Culture and history

York Redoubt National Historic Site

Halifax Defence Complex

Find information on the Halifax Defence Complex of national historic sites, Halifax, Nova Scotia


This 200-year-old fortification is situated on a high bluff overlooking the spectacular entrance of Halifax Harbour. York Redoubt's original batteries were built in 1793, at the outbreak of war between Britain and revolutionary France. When French warships were reported in the western Atlantic, harbour batteries were hastily erected to secure Halifax from attack by sea. Over the years the site was enlarged and strengthened. Edward, Duke of Kent made several improvements between 1795 and 1800. By the early 1860s, advances in artillery design had made the site obsolete. The rearmament of York Redoubt caused a complete reconstruction and enlargement of the site. Despite the dramatic changes in appearance, the role of the new Redoubt remained much the same as the old.

Its lofty vantage point gave York Redoubt an important communications role. In the 19th century York Redoubt and the Citadel used signal flags to keep each other informed of ships' movements.

During the First World War, the site was used as barracks for assigned infantry and for troops waiting to go overseas. Between 1940-42 the Fire Command Post for harbour defences was built at York Redoubt. Early in the Second World War, the Redoubt was the nerve centre for harbour defences, including an anti-submarine net which stretched across the harbour's entrance from the Redoubt to McNabs Island. York Redoubt remained in military use until 1956.

Today, the public can wander among the armament and 200-year-old fortifications while enjoying the fresh air and panoramic views of Halifax Harbour and the open Atlantic.

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