Cabot tower

Signal Hill National Historic Site

Cabot Tower stands marking the entrance to St. John’s Harbour and has become an iconic landmark of the city's skyline.

black and white photo of a large crowd of peopleLaying the cornerstone of Cabot Tower on June 14, 1897.

Built between 1897 and 1900, Cabot Tower was constructed in honour of two important historical events: Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and the 400th anniversary of John Cabot’s “Voyage of Discovery”. Apart from its use as a commemorative structure, Cabot Tower was designed and used as a flag signaling tower, serving that function from 1900-1958.

The design for the Tower, based loosely on a concept drawn up by Bishop Michael Francis Howley, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church in St. John’s, was developed by architect William Howe Greene. The cornerstone was laid by Bishop Howley on June 14, 1897, however, full construction did not commence until August 1898. Leading the stone work was stonemason Samuel Garrett who made use of recycled material from the ruins of St. George's Hospital, including sandstone and conglomerate from Gibbet Hill. The interior carpentry was undertaken by Henry J. Thomas.

Officially opened on June 20, 1909 the building was originally called "Cabot Memorial Tower". Over time however, the name was abbreviated to the name it is currently known as; "Cabot Tower".

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