the Parks Canada brand.

Public Understanding and Appreciation

Parks Canada will monitor and strive to achieve targets for its visitors’ understanding and appreciation using the Visitor Information Program. Parks Canada will provide information about the significance of CMT on its website, on the Canadian Register of Historic Places, and through social media.  Proactive media engagement supports public understanding and appreciation through local and regional media outlets.  Public communications will focus on sharing the story of its restoration broadly, and across a variety of platforms.  

Summary of the Strategic Environmental Assessment

In accordance with The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (2010), a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is conducted on all management statements tabled in Parliament. The SEA for the Carleton Martello Tower NHS assessed the potential effects on natural and cultural resources and visitor experience. The SEA concluded that the proposed management statement for this site would have positive effects on cultural resources and visitor experience. Potential environmental effects on vegetation, migratory birds and species at risk were identified but the effects can be mitigated through project-level impact assessments when necessary. This statement supports the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goal of Connecting Canadians with Nature.  There are no important negative environmental effects anticipated from management statement implementation.

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